Morton Guides West Indies To Comfortable Victory
West Indies 192-2 (Morton 85no, Gayle 64) beat
India 188 (Dhoni 95, Rampaul 4-37) by eight wickets
Second One-Day International, Jamaica
Runako Morton scored a cool unbeaten 85 to guide the West Indies to a comfortable series-levelling eight-wicket win over India in the second One-Day International in Jamaica.
A remarkable 101-run ninth-wicket stand between Mahendra Singh Dhoni and RP Singh rescued India, enabling them to escape the depths of being 82 for eight and set the West Indies 189 to win, but Morton and Chris Gayle, who lashed 64 in 46 balls, ensured they got home with more than 15 overs to spare.
Dhoni, who made 95, and Singh, who hit a career best of 23, were brought together in the 22nd over after a string of Indian batsmen perished to catches behind the wicket but the pair coolly worked the singles and punished the bad balls to frustrate the West Indian attempts to bowl them out cheaply.
Dinesh Karthik (4), Gautam Gambhir (0), Yuvraj Singh (35), Ravi Jadeja (7) and Harbhajan Singh (7) all gave catches to wicket-keeper Denesh Ramdin, who spilled an edge from Rohit Sharma only for it to be snaffled by Runako Morton at slip as India's top order failed to show the required discipline in the face of some good swing bowling from Jerome Taylor (3-35) and Ravi Rampaul (4-37).
Yuvraj was dropped by Morton early on and Dhoni played the ball into Ramdin's gloves only to be given a reprieve and he was to make full use of both this chance, and two drops when on 32 and 85.
He hit five fours and two big sixes, the other two maximums coming from Yuvraj and RP Singh, whose partnership with Dhoni is India's highest in One-Day Internationals against the West Indies.
Dwayne Bravo finally ended the stand when RP Singh pulled him to Sulieman Benn at midwicket and Dhoni was bowled by Taylor trying to guide the ball into the off side in the penultimate over.
India then needed wickets to get back into the game, but none were forthcoming with Gayle in blistering form, pummelling eight fours and two huge sixes as Ashish Nehra's opening two overs disappeared for 22 runs.
Morton was reduced to the role of virtual spectator at the other end, only coming into his own when Gayle was dismissed courtesy of a stunning catch at long on by Gambhir as he tried to hit Sharma for another six.
Sharma was India's best bowler, picking up two for 27 in eight overs and Gambhir's athletic diving catch was out of character with the rest of the innings as India put in a limp fielding display that gifted runs to the West Indians.
Ramnaresh Sarwan was the other batsman to fall, stumped as he gave Sharma the charge for 15 before Morton opened his shoulders, hitting six fours and a six over long on to win the match and he was nicely supported by Shivnarine Chanderpaul, unbeaten on 18 at the close of play.
India led the series 1-0 after they won a high-scoring match by 20 runs at the same venue two days ago while the series resumes in St. Lucia on Friday.
© Cricket World 2009