Sunday's win was once again proof of the big gap building between the two teams, at least in the 50-over format.
After a comprehensive victory in the rain-affected second One-Day International (ODI), Virat Kohli's India have a chance to complete the double in white-ball cricket before the two teams move across to Antigua for the first of two Tests. Sunday's 59-run drubbing has ensured that India can't lose the series, but coming on the back of a haunting loss to New Zealand in the World Cup semifinals, nothing less than a series win would assuage for some of the hurt feelings.
Sunday's win was once again proof of the big gap building between the two teams, at least in the 50-over format. India hold a commanding 7-2 win-loss record in the last 10 games between the two teams, with one tie coming in Visakhapatnam, during the series in 2018. On Sunday, it was all about Virat Kohli. Battling tiredness in humid conditions, the Indian captain made yet another hundred, his 42nd in ODIs, and also went past Sourav Ganguly, to become the second-highest run-scorer, behind Sachin Tendulkar.
While Kohli's return to century-hitting ways was welcome news, the more pressing problems that India encountered during the World Cup remained unanswered. Rishabh Pant did little to suggest he could fit in at the vexed No.4 position, the last 10 overs of batting was modest in the absence of Hardik Pandya and MS Dhoni. But there was a silver lining and that was in the form of Shreyas Iyer. Coming on the back of a good series with the 'A' team, the Mumbaikar did his cause of getting an extended run at five no harm with a fine knock of 71.
For West Indies, it was the same old batting problems that has held the team back. Chris Gayle did go past Brian Lara to become the highest run-scorer in ODIs for the hosts, but there was a sense of inevitability about his dismissal. Evin Lewis sparkled, Shimron Hetmyer and Nicolas Pooran frittered away starts, and the rest fell in a pack. If the hosts are to start winning, the batsmen need to stand up and start converting those into something substantial, something that captain, Jason Holder, has been asking for a long time.
When: Wednesday, August 14, 9:30 AM local time, 7:00 PM IST
Where: Queen's Park Oval, Port of Spain
What to expect: As in the second match, the surface tended to get slower and lower as the match progressed. Another of those pitches where the captain winning the toss might opt to bat first.
India: With the series still on the line, India might not want to change the winning combination. Shikhar Dhawan hasn't hit his straps since coming back from the thumb injury which curtailed his participation in the World Cup, but the team management might give the left-hander another opportunity to get back to run-scoring ways.
Probable XI: Rohit Sharma, Shikhar Dhawan, Virat Kohli(c), Shreyas Iyer, Rishabh Pant(w), Kedar Jadhav, Ravindra Jadeja, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Kuldeep Yadav, Mohammed Shami, K Khaleel Ahmed
West Indies: Chris Gayle played his 300th ODI and also went past Brian Lara's tally to become the highest run-scorer for West Indies in the 50-over format. With his form being patchy, will West Indies replace their record holder at the top? If they do so, John Campbell could get a game ahead of the Test series. If fit, Fabian Allen should be back in place of Oshane Thomas.
Probable XI: Evin Lewis, Chris Gayle / John Campbell, Shai Hope (wk), Shimron Hetmyer, Nicholas Pooran, Roston Chase, Jason Holder, Carlos Brathwaite, Fabian Allen, Sheldon Cottrell, Kemar Roach.
What they said:
We just have to bowl economically, more dot balls. A wicket is a by-product of bowling tight - Bhuvneshwar Kumar speaks about the importance of accuracy.