Pune: Centurion Virat Kohli threw the concept of law of averages in sport out of the equation with another milestone but the Indian team’s collective failure allowed the West Indies to level the series with a 43-run win in the third ODI here Saturday.
Kohli became the first Indian and 10th overall to score three successive hundreds in the One-day format but it could not prevent West Indies from tasting their first win of the tour.
After making a commendable recovery from a shaky start to post 283 for nine on the board, West Indies bowlers rattled the Indian middle and lower middle-order, to snuff out a victory and level the series.
The hosts were bundled out for 240 in 47.4 overs.
India had won the lung-opener in Guwahati before West Indies ensured a tie in the second game at Visakhapatnam.
Between victory and defeat, stood a determined Kohli (107), who notched up his 38th ODI hundred and seventh against the Windies. The India skipper was going all guns blazing till he was dismissed. He hit 10 boundaries and a lone six in his 119-ball knock at the MCA International Stadium.
India had their chances till Kohli was at the crease. But West Indies skipper Jason Holder’s gamble to bring in off-spinner Marlon Samuels (3-12) paid off, as he got the prized wicket of Kohli in the 42nd over and that changed the complexion of the game.
Kohli tried to pull a quicker one by Samuels, but missed it and the ball came onto the stumps. After Kohli’s dismissal it was just a matter of time. Samuels added two more wickets to his kitty.
With track slowing down, it proved to be a tough job for the Indian tail-enders.
In contrast, West Indies’ lower-order batsmen Ashley Nurse (40) and Kemar Roach (15) produced a a crucial 56-run stand for the ninth wicket.
Kohli, who walked in early after the fall of Rohit Sharma (8), took down to settle. Looking stable as ever, the India captain notched up his fifty with a pull shot and eventually reached the three-figure mark with a single down to fine leg in company of Bhuvanehwar Kumar (10).
Shikhar Dhawan (35), Ambati Rayadu (22) and Rishabh Pant (24) got starts but failed to convert them as the Windies bowlers stuck at regular intervals.
A lot was expected from veteran Mahendra Singh Dhoni, who was dropped from the West Indies and Australia T20 series. But he fell for mere 7, giving Holder his second wicket.
For the Windies, Holder (2/46), Obed McCoy (2/38) and Ashley Nurse (2/48) played their roles to perfection.
Earlier, pacer Jasprit Bumrah denied Shai Hope a second-consecutive century on his way to a four-wicket haul but the West Indies made a superb recovery after a shaky start.
Returning to the team after being rested for the first two matches, Bumrah emerged the most effective bowler, conceding just 35 in his 10 overs.
Bumrah sent both the visiting openers — Kieran Powell (21) and Chanderpaul Hemraj (15) — in his first spell to give India a solid start and later dismissed Hope and Ashley Nurse (40).