Virat Kohli ‘s magnificent 122 and Kedar Jadhav’s 120 was the cornerstone in India chasing down 350 against England in Pune. Their 200-run partnershiplaid a solid platform for India to chase down 350 for the third time in three years in an ODI in India. With this three-wicket win, India have taken a 1-0 lead in the series..
Kohli extended the imperious form that saw him reign in all formats in 2016 to score his 27th ODI hundred and he was ably supported by Jadhav, 31 years old and playing his 13th ODI, during a partnership of exactly 200 that set up India to achieve their joint second-highest successful chase. Victory was completed with 11 balls to spare as Hardik Pandya followed up his two wickets with a cool-headed and inventive 40 not out to guide India home.
Kohli was visibly anguished to be dismissed with 88 still needed and Jadhav, struggling with cramp, fell shortly after to give England hope of pulling the match back. In the end, defending the short boundaries was too difficult a task, with only Jake Ball – who took 3 for 67 – and Chris Woakes going at fewer than India’s required rate of seven an over.
Half-centuries of varying tempo from Jason Roy, Joe Root and Ben Stokes took England to what seemed a formidable total – the seventh time they had touched 350 since the 2015 World Cup – but, crucially, none of their early successes with the ball included Kohli. Stokes finally induced an error after Kohli and Jadhav had raised the double-century stand – India’s second-highest for any wicket in ODIs – and Jadhav was then reduced to standing and swinging as cramp prevented him from running.
Stokes, with the fastest fifty by an Englishman against India, had provided the high-velocity finish England needed to set a challenging target. Their innings had threatened to subside after the dismissal of Root for 78 but Stokes hit the pedal in response, going from 14 off 19 to a 33-ball fifty in a starburst of sixes, as 105 runs flowed from the last eight overs to give England their highest ODI total in India – surpassing the 338 made in Bangalore at the 2011 World Cup (which also wasn’t good enough for victory). Only twice had India chased as many, during their 2013-14 series with Australia.
Kohli, in his first match since succeeding MS Dhoni as ODI captain, may have been frustrated with his bowlers at halfway but he set about making up for it himself. He wanted to bat second and showed his relish for the chase, cracking his fourth ball into the stands and taking every opportunity to put pressure on England as the bowlers sought wickets. Five sixes rained from his bat in all, along with numerous more subtle dissections.