After being at the centre of the nerve-shredding draw in Mumbai, R Ashwin wouldn't have gambled on being run out in the very next game, in incredibly similar fashion. Rohit Sharma steered a slow offcutter to third man, for what seemed like a straightforward couple. Like in Mumbai, Ashwin wasn't running to the danger end, but for some reason decided to refuse the second. The noisy crowd meant Rohit probably heard the call late and Ashwin was eventually forced to leave the crease with his partner almost beside him, for the second time in two innings. Things are looking up for Ashwin with bat and ball, but running is another matter altogether.
Lendl Simmons came into the game with seven half-centuries and a ton in his last 12 innings, and the confidence was evident in the flourish accompanying his strokes. But the placement and timing took a while to make an appearance. He played out 15 balls against India's nifty new-ball pair, without managing to find a gap and the pressure was building on West Indies. Simmons eventually broke free off his 16th ball, moving out of the crease to punch Vinay Kumar powerfully for a four down the ground. The next ball, he sashayed out again and picked up a length ball to deposit it for a six over midwicket, and suddenly looked a completely different batsman.
Virender Sehwag has never been one of those get-your-eye-in kind of batsmen. During the World Cup, he made a habit of muscling the first ball he faced in nearly every match for boundaries. This was the first one-dayer he played since the World Cup final, but being away from the format for eight months didn't stop that trend. His first delivery was a free-hit - short and well outside off, and it was duly dispatched over backward point for four.
The turning point
West Indies had the chance to close out the game in the 39th over, when Rohit Sharma suffered a sudden brainfade with India 37 runs short of the target. He tried to pull a ball that wasn't quite short at a time when India needed only singles, and top-edged it in the air towards third man. Darren Bravo had to move only a few yards forward to complete the catch, but he seemed to lose sight of the ball. He stayed rooted to his position as the ball bounced in front of him and Rohit survived. He knocked off another 15 runs before being eventually dismissed, and the tailenders held their nerve to pip West Indies.
After the one-dayers against England failed to attract the customary large crowds, Cuttack showed the appetite for cricket in the smaller centres. There wasn't a seat to be had at the Barabati Stadium as international cricket returned after two years. While the jam-packed stadium would have heartened the organisers, there was a period of concern in the eighth over of the chase. It wasn't entirely clear what happened, but Sammy called all the West Indian players to the middle after a disturbance in the outfield. Play was held up for several minutes as a large number of policemen were stationed near the stand where the problem occurred.