The pair patched up a top-order collapse before Siraj and Prasidh dominated West Indies
India 265 (Shreyas 80, Pant 56, Holder 4-34) beat West Indies 169 (Odean 36, Prasidh 3-27, Siraj 3-29) by 96 runs
All three pitches in the series have been challenging ones. The extra bounce and dual pace off this surface kept the tall West Indies bowlers in the game. Not only did India make a host of changes to their XI, they also chose to bat first to test themselves in possible dewy conditions in the evening.
On this pitch, back from his opening duties in the second ODI, Pant looked the most comfortable even as Iyer scratched around early on. Without playing a shot in anger – an upper-cut here, a targeting of left-arm spin there – Pant scored 56 at better than a-run-a-ball. Iyer found himself stuck on the other end, faced 84 balls in 20.3-over partnership and needed some early luck to survive.
Pant, though, perished to the late-cut to a flatter trajectory from legspinner Hayden Walsh jnr, a shot that had brought him runs. This allowed West Indies a way back in as India kept trying to press on. Suryakumar Yadav ended up slicing an aerial cover drive, and Iyer found long-off just before the 40th over, which is when an extra fielder goes back. Iyer scored 55 off the last 51 balls he faced.
Washington and Chahar then provided another recovery with a 53-run seventh-wicket stand in just 8.3 overs. Chahar in particular looked threatening with four fours and two sixes in his run-a-ball 38, but Holder intervened with a slower bouncer to dismiss him. Kuldeep met the same fate. Washington, though, batted into the last over for 33 off 34. It was, again, Holder, who restricted the damage he might have caused in the end.
It was a good time for Kuldeep to ease his way back in. He consistently made the ball drop shorter than the batters’ expectations, getting sharp turn and bounce. Fabian Allen was done in by a wrong’un, playing for the turn back in on the big drive, but getting a faint outside edge. Nicholas Pooran fell to the orthodox delivery, done in again by the dip, edging to first slip.
Odean Smith presented a nice little challenge from 82 for 7, hitting Kuldeep for three sixes in his 18-ball 36. This is the kind of pressure you want to see Kuldeep under and see how he holds up. However, it was Siraj, who came back and ended the fun with his hard lengths, drawing a catch to cover an over after Smith was dropped at mid-off.
Joseph and Walsh jnr frustrated India even as the dew set in, but they were never going to challenge the target. Siraj and Prasidh came back to end the proceedings with hostile short bowling.
Sidharth Monga is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo