Kohli happy with openers' form

Rohit Sharma had not played international cricket since October and Shikhar Dhawan had not played an ODI for a full year when he was called up for the England series in January. It delighted Virat Kohli that their partnership against Pakistan had been fruitful.

Rohit Sharma (left) and Shikhar Dhawan put on a century stand to get India off to a great start against Pakistan.   -  AP

Virat Kohli was on 44 off 56 balls at one point during his innings at Edgbaston on Sunday before bludgeoning 37 off the next 12. The levee broke with an extraordinary shot, a short ball pulled off the front foot over the long-on boundary. That was the start of a period of remarkable acceleration from India, which hammered 72 runs off the last four overs.

“Till 40 I was easing into the game,” Kohli said later. “After that, seeing how shortened the game was, Yuvi (Yuvraj Singh) and I decided that we were going to take it on. He started striking it really well. I couldn't get it away. We went off about four times (for the rain) and came back in. That made it difficult. When Yuvi came in, we didn't go back out again. He started striking from ball one. That took pressure off me. Maybe I should have given him the strike. Playing correct shots I was trying too many things at that stage. But when he got out, I decided to stay still and just back the strokes that I have and a few connected.”

India left out Mohammed Shami and Ravichandran Ashwin, a decision that Kohli had pondered over for a long time. “We had named 12 yesterday (Friday), and then we decided in the morning that the surface was hard enough for the bowlers to keep hitting good, hard lengths and use the bouncer every over. And we decided to play an extra seamer against Pakistan, purely because that becomes a wicket-taking option. Precisely only because of the opposition, we went with that combination.”

Rohit Sharma had not played international cricket since October and Shikhar Dhawan had not played an ODI for a full year when he was called up for the England series in January. It delighted Kohli that their partnership had been fruitful.

“The way Shikhar batted was really good to see,” Kohli said. “Rohit was taking a bit of time because, understandably so, he's come back after so long to international cricket. IPL is very different from scoring international runs, against a quality bowling attack as well. It's a great thing that he took his time, played a long innings. Both of them starting well was the main factor for us last time (2013 Champions Trophy) as well.”

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