Gill stranded on 98 as rain stops play with India reaching 225/3 in 36 overs

Port of Spain, Jul 27 (Cricket News) Rain Gods played spoilsport, preventing Shubman Gill from completing his maiden international hundred but his unbeaten 98 propelled India to 225 for 3 in 36 overs in the third ODI against West Indies here on Wednesday.

Play was halted twice due to inclement weather on a start-stop day at the Queens Park Oval as India were 115 for 1 in 24 overs when there was a first stoppage, having lost skipper Shikhar Dhawan (58 off 74 balls).

By the time, heavens opened once again, India added another 110 runs in the next 12 overs, courtesy Gill and Shreyas Iyer (44 off 34 balls). The duo smashed 86 in just 9.3 overs to provide the required momentum.

The disappointment was writ large on Gill's face when it started drizzling for the second time and he would curse himself for not speeding things up after entering the nervous 90's.

Gill batted in two different gears during the course of the innings. Before the rain-break, he was more of an accumulator while he scythed through the Caribbean attack once play resumed before once again tapering off towards the landmark.

Nonetheless, no one can take the credit away from what has been a sublime knock and his stand out shots will be — two sixes off leg-spinner Hayden Walsh and a picture perfect off-drive off pacer Jayden Seals' bowling.

India turned the game on its head with Iyer pulling Walsh's half-tracker for a six and Gill got another half a dozen with a straight loft. In between, there was a back-cut by Iyer with 18 coming off the over.

The next over from Seals also yielded 13 runs as there was no looking back. If something struck out like a sore thumb, it had to be Suryakumar Yadav's hat-trick of failures as Walsh (2/57 in 8 overs) was the most successful bowler.

Iyer, who had seven half-centuries against West Indies in ODIs, missed out on his eighth when his short-arm slap off Akeal Hossain didn't have the elevation required to clear the long-on boundary.

Earlier, skipper Dhawan, who has been India's highest run-getter in the format during last two years, showed why he is still indispensable in this format. As far as young Gill is concerned, after this series, he would have found some breathing space in the format.

The duo added 113 for the opening stand, their second hundred plus partnership in the series, with Dhawan notching up his second half-century (58 off 74 balls) following his 97 in the opening game.

Dhawan's innings had seven fours, while Gill had seven fours and two sixes till 36th over.

Dhawan was dismissed when he tried to hit against the turn to a googly from Hayden Walsh and Nicholas Pooran held on to a simple catch at mid-wicket.

While the context of bilateral ODI cricket is being questioned time and again, the series would have certainly given head coach Rahul Dravid, some idea about the players he would like to invest upon going into next year's World Cup in India.

Gill will certainly be one among them with scores of 64, 43 and 98 not out in the three games. He could have easily gotten to big three-figure mark in the first two games and what has been striking is his ability to control the momentum.

In the first game, he let Dhawan drop anchor and himself gave the Windies bowlers a charge, while in final game, Gill played the second fiddle to Dhawan at times, although the six he hit was a monstrous one.

He picked leg-spinner Walsh's length early and slogged him for a 104-metre six wide of long-on.

While Gill was more severe square of the wicket, Dhawan didn't disappoint his fans with some exquisite timing, mostly through cover and cover point region.

The slowish nature of the track meant that both had to check some of their shots as the ball wasn't exactly coming onto the bat. 

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News Source : PTI


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