It may have been a 35-over-a-side game, but during the course of the 68 overs or so, the cricket fans were greeted with a great display of batsmanship from both sides. First, it was the Gayle storm before the actual rain came in. Then there was Shreyas Iyer and Virat Kohli masterclass. And, off-course that inevitable Kohli hundred.
Here's what happened in the 3rd ODI-
Gayle and Lewis go bang bang.....
Opting to bat first, West Indies needed a swashbuckling start to put the pressure back on the Indian bowlers, and boy did they lay into the Indian bowlers, or what. With the bowl coming as straight as an arrow, Gayle and Lewis tore into the Indian attack of Bhuvneshwar, Shami, and Khaleel.
Gayle got to his half-century in just 30 balls as the Windies completed their first 100-run opening stand since 2014 in just 9.3 overs. With the openers going hammer and tons against the seamers, Kohli introduced Chahal into the attack and the move paid dividends almost immediately. The leggie tossed it up, Lewis went for the hoike but could only manage a top-edge which was safely gobbled by Dhawan.
Sanity is restored courtesy Chahal; Gayle bows out or does he?
One brought two for Team India and it took a blinder of a catch from Virat Kohli to bring Gayle's innings to an end. And, what transpired next means it was the last time that we saw the Universe Boss in ODIs for the West Indies. With all the Indian players rushing to shake hands and the Windies dressing room's emotional standing applause, the big man hung his helmet on the top of his bat signaling the end of an era.
The next 11 overs produced just 46 runs as Chahal and Jadhav helped India put some break on the momentum before rain cem to halt the proceedings.
Shami returns with a brilliant 2nd spell as WI post 7-240
India started with Shami and Jadeja after the rain-break had restricted the match to 35-over-a-side, and was immediately rewarded with the wicket of Hetmyer, who in attempt to heave the ball towards mid-wicket was bluffed by Shami's clever change of pace.
Jadeja, on the other hand, was getting a considerable turn from the surface. The left-arm bowler after having built a pressure of dot balls eventually accounted for Shai Hope, who lost his timber while trying to work Jadeja through the off-side. Hope wasn't able to counter Jadeja's pace and the ball skidded through to crash his stumps.
Nicolas Pooran gave the West Indies the much-needed momentum to their innings after two quick wickets. The left-hander targeted the midwicket boundary and slog-swept both Jadeja and Chahal with ridiculous ease and raced to 30 off just 15 balls. But, Mohammad Shami once again flummoxed the batter (Pooran) by cramping him for the room, resulting in his undoing.
Jason Holder too fell in trying to up the ante but the last on-slaught from Carlos Brathwaite (16) and abely backed up by Pierre on Khaleel Ahmed meant the West Indies posted India a challenging 241 runs to win in 35 overs.
Rohit gets run-out; Dhawan throws it away while Pant does Pant things, again
India started off in spanking fashion with Rohit Sharma stroking two.boundaries in a row off Kemar Roach and Dhawan doing the same in the next over. But, a combination of brilliant fielding and miscalculation between the duo resulted in the run-out of Rohit Sharma. But the effect of the run-out of Sharma was nullified by a solid 2nd wicket stand between Dhawan and Kohli.
The duo helped India keep pace with the asking rate, as the Men in Blue raced to 82 off the first ten overs. But, as has been the norm of the day, the introduction of spin brought about a dismissal; this time in the form of Shikhar Dhawan, who top-edged, only to see Keemo Paul take a good backward running catch.
Then. A moment of madness. The madness, so inexplicably similar, it's like watching on a loop with the 'hope' that something would change. To describe it: Well! Pant did err....a Pant. Totally disillusioned by the match-situation, pitch conditions and most-importantly by the flight of the ball, Pant went for an ugly hoike, only for Fabian Allen to do an encore of his own version of Dhawan's celebration. All of a sudden India had slipped from 1-91 to 3-92.
Iyer and Kohli put on a masterclass
Amidst the carnage, Shreyas Iyer came to the crease and as he did in the last ODI immediately took the pressure off Kohli by taking calculated risks against the Windies spinners by smoking them for three sixes in the space of four balls as Kohli cut, drove and ran his way to yet another ODI fifty.
Iyer looked in prime touch. But the most distinctive feature of his innings was there was a sense of calmness around him even when he was slog-sweeping spinners or when he was hitting the fast bowlers over their head for a six. It was a masterclass from both ends. As the master continued to flay with the Windies attack with his orgasmic cover drives and dabs and cuts, the prodigy was matching him stroke-by-stroke.
The partnership rocketed its way to 92 off just 72 balls and the calculated on-slaught by Iyer and Kohli began to show on the Windies. The shoulders had dropped and as Viv Richards said on air, they looked like they had already been beaten. Iyer soon got to his 2nd successive half-century of just 33 balls.
Iyer departed for 65 while going for another hit over mid-off but Virat Kohli ensured that he completed his 43rd ODI ton (26th in a run-chase) and also breach the 20,000-run mark in a decade and it was fitting that the winning runs came off his bat in the 33rd over courtesy a leg-glance.