On a Kensington Oval pitch that offered bounce and carry for seamers, and turn for spinners, 15 wickets fell in less than 46 overs in the first ODI between West Indies and India. After being sent in, West Indies were all out for 114 in 23 overs. India, who promoted their white-ball specialists up the order, lost five wickets in the chase before Rohit Sharma, batting at No. 7, hit the winning runs.
“To be honest, I never thought the pitch was going to play like that,” Rohit said at the post-match presentation. “It had everything for seamers and spinners, and the run-scoring was quite difficult. But to restrict them to that score was a superb effort from our bowling unit.
“We never thought we would lose five wickets but it was good to give some game time to a lot of those ODI guys who have just come in. But firstly, it was important for us to get into a good position. Restricting them to 115  was a great effort, and I thought we had that commanding position that we needed, which is why we thought okay, we could try some of those guys who haven’t played a lot of cricket in a while and give them a go.
“I don’t know when they will get time moving forward, so whenever we get an opportunity like that, we will try to accommodate all these guys.”
Watch – Mukesh Kumar’s first ODI wicket
Rohit also praised Mukesh Kumar who, having made his Test debut earlier on the tour, was playing his first ODI. The seamer started with a maiden and bowled a tight line and length, although his first wicket in the format came off a delivery that was short and wide – Alick Athanaze failed to clear a leaping Ravindra Jadeja at backward point.
“Mukesh has been brilliant,” Rohit said. “Even in the Test series we saw he can swing the new ball, has got a bit of pace and is quite consistent as well. So we want to see what he has to offer. I haven’t seen much of him in domestic cricket either, so it was good to see him playing with the white ball as well.”
West Indies captain Shai Hope, meanwhile, lamented the lack of application by his batters. Despite losing three wickets inside nine overs, West Indies had reached 88 for 3 with Hope looking in full control. Jadeja then triggered a collapse by sending back Shimron Hetmyer, and West Indies lost their last seven wickets for 26 runs.
“Too many words come to mind but let’s just say we didn’t play the way we needed to,” Hope said. “On a challenging surface like that, as a batting group, we need to find ways to score.
“Anyone who was watching can see what happened there. Any 9.30am start in the Caribbean will be difficult [for batting] and the Indian bowlers bowled pretty well on this surface, but again we didn’t score enough runs.”
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