Port of Spain: Sachin Tendulkar put in an impressive all-round performance as India whipped the West Indies by 56 runs in the fifth and final One-day International on Sunday.
India clinched the five-match series 2-1 with this victory, having won the third match by seven wickets at Bridgetown in Barbados. The hosts won the fourth match by seven wickets, while the first two one-dayers were rained off in Jamaica. Tendulkar scored 65 and skipper Saurav Ganguly 56 as India batted steadily throughout its innings to post a challenging 260 despite a five for 52 effort from fast bowler Mervyn Dillon. The master batsman also gave a good account of himself as a spinner when he claimed the prize wicket of Brian Lara (36) as the West Indies, chasing a revised 248-run target off 44 overs due to rain, was all out for 191. Tendulkar, who missed the fourth One-dayer due to a shoulder-injury, was named man- of-the-match for his brilliant display. This was India's first One-day series win in the West Indies and also the first outside the country under Ganguly's captaincy in two years. The West Indies never looked in the game after having lost five wickets for 88 in 23.2 overs despite a 40-ball 51 from Shivnarine Chanderpaul and a 31-ball 36 from Ridley Jacobs. Their big-hitting came too late to save the West Indies, which was under pressure from the initial overs as it lost openers Wavell Hinds and Chris Gayle in the space of five runs against disciplined opening spells from left-arm pacemen Zaheer Khan (one for 32) and Ashish Nehra (two for 25). Seamer Ajit Agarkar (three for 33) and off spinner Harbhajan Singh (two for 55) also chipped in as the West Indies choked under pressure. Nehra had Hinds caught by second-slip Virender Sehwag for two, while Zaheer yorked Gayle for three to reduce the West Indies to 12 for two. The West Indies also failed to capitalise on the Indian fielding lapses as its big- hitting left a lot to be desired. Lara, struggling throughout the Test and One-day series against India, was grassed by Sehwag off Nehra when on four, while Sarwan was dropped by Yuvraj Singh at short mid-wicket off Harbhajan when on 15. Sarwan (32) was unable to force the pace despite hitting a six off Harbhajan over extra cover. He was eventually bowled by the spinner while making room to cut. Skipper Carl Hooper fell three runs later, mistiming a pull off Agarkar to be caught by Sehwag at mid-off for one. Pressure kept mounting on the West Indies. Lara fell just when he tried to play a big shot, caught by Dinesh Mongia in the deep off a Tendulkar full toss. In contrast, India thwarted the West Indies with its depth in batting as nearly all specialist batsmen contributed to the team's total. Ganguly played an anchor role for nearly 29 overs as he relied more on singles and twos to keep the scoreboard moving, while Sehwag (32) and Mongia (28) played their shots with freedom. The Indian skipper fell to a casual shot, pulling a rising delivery from Dillon to Sarwan at short mid-wicket after hitting five fours in his 46th half-century. Tendulkar worked the ball shrewdly into the gaps to keep pressure on the West Indian fielders during his 56th half-century. He went for big shots later in his innings, swinging off spinner Hooper over wide long-on for a six in his 70-ball knock before inside-edging a Dillon delivery on to his stumps. India scored just 11 in the opening five overs, but plundered 35 in the next five as Sehwag drove fluently during his attractive run-a-ball innings before flicking Dillon straight to Gayle at short mid-wicket. The run-rate did not decline after Sehwag's dismissal as Tendulkar continued the good work with his intelligent batting to help his team set a stiff target.
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