Bangalore: India A suffered a rare series defeat as West Indies A rode on Kirk Edwards' run-a-ball century to beat the home team by 45 runs in the third and decisive unofficial ODI at the M Chinnaswamy Stadium on Thursday.
The 1-2 series defeat at the hands of West Indies A was a rare failure for India A, who whitewashed New Zealand A 3-0 prior to the just-concluded rubber against the Caribbeans.
The hosts won the opening match of the series against West Indies by 77 runs before the visitors drew parity by winning the second game by 55 runs. But the Yuvraj Singh-led side were found wanting in the decider as electing to field, the Indian bowlers once again disappointed and allowed West Indies A to pile up a huge 312 for nine in their 50 overs.
Edwards smashed a run-a-ball 104, while Leon Johnson (54 off 42 balls), skipper Kieran Powell (40) and Jonathan Carter (35) also chipped in with useful contributions to take West Indies A to the over 300-run total.
Chasing the imposing target, the Indians could only manage 267 runs for the loss of eight wickets. Young opener Baba Aparajith, who replaced Unmukt Chand, top-scored for India A with a 96-ball 78, while captain Yuvraj made a quick 61 that came off 59 balls.
Barring Aparajith and Yuvraj, the Indian batting line-up failed yet again in the crucial match which they desperately needed to win to clinch the series.
For West Indies, left-arm spinner Veerasammy Permaul claimed three wickets for 55 runs, while pacer Miguel Cummins accounted for two Indian batsmen giving away just 46 runs.
The chase was a steep one for India A and the need of the hour was a solid platform from the top-order. But opener Robin Uthappa's (27) miserable run in the series continued as he squandered a start and was run out at the team score of 46.
New man in Naman Ojha followed suit and departed for a duck, giving a simple catch to wicketkeeper Devon Thomas off Jonathan Carter. But Yuvraj and Aparajith promised a revival, putting on 112 runs in 120 balls for the third wicket before both fell in quick succession.
While Yuvraj was bowled by Ashley Nurse, Permaul disturbed Aparajith's timbers. After Yuvraj and Aparajith's dismissals, the ever-climbing asking rate took a toll on India's middle-order as the likes of Kedar Jadhav (17) and Yusuf Pathan (18) failed to deliver when it mattered most.
India's chase was also hampered by Mandeep Singh's absence as the right-hander did not come out to bat after suffering an injury while fielding. R Vinay Kumar showed some teeth and made a fighting unbeaten 37, but Siddharth Kaul and Shahbaz Nadeem found the going tough and scored identical six each before becoming Permaul's victims.
Earlier, Edwards bludgeoned his way to his second List A century to set the tone for the Caribbeans.
West Indies profited after their openers Andre Fletcher (28) and skipper Powell (40) laid a solid foundation with a 74-run stand.
Edwards, who played a chance-less innings, was out in the 49th over after he had smashed 12 boundaries and three sixes. After he got his eye in, Edwards batted with gay abandon, executing drives and flicks off the pads. He did not lose the opportunity to hit sixes when the ball landed in his zone.
Edwards reached his sixth List A fifty with a superb six off Aparajith in 67 balls. Edwards also featured in stands of 66 and 93 with Carter and Johnson. Edwards perished in the 49th over trying to cut Jaydev Unadkat but only managing in dragging the ball on to his stumps.
India's woes in the bowling department continued as barring Jaydev Unadkat (5 for 55) and Shahbaz Nadeem (2 for 33) all bled runs.