Kochi: India captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni lauded the "fantastic" performance of his side, especially the spinners, who according to him had set the platform for a comfortable six-wicket win over West Indies in the opening ODI of the three-match series, here on Thursday. (Kohli joint-fastest to 5000)
Virat Kohli and Rohit Sharma hit sparkling half-centuries after spin duo of Ravindra Jadeja (3/37) and Suresh Raina (3/34) shown with the ball to thrash the visitors at the Nehru Stadium. (Raina, Jadeja spin West Indies out)
"I think it was a fantastic performance. It could have been even better if one of the batsmen scored a 100. I think the spinners did the job for us," Dhoni said at the post-match presentation ceremony. (Gayle likely to miss rest of the series)
Asked to bowl, Jadeja and Raina exploited the low and slow conditions effectively to bundle out West Indies for a meager 211 in 48.5 overs. Kohli then smashed 86 off 84 balls, while Rohit made 72 off 81 balls to help India chased down the target with consummate ease in 35.2 overs. (Kohli, Rohit guide India to victory)
"We didn't start very well, with the ball coming on nicely. There was a bit of variable bounce which assisted our fast bowlers. Overall, I think the spinners did the job and kept the pressure on," Dhoni said. (As it happened)
"It was not easy for the opposition to rotate the strike, so they had to go for the big strokes. I thought it was a wicket where the spinners can do the job, so I thought let's start with Raina. He bowls slightly flattish and can be of good effect with the variable bounce. The first wicket he got it didn't bounce much," Dhoni said about his decision to introduce Raina ahead of regular spinner Ashwin.
"I think they (Dhawan, Rohit, Virat) have been batting really well. Again Virat was brilliant. I thought our bowlers did well and the batsmen negotiated the new ball really well. There was not many runs to be scored, but still they batted really well, especially of Narine who was spinning it both ways," he added.
West Indies skipper Dwayne Bravo rated the performance of his side as "below-par".
"We fell short of our batting target. We felt we were below par. We have to take responsibility for this. We didn't adjust to the style of play," he said.
"It's not a 300 or 290 wicket, if you can get to 250, it could have been a bit different. (Ravi) Rampaul and (Jason) Holder bowled very well so that is good signs for us going into the next game. We got out at the wrong time apart from (Marlon) Samuels and (Darren) Bravo."
Man-of-the-match Virat Kohli, who today became the joint fastest along with West Indian batting legend Viv Richards to reach the 5000 runs in ODIs, said playing with a straight bat was the order of the day on the pitch here, which had variable bounce.
"When we fielded I sorted out how to play. The ball might keep low at any point of time so need to keep a straight bat. So, I just wanted to play as straight and late as close to the body," he said.
"I started timing it well so it gave me confidence and kept me going from there. Me and Rohit were conscious about playing as straight as we can. The idea was to just play straight and keep rotating the strike. It was nice to have to bat with him (Rohit).
"Usually Shikhar and Rohit were giving us good starts, but Shikhar went out early," he added.