Desmond Haynes and Richie Richardson needed to make only 39 runs and they did so in just under six overs. That let them take a 4-0 lead over a battered and bruised England side and it was part of what is called the “Blackwash” series. 31 years later, at the same ground, West Indies were playing out the 43 overs they have been assigned, not even making an attempt at chasing down the target of 311 set for them by India. They fell 105 runs short of the target, giving India their highest margin of win in the Carribeans.
On Monday, it would have been hard for Virat Kohli’s men to find any motivation to take game seriously. A century from Ajinkya Rahane, innings from Shikhar Dhawan, Kohli himself and the finishing touches provided by MS Dhoni and Kedar Jadhav. They also had significant help from West Indies captain Jason Holder who bowled a horror of a last over. Holder bowled three no-balls and gave away 20 runs in the five balls. Two of those were above the waist which meant that he had to pass the ball on to Jonathan Carter to finish the over.
Holder’s performance almost characterised West Indies’ approach to the match. Later, while batting, Holder came down the track to go after Kuldeep Yadav. He missed it completely and was well outside the crease when Dhoni collected it behind the stumps. Holder turned around and seemed to be wondering whether he should even make an effort to get back to the crease. By the time he made the decision, though, Dhoni had taken the bails off. It was one of the strangest dismissals you ever get to see.
This is one of the many ODI series the former world champions need to win so as to secure automatic qualification to the 2019 World Cup. Yet, the hosts seemed to be playing only to ensure that they don’t lose all of their wickets. Winning, or even getting close to the target was impossible at the rate at which they were scoring runs. Taking out Shai Hope’s innings, the West Indies batsmen made 115 off 173 balls a far cry from what would be required to make India uncomfortable. Hope had, against the flow of the game, made 81 off 88 balls.
India have thus taken a 1-0 lead in the series. The first match was washed out and three more are left to be played. If this one at Port of Spain is an indicator, India would be allowed to walk in with an experimental side and still be able to beat Jason Holder and co.