India were declared winners of the third one-day international against the West Indies at Rajkot in the most unfortunate of circumstances, with crowd trouble resulting in the abandonment of the match midway through the second innings.
India were cruising at 200 for one in the 28th over while chasing West Indies score of 300 for five when the match had to be called off after a couple of West Indian players were hit by bottles thrown from a section of the crowd.
Since more than 25 overs had been bowled in the Indian innings, the Duckworth-Lewis system was used to calculate the difference between the scores of the two teams and the hosts were declared winners by 81 runs.
The result gave India their first victory in the seven match series after losses at Jamshedpur and Nagpur.
Crowd violence had marred the first two matches in Jamshedpur and Nagpur too and the disturbing trend continued at this venue despite heavy security arrangements in and around the stadium.
The match came very near to being abandoned in Jamshedpur before better sense prevailed among the spectators and the game was allowed to be resumed.
Today, substitute Ryan Hinds was hit by a bottle while fielding at long-off. The West Indians complained to match-referee Mike Procter of South Africa who said he would call the players off the ground if the incident was repeated.
Some overs later, Vasbert Drakes, who dismissed Indian skipper Saurav Ganguly for 72, was hit by a bottle when he went to the boundary line to fetch the ball. The West Indians again approached Procter who decided to call the players off.
Police vacated the entire stand from where the bottles were thrown but apparently West Indies refused to take the ground until the entire stadium was emptied.
Apart from bringing a bad name to the venue and the country, the disgraceful incidents also overshadowed a blazing century by Virender Sehwag who remained unbeaten on 114.
Sehwag and Ganguly put on 196 runs for the opening wicket which put India firmly on course of a victory. The two Indians scored at nearly eight an over, blasting every single West Indian bowler on show. Ganguly started the onslaught but Sehwag soon overtook his captain and entertained the crowd with his big hitting.
India raced to 68 without loss in ten overs before adding 52 runs from the next five overs.
The West Indians introduced spin in the form of Chris Gayle in the 13th over and Sehwag smashed him for three fours and a six to take 18 runs off it. Sehwag completed his half-century off just 33 balls with seven fours and a six.
India, who reached 100 in the 14th over, were 120 without loss when fielding restrictions came to an end but there was no respite for the West Indian bowlers.
Ganguly, who was outscored by his partner, also went for the big hits, repeatedly coming down the track to hit the bowlers all around the ground.
Sehwag, in the meanwhile, reached his century off just 75 balls when he took a single against Mahendra Nagamootoo. The skipper was finally caught by Shivnarine Chanderpaul in the 26th over.
V.V.S. Laxman was still to open his account when play was called off.
Earlier, West Indies rode on attacking knocks from Ramnaresh Sarwan, Chris Gayle and Chanderpaul to register the highest total in the series so far. Sarwan top-scored with 84 off 88 balls while Gayle and Chanderpaul came up with belligerent knocks of 72 and 74 respectively.
Gayle and Chanderpaul were associated in a 149-run stand for the fourth wicket to provide the thrust to the West Indian innings.
India opted for a three-pronged pace attack while leaving out leg-spinner Anil Kumble but that could not prevent West Indies from scoring freely.
Ajit Agarkar went for over ten runs an over, conceding 63 from his six overs and other bowlers were also hardly impressive. Harbhajan Singh, the most successful bowler with two wickets, gave away 59 runs from his 10 overs.
West Indies were off to a steady start before Gayle provided the momentum to the innings. After Wavell Hinds (10) was caught by Laxman off Javagal Srinath in the ninth over with the score on 36, Gayle went on the offensive and stepped up the scoring.
Gayle struck 12 fours and two sixes in his 68-ball 72 before falling as the third wicket with the score on 119. In between, Ganguly had sent back Marlon Samuels, caught behind by Rahul Dravid, for 16.
Then came the brilliant partnership for the fourth wicket between Chanderpaul and Sarwan that provided the thrust for a huge total.
The two took the score to 268 before both fell in quick succession. Harbhajan Singh claimed his second wicket by dismissing Chanderpaul, who hit eight boundaries in his 77-ball knock, in the 46th over.
In the next over, Sarwan stepped out and attempted a big heave against Ashish Nehra but only managed to give a faint outside edge to wicketkeeper Dravid. Sarwan's 88-ball innings contained six fours and two sixes.
Ricardo Powell, playing his first game in the series, and Ridley Jacobs added 28 runs in 20 balls to take the score to 300. Powell remained unbeaten on 19 off 18 balls that included a six while Jacobs was not out on nine.
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