Sarwan century helps West Indies to victory

Ramnaresh Sarwan stroked an unbeaten 115 on Tuesday to spur the West Indies to a four-wicket win over India with one ball to spare in the third one-day cricket international at Warner Park.

The 25-year-old celebrated his 100th match with a match-winning innings that led the home team to their winning target of 248 for six off 49,5 overs.

The West Indies now lead the five-match series 2-1.

Sarwan lashed two sixes and 10 fours, the last to clinch the victory and send the capacity crowd of 8 000 into flag-waving delight.

Earlier, India’s total of 245 for nine off 50 overs was built on Virender Sehwag’s 97 and his third-wicket stand of 112 with Mohammad Kaif, who compiled 61.

But the West Indies converted three crucial run-outs and the visitors managed just 42 runs for the loss of six wickets from their last 15 overs.

“I think this is probably the best one-day innings I’ve ever played,” said Sarwan, who hit his third one-day century.

“I’ve been in pretty good form,” said the Guyanese, who hit 98 not out in a West Indies victory on Saturday in the second match in Jamaica.

The Caribbean side started quickly behind Chris Gayle and new partner Marlon Samuels before India struck twice to take the initiative.

Samuels was leg-before to Sreesanth for 11 and Runako Morton followed for a duck to Ajit Agarkar.

But Gayle and the fluent Sarwan set a successful platform with a stand of 85 off 91 balls.

India fought back with the wickets of Gayle and captain Brian Lara as the innings reached 131 for four. Gayle snicked Agarkar to the wicketkeeper and Harbhajan Singh removed Lara to a slip catch.
But Sarwan continued and found a sound ally in Shivnarine Chanderpaul.

The pair forged a stand of 106 that took the home team to the brink of victory. Chanderpaul lashed four fours and a six before he fell for 58 and gave India their opportunity.

Six were needed off the last over from Sreesanth when Dwayne Bravo was run out off the first ball.

But after a misfield by Indian captain Rahul Dravid gave Sarwan two runs instead of a single, the winning boundary came with a sizzling stroke through extra cover.

Earlier, Sehwag lashed nine fours and three sixes off 83 balls to provide India with a good start after they won the toss and batted.

But once Sehwag and Kaif fell, and Mahendra Dhoni was the first of three run-outs effected by the West Indies, India collapsed to lose six wickets for 35 runs.

The visitors, coasting along at 204 for three off 35 overs, managed just 35 runs off the last 15 overs.

Dwayne Bravo, with his accurate medium pace and well-concealed slower balls, along with off-spinners Chris Gayle and Marlon Samuels, kept a tight rein.

The collapse came once Dhoni was run out by Gayle’s direct hit. Kaif followed five runs later by the same route, with Shivnarine Chanderpaul’s pinpoint throw finding him short of his ground.

Irfan Pathan and Ramesh Powar fell to the spin of Samuels and Ramnaresh Sarwan before another run out to cut short Venugopal Rao completed India’s miserable finale.

Bravo added the wicket of Ajit Agarkar to end with figures of two for 42 off seven overs.

Bradshaw took two for 41 off eight overs.—Sapa-AP

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