Kochi, Oct 8: West Indies put behind an acrimonious pay dispute with their Board to spank number one ranked India by a huge margin of 124 runs in the first one-dayer to take a 1-0 lead in the five-match series here today.
The Caribbeans, who were on the verge of boycotting the ODI, rode on Marlon Samuels' career-best equalling 126 not out to post 321 for six and then shot out the Indians for 197 in 41 overs in a rather one-sided contest at the Nehru Stadium.
India paid the price for some mediocre bowling and shoddy batting as they were outplayed by the crisis-hit visiting team in all departments of the game to suffer a heavy defeat.
Indian bowlers gave away too many runs at the second part of West Indies innings to allow the visitors pile up a big total after being put into bat and then the much-vaunted home batsmen, except for Shikhar Dhawan (68), failed to fire on a batting pitch.
Most of Indian batsmen were out on poor shot selection and they could not stitch any substantial partnership in the face of some tight bowling by the visiting bowlers, the highest being the 49 in 8.4 overs for the opening wicket between Dhawan and Ajinkya Rahane (24).
Dhawan's scratchy 68 came from 92 balls with the help of nine fours. Ravindra Jadeja (33 not out) was the other Indian batsman who scored more than 20 runs. West Indies, even without their mystery spinner Sunil Narine, could tie down the top Indian batsmen who failed to get the runs when required.
Chasing a huge target of 322 for a win, India could not get to a good start as Rahane was run out in a bizarre mix-up in the ninth over with just 49 on board. Rahane tapped the length ball off Ravi Rampaul on the pads between short fine leg and square leg and after taking the first run quickly, he wanted a second and continued to run hard.
But, Dhawan went back after taking a step and both found themselves at the keeper's end and Rahane had to depart for the dressing room.
Samuels hits ton as WI post 321/6
Samuels signalled his return to ODI cricket with a brilliantly crafted unbeaten century as West Indies put up a commanding 321 for six.
The 33-year-old Samuels, who last played in an ODI for West Indies seven months back, equalled his career-best score of 126 en route his sixth century in this format, adding 165 runs for the fourth wicket with wicketkeeper-batsman Denesh Ramdin (61).
In the end, 23 runs came of the final two overs to help the Caribbeans reach a big score on a flat batting track. Samuels' runs came off 116 balls with 11 fours and four sixes as 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' first 50 runs came off 61 balls, the next 50 came off in only 38 balls for the Jamaican, who now has two ODI tons against the Indians.
While Mohammed Shami had the best haul of four for 66 in nine overs, it was Bhuvneshwar Kumar with figures of 0/38 in 10 overs, who had the decent figures among the bowlers.
Legspinner Amit Mishra (1/72) got a bit of hammering when he was bowling with the field restrictions during the middle overs.
West Indies upped the ante in between overs 31-40 which yielded them 89 runs when Mishra and other spinner Ravindra Jadeja (1/58) were operating in tandem.
Samuels was brilliant against the spinners as he lofted Mishra off successive deliveries over long-on and long-off for maximum. He completed his 50 with another six off Suresh Raina.
His 100 though came with a gentle tap for a single off Jadeja and then celebrated it with couple of boundaries off Shami.
On way to his century, Samuels completed 4,000 ODI runs in 160th match and 1,000 against India.
Earlier, India captain MS Dhoni won the toss and chose to bowl. West Indies players had threatened to boycott this game due to a pay dispute with their board. However, they decided to play.
India went in with three fast bowlers (Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Mohammad Shami and Mohit Sharma) and two spinners (Ravindra Jadeja and Amit Mishra) which meant young left-arm chinaman bowler Kuldeep Yadav will have to wait for his international debut.
Offspinner R Ashwin has been rested for the first three ODIs and the selectors are trying out new players as team prepares for next year's World Cup in Australia and New Zealand.
India are without the injured Rohit Sharma and West Indies too are missing their key opener - Chris Gayle due to an injury.
This is a five-match series. The second ODI is in New Delhi on October 11.