India flaunt bench strength with ODI series win in Windies

Kishan and Gill put on 143-run opening stand

TAROUBA, (Reuters) : A second-string India thrashed West Indies by 200 runs in the third one-day international on Tuesday to seal a 2-1 series victory in a timely boost ahead of their Asia Cup campaign next month.

India entered the three-match series with their eyes on the bigger picture, which includes the Asia Cup and the home World Cup in October-November.

Read more: Asia Cup 2023: Pakistan, India to clash on Sept 2

Skipper Rohit Sharma and stalwart Virat Kohli were rested for the second ODI as part of their experiment with team combination and were not recalled for the decider even after West Indies levelled the series in Bridgetown.

It did not really matter at the Brian Lara Stadium in Trinidad where India racked up 351-5 after being put into bat.

Ishan Kishan (77) smashed his third successive fifty of the series and Shubman Gill struck 85 as they forged a 143-run opening stand to lay the foundation for a mammoth total.

Sanju Samson made a breezy 51 and stand-in skipper Hardik Pandya provided the late flourish with an unbeaten 70 off 52 balls to take India past the 350-mark.

They then returned to bundle out West Indies for 151 in 35.3 overs with only Alick Athanaze (32) and Gudakesh Motie, who made 39 not out, offering some resistance.

After Mukesh Kumar (3-30) wrecked the West Indies top order, Shardul Thakur (4-37) hollowed out the bottom half as India registered their 13th consecutive ODI series win against West Indies.

“As a captain I look forward to these kind of games where something is on the line,” a beaming Pandya said afterwards.

“We knew that if we failed, there would be some disappointment.

“The way the boys came out and showed their character and, at the same time, enjoyed it, that’s something I want this team to have.

“In pressure situations, they have to absorb it but also enjoy it. Without pressure you can’t be heroes.”

West Indies captain Shai Hope said the target was not beyond their reach but they lacked consistency.

“They got 350, you have to believe ‘we can too’. Just trying to keep stressing on that attitude,” he said.

“We are not consistent enough with that attitude. Some days we wake up and play like the best team in the world and some days we just get steamrolled.”

The teams will clash in a five-match T20 series beginning on Thursday.

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