The West Indies put behind an acrimonious pay dispute with their cricket board to spank World champions India by 124 runs in the first One-day international of the five-match series, at the Nehru stadium in Kochi, on Wednesday.
On the verge of boycotting the match, the tourists rode on Marlon Samuels's career-best-equalling 126 not out to post 321 for 6 and then shot out Mahendra Singh Dhoni’s team for a meager 197 in 41 overs.
The hosts paid the price for some mediocre bowling and shoddy batting as they were outplayed in all departments of the game.
The Indian bowlers gave away too many runs in the second-half of the West Indies innings, allowing them to pile up a huge total after being put into bat.
Then, the much-vaunted home batsmen, save Shikhar Dhawan (68), failed to fire on a good batting pitch. Most of them were out to poor shot selection and unable to put together substantial partnerships in the face of tight bowling by the Caribbean bowlers. The stand was 49 in 8.4 overs for the opening wicket between Dhawan and Ajinkya Rahane (24).
Dhawan's scratchy knock 68 came off 92 balls and was inclusive of nine fours.
Ravindra Jadeja (33 not out) was the only other Indian batsman who contributed more than 20 runs, though they came at the fag end of the innings when the West Indies were cruising home.
The West Indies, even without their mystery spinner, Sunil Narine, did well to tie down the top Indian batsmen.
Chasing a huge target of 322, India had a bad start, as Rahane was run-out in a bizarre mix-up with Dhawan in the ninth over with just 49 on board.
Rahane tapped a length ball from Ravi Rampaul on the pads between short fine leg and square leg and after taking the first run quickly, wanted a second and continued to run hard. However, Dhawan went back after taking a step and both found themselves at the ‘keeper's end. Rahane had to depart for the dressing room.
Virat Kohli’s struggle for runs continued. Even on a batting pitch he could not do much and was dismissed the next over for 2 after facing just five balls. He defended a Jerome Taylor delivery, which held its line, on the backfoot with an angled bat and the outside edge flew to Sammy at wide slip for a low catch.
Ambati Rayudu (13) looked like he would settle down for a partnership with Dhawan but lasted just six overs before he was out in the 16th over.
India were in a spot of bother when Rayudu was out at 82 for three and the home side's chances of victory were dealt another blow after in-form Suresh Raina was dismissed for a duck three balls later off the bowling of Dwayne Bravo.
Raina, who hit a match-winning unbeaten century for Chennai Super Kings in Champions League Twenty20 final a few days ago, got an inside edge which knocked off his bails.
India were still in a chance till captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni was at the crease but it was not the day for the 'Master Finisher' as he was bowled by Darren Sammy for an uncharacteristic eight runs from 21 balls.
By the time Dhoni was out in the 26th over, the asking rate had gone up to over eight with half of the batting line-up back in the dressing room.
Dhawan kept one end intact before he was out in the 29th over. After he departed it was as good as over for India.
Jadeja only extended the West Indies’ wait for victory.
Dwayne Bravo, Ravi Rampaul and Marlon Samuels grabbed two wickets apiece while Jerome Taylor, Andre Russell and Darren Sammy took a wicket each.
Earlier, the 33-year-old Samuels, who last played in an ODI for the West Indies seven months back, equalled his career-best score of 126 en route his sixth century in the 50-overs’ format. He added 165 runs for the fourth wicket with wicketkeeper-batsman Denesh Ramdin (61).
The last two overs yielded 23 runs, enabling the Caribbeans post a commanding total on a flat batting track.
Samuels's runs came off 116 balls, with 11 fours and four sixes. He paced his innings to perfection reaching the milestone in 99 balls. He found an able ally in Ramdin, who also kept the momentum going with a 59-ball-61 that had five fours and two sixes.
While Samuels's first 50 runs came off 61 balls, the next 50 were off only 38. The Jamaican now has two ODI tons against the Indians.
Mohammed Shami took four wickets for 66 runs in nine overs, while Bhuvneshwar Kumar was the most economical Indian bowler with figures of 0 for 38 from 10 overs.
Veteran leggie Amit Mishra (1-72) got a bit of hammering while bowling with the field restrictions during the middle overs.
The West Indies upped the ante in between overs 31 and 40, which yielded them 89 runs, when Mishra and Ravindra Jadeja (1-58), the other spinner, operated in tandem.
Samuels was brilliant against the spinners. He lofted Mishra off successive deliveries over long-on and long-off for maximum and completed his 50 with another six off Suresh Raina.
His 100, though, came up with a gentle tap for a single off Jadeja. He then celebrated it with couple of boundaries off Shami.
When the Windies started batting, skipper Dwayne Bravo played and missed a few and had only five scoring shots in his 17 --- four of them boundaries -- before he was snapped at first slip by Shikhar Dhawan off Mohammed Shami's bowling.
His opening partner, Dwayne Smith (46 off 45 balls), gave a better account of himself than in the recently concluded Champions League T20, hitting four boundaries; three of them were off Mohit Sharma while other was hit off Bhuvneshwar Kumar.
He also launched into Jadeja, his Chennai Super Kings’ teammate, hitting him for two huge sixes, including one over long-off and the other straight into the sightscreen.
However, the Indian left-arm spinner had the last laugh as he enticed Smith into attempting a wild heave and cleaned him up in the process.
Smith was involved in a 64-run partnership with Darren Bravo (28).
Left-handed Bravo looked in good touch as he hoisted Mishra for a six but was out, caught in the deep by Shikhar Dhawan, trying to repeat the shot.