You are using an older browser version. Please use a supported version for the best MSN experience.

Kohli's 27th ton, Jadhav's 76-ball 120 seal India's win

The Guardian logo The Guardian 15-01-2017 Barney Ronay at the Maharashtra Cricket Association Stadium, Pune
Kedar Jadhav and Virat Kohli: Kedar Jadhav, left, and the India captain, Virat Kohli, add more runs to the home side’s total in Pune. Both would go on to score centuries. © Reuters Kedar Jadhav, left, and the India captain, Virat Kohli, add more runs to the home side’s total in Pune. Both would go on to score centuries.

England were chased down in crushing, exhilarating fashion in Pune as Virat Kohli produced an innings of regal brilliance to help India pass England’s highest ever total against them with 11 balls to spare. There was also a stunning hundred from the 31-year-old local boy Kedar Jadhav, who played a full part in a fifth-wicket partnership of 200 in 25 overs as England were reduced to haring about in the dusty night air watching the ball sail into the stands.

This was a wonderful mixed-up, muddled-up game of fifty-over cricket, a one-day international for the T20 era. But, as with the first Test before Christmas, England might just have missed their best chance in the series here.

Throughout the white-ball revolutions of the Trevor Bayliss era there has been a sense this is a team of two halves: venomous skill and aggression with the bat; and a lack of equivalent craft with the ball. Eoin Morgan suggested as much in his pre-match press conference and at the Maharashtra Cricket Association Stadium England produced a performance to back their captain’s words.

Full scorecard: India vs England, 1st ODI

The high-rev batting machine of the last year and half clicked into gear in Pune, led by some fine late hitting from Ben Stokes. In reply, India’s top order subsided in the purple Pune dusk, stuttering to 63-4 off 11.5 overs when Yuvraj Singh was out. At which point, enter: the Prince.

Kohli has an extraordinary presence on Indian cricket grounds, his loose, ambling skinny-Viv walk to the crease a wonderful piece of athletic theatre. Here he kicked off with jaw-dropping bravado, walking out and lifting his fifth ball from David Willey for a six over long-on. “Kohli!“ the crowds chanted as Chris Woakes was eased wristily through cover and mid-on.

Photos: 27 things you didn't know about Virat Kohli

27 things you didn't know about Virat Kohli

For a while, as Kohli played with a clean, elegant, angry sense of purpose there was a feeling England could afford to watch India’s captain whipping a febrile 37,000 crowd to a state of defiant pleasure. Steadily, though, the match began to turn. Stokes and Adil Rashid went at close to 10 an over in that middle period as India’s batsmen hit fearlessly on a flat pitch. Kohli’s hundred came up off his 93rd delivery, swung high over mid-on for his fourth six, a man not really playing the situation, the pitch or the opposition, simply bringing his own uncontainable talent to bear on anything England’s seven bowlers put before him. There is no disgrace in losing a game to a batsman of such talent, in this form. It was Kohli’s 17th century for India in an ODI run chase, with 15 of those games won.

India had won the toss earlier in the day and decided to chase. For England Jake Ball got the call ahead of Liam Plunkett. The Maharashtra is a great open new-build out-of-town thing, the crowd bearing down from the great craning stand at one end. Under hazy skies Jason Roy kicked off in familiar fashion, yawning Hardik Pandya away through cover and wide mid-off. The first wicket fell at 39, Alex Hales apparently surprised by a pinged direct hit at the non-strikers end from deepish backward square leg by Jasprit Bumrah. Hales will wish he’d dived rather than stretched.

Watch: 'Dhoni can experiment more with his batting now'

Replay Video

Roy kept swinging, his sixth ODI half-century came up off 36 balls, but he was out on 73 walking past one from Ravindra Jadeja – an infuriating way to get out, having played with such easy power. Eoin Morgan was caught behind off a feathered nick from Pandya. Jos Buttler was caught slapping a low head-height catch to Shikar Dhawan at mid-off the ball after he’d been hit on the grille by an bouncer from Pandya. Joe Root batted with Trott-like caution, bringing up his 50 off a diligent 72 balls.

At 220-4 in the 38th over England needed someone to press home a decent position. They found their man in Stokes, who played with controlled power and took a particular liking to Bumrah, who sends the ball down with a kind of disco-style star jump, finger-pointing dramatically skywards, an action that seems to demand he charges into the wicket in white flares and a floppy-collared shirt. Stokes’ fifty came off 33 balls as 72 runs came from 30 balls up to the end of the 47th over.

As dusk began to close in, a target of 351 looked distant but not insurmountable as the India innings kicked off in a wonderful parping, squealing din. Willey, who could find late early swing bowling on the moon with a discarded golf ball, drew an edge from Dawan’s scything cut, Moeen Ali holding the catch at third man. Dhawan walked off to wild cheers. No offence, Shikar. But, you know. He’s here.

Willey found late inswing to bowl KL Rahul and bring the venerable Yuvraj to the crease, who was strangled by a Stokes’ slower ball and trudged off at a mournful Delhi-traffic pace. MS Dhoni came, flashed and was gone, skying a catch to Willey at mid-on off Ball in a sudden velvety hush.

And so, with 288 runs still required, it came down to Kohli and Jadhav versus England. Kohli played dreamily, Jadhav with real belligerence, swiping England’s spinners around to stunning effect en route to a wonderful 65-ball hundred. Kohli eventually departed for an exhilarating 122 off 105 balls, skying a Stokes off-break slower ball that probably qualified as the best piece of English spin bowling all day. Jadhav swung Ball high into the stands over long-off and midwicket, and England’s bowlers had no answer as the pressure mounted, Ashwin winning the game with a final six.

More from The Guardian

image beaconimage beaconimage beacon