ANTIGUA, June 12 (IANS): Rohit Sharma struck an unbeaten 86 to guide India to a series victory over the West Indies with their three-wicket win in the third one-day international of the five-match series here Saturday.Sharma's 91-ball innings helped India overhaul West Indies' total of 225 for eight in 50 overs. But the highlight of the day was 23-year-old Andre Russell's unbeaten 92 that took the hosts to a respectable total, as at 96 for seven, they were staring at the ignominy of being bowled out for 100 runs. Russell was also adjudged as the Man of the Match.
India also suffered a similar middle-order collapse as they were struggling at 92 for six in the 23rd over, but a 88-run stand for the seventh wicket between Sharma and Harbhajan Singh (41) saw the visitors reach 228 for seven with 22 balls to spare.
India started the chase with a brisk 46 by wicket-keeper Parthiv Patel, but West Indies skipper Darren Sammy removed opener Shikhar Dhawan (4) and Virat Kohli in successive deliveries in the eighth over.
Subramaniam Badrinath (11), Parthiv, India captain Suresh Raina (3) and Yusuf Pathan (1) departed within a space of eight overs that left the world champions teetering at 92 for six.
But Harbhajan, whose batting skills have become a key element, ably supported Sharma to take India home safely with their industrious seventh-wicket stand.
While Sharma was in his elements, driving crisply through the covers, Harbhajan rotated the strike with his intellign 86 giveng. Sharma hit five fours and two sixes in his well-placed knock that pulled out India from a precarious situation.
Harbhajan's departure in the 41st over brought Praveen Kumar (25 not out) to the crease and the street-smart cricket struck two lusty sixes to damper West Indies' hopes of staying alive in the series.
Sharma hit the winning runs after he hit Kemar Roach for a four over mid-on with 22 deliveries to spare.
Earlier, Russell smashed an unbeaten 92 off 64 balls and with a 51-run stand ninth wicket stand with Kemar Roach (7 not out) gave the bowlers a target a to defend.
Leg spinner Amit Mishra (3/28) and pacer Munaf Patel (3/60) caused the damage and India were looking to wrap up West Indies for a smaller total. Russell and Carlton Baugh (36) then added 78 runs for the eighth wicket to arrest the slide.
Russell smacked the bowlers all over the park in the death overs. Raina was clobbered for 22 runs in the penultimate over. Russell hit eight fours and five towering sixes as West Indies, who are 0-2 down in the five match series reached a respectable total.
At one stage, West Indies lost as many as six wickets for only 31 runs.
After being put to bat, West Indies kept on losing wickets with Indian bowlers taking full advantage of the slow surface.
Although there was a 65-run second wicket partnership between Lendl Simmons (45) and Ramnaresh Sarwan (28), but runs came at a slow pace.
Once the partnership was broken when Sarwan was run-out, the West Indies middle order caved in.