The ICC's Future Tours Programme had suggested that, in April and May 2013, West Indies would host two Tests, three one-day internationals and two Twenty20 games against Sri Lanka. But that clashed with the closing stages of the IPL, which would have ruled out several leading players on both sides.
Instead, a three-way one-day series, also involving India, was arranged for a few weeks later. To make it work, the three teams travelled from London to Jamaica immediately after the Champions Trophy. That, in any case, was the official rationale. As ever with India, it was not difficult to read between the lines. The competition was sponsored by a Hyderabadi mobile-phone business, and a host of other Indian products and services - household names in the subcontinent, but unheard of in the Caribbean - filled the perimeter advertising boards at the two venues, Sabina Park in Jamaica and Queen's Park Oval in Trinidad.
They were there because live coverage of the matches was being beamed back to India by Ten Sports, the Dubai-based Indian production company which had won the rights to international cricket from the West Indies Cricket Board a year earlier. To cement the Indian theme, their captain M. S. Dhoni raised yet another one-day trophy after powering six, four and six off successive balls in the last over to clinch a tense one-wicket victory in a low scoring final against Sri Lanka. India had started with two defeats in Jamaica, as the exertion of going all the way in the Champions Trophy appeared to take its toll. They also lost Dhoni to a hamstring injury, which kept him out until the final. But by the time they arrived in Trinidad, India seemed refreshed.
They trounced the inconsistent West Indians to avenge a narrow defeat in the first match, then booked a place in the final by routing Sri Lanka for 96 in the decisive qualifier; it was payback for their roasting in Jamaica, where Upul Tharanga made an unbeaten 174 and shared an opening partnership of 213 with Mahela Jayawardene. There were also hundreds by Chris Gayle for West Indies and Virat Kohli, India's stand-in captain. But the most consistent batsmen on sluggish pitches that suited the finger-spinners were the ever dependable Kumar Sangakkara for Sri Lanka and India's Rohit Sharma, who seemed to be fulfilling his potential at long last after being moved up to open earlier in the year.
India also prospered thanks to the seam and swing of Bhuvneshwar Kumar, eight months into his international career, which brought him the series award after ten wickets at 9.70 and an economy-rate of 3.34; for Sri Lanka, Angelo Mathews grew in confidence as captain. But for West Indies, the only benefits were financial.
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