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India's Kohli, Rohit steamroll West Indies with sparkling tons

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By Reuters

(Reuters) – Virat Kohli and Rohit Sharma both hit centuries and combined in a stand of 246 to help India chase down a difficult target against West Indies for a convincing eight-wicket victory in the opening one day international in Guwahati on Sunday.

Shimron Hetmyer struck his third ODI hundred in just his 13th match to help West Indies to 322-8 after India captain Kohli had won the toss and put the touring side in to bat.

The target of 323 appeared steep when India lost opener Shikhar Dhawan in the second over of their innings but Kohli and Rohit took the West Indies bowling to the cleaners with the hosts reaching the mark with 47 deliveries to spare.

India had won both their recent test matches inside three days against West Indies and the touring side’s hopes of any change in fortune were dashed by the blistering partnership between Kohli and Rohit.

Kohli hit a masterful 140 off 107 deliveries for his 36th hundred in the 50-over format while Rohit remained unbeaten on a 117-ball 152 for his 20th ODI ton.

The Caribbean fast bowlers and spinners were treated with equal disdain by the 29-year-old Kohli, who smashed 21 fours and two sixes during his classy knock.

India’s batting mainstay was finally out when leg-spinner Devendra Bishoo got one to turn past Kohli’s bat with wicketkeeper Shai Hope completing a smart stumping.

Rohit took his time to settle down after his opening partner Dhawan fell for four to debutant fast bowler Oshane Thomas.

The right-handed batsman, who boasts three double hundreds in the format, grew in confidence as he spent time at the crease and cleared the boundary rope with ease when he looked to attack, hitting 15 boundaries and eight sixes, the last of which brought up India’s victory.

Earlier, the 21-year-old Hetmyer, who had managed just 50 runs from four innings during the tests, showed he was much better suited to the 50-over format, clobbering half a dozen sixes and an identical number of fours during his 78-ball knock.

The left-handed batsman favoured the leg side more during his knock but brought up his century with a six over extra cover off fast bowler Mohammed Shami.

Opening batsman Kieran Powell set the tone of the West Indies innings with a 39-ball 51, while Shai Hope (32) and captain Jason Holder (38) also made useful contributions.

Leg-spinner Yuzvendra Chahal was the most successful bowler for the hosts with 3-41 in his 10 overs while Shami gave away 81 runs for his two wickets.

The second ODI will be played at Visakhapatnam on Wednesday.

(Reporting by Sudipto Ganguly in Mumbai; editing by Martyn Herman)