Tail-Enders Clinch India Thrilling Victory
India 213-9 (Sharma 72, Roach 3-46) beat
West Indies 211-9 (Bravo 60) by one wicket
First One-Day International, Cuttack
India left it to their last-wicket pair of Umesh Yadav and Varun Aaron to scramble a one-wicket victory over the West Indies in the first One-Day International in Cuttack.
Defending 211 for nine, the West Indies looked to be on the cusp of an unlikely win when Rohit Sharma was dismissed for 72 and Ranganath Vinay Kumar for 18 needing ten runs to win but Aaron and Yadav held their nerve to hit a couple of decisive boundaries and put India 1-0 up in the five-match series.
Sharma hit three fours and one imperious straight six as he shared in important partnerships with Ravi Jadeja (38) and Kumar to steer India from a position of 59 for five to one from which, eventually, painstakingly, they would go on to win the game.
Darren Bravo had earlier scored 60 and Danza Hyatt 31 but they were the only West Indies batsmen to spend valuable time at the crease and the inability of their team-mates to apply themselves similarly would cost them dear.
In their primary roles, Yadav (2-33) and Aaron (2-47), struck early to emove Lendl Simmons, bowled by Yadav for 19 and Marlon Samuels, bowled by Aaron for ten.
Adrian Barath's blitz of three fours in 13 balls came to an end when he was caught by wicket-keeper Parthiv Patel off Kumar for 13 before Bravo and Hyatt added 75 for the fourth wicket to put the West Indies in a strong position.
However, India fought back and after an awful miscommunication between the two batsmen left Hyatt run out by yards, Bravo fell when he was bowled by Raina.
India's spinners then choked the run-rate, Ravichandran Ashwin and Jadeja picking up a wicket apiece for a cost of 30 and 42 runs respectively as they bowled economically with only Andre Russell, who made 22 in 20 balls, threatening to break the shackles.
India made a similarly quick but error-strewn start to their run chase, Patel (12) helping himself to a couple of leg-side boundaries befor he cut Roach to Anthony Martin at point having just failed to get sufficiently over his shot.
Gautam Gambhir (4) barely got going before he edged Roach to Denesh Ramdin and the quick bowler had his third wicket when he burst through the defences of Virat Kohli to bowl the right-hander for three.
Virender Sehwag, captaining India as Mahendra Singh Dhoni takes a rest, made 20 in 29 balls before he was bowled by Russell and when Raina gave his wicket away to be caught by Bravo off the same bowler for five, India were in deep trouble with just 59 runs on the board and half the side dismissed.
Sharma and Jadeja calmly accumulated runs as they came, putting on 83 for the sixth wicket which was broken when Jadeja drove outside off stump and sliced Kieron Pollard straight to Simmons at backward point, much to his frustration, and Pollard's delight.
Vinay Kumar then made 18 to offer Sharma vital support but his dismissal, caught by Roach as he drilled Sammy to mid off five balls after Sharma was bowled via his pad by leg-spinner Martin, changed the context of the game and appeared to have undone the hard work.
However, Yadav and Aaron ensured that the game was not lost, the pair putting on 12 runs in 16 balls and both ending unbeaten on six.
The second game in the series is in 2nd December in Visakhapatnam.
© Cricket World 2011