Jadhav, Kohli star in expert chase as India takes 1-0 lead

Kedar Jadhav and Virat Kohli scored centuries to help India chase an uphill target of 351 against England for a three-wicket win in Pune.

KedarJadhav

Kedar Jadhav hit 12 fours and four sixes in his 76-ball knock.   -  K. R. Deepak

Not often does Virat Kohli fails to see the team home after scoring a hundred in a chase. Not often does a Kohli hundred in a chase get overshadowed as well. Kedar Jadhav’s 65-ball hundred on his home ground did manage to put Kohli’s exceptional effort in the backdrop.

The cherry on the cake for the 37,500 spectators who thronged the Maharashtra Cricket Association stadium was the fact that the lower order ensured India crossed the stiff target of 351 without much of a snag to take the lead in the three-match ODI series against England.

> Scorecard and ball-by-ball details

When the diminutive Jadhav joined his India and Royal Challengers Bangalore captain Virat Kohli in the middle, India was in doldrums. Even getting close to England’s total of 350 for seven, its highest-ever in ODIs against India, looked difficult. When Mahendra Singh Dhoni consciously walked down the wicket to Jake Ball to top-edge a pull to David Willey at mid-wicket, India was reduced to 63 for four in the 11th over. Willey had earlier bowled the ball of the day that snuck through the gate of K.L. Rahul and uprooted the middle-stump.

Kedar Jadhav's innings (wagon wheel):

 

Kohli was looking in as good a nick as he has always been at the crease but he needed to build a partnership to keep India in the game. Not only did Jadhav give Kohli the much-needed support, but he also took the pressure off his captain by hitting boundaries at will.

Ever since he pulled Ben Stokes from outside the off-stump to mid-wicket fence off the second ball he faced, Jadhav looked to be in good nick. In Stokes’ next, he first nudged him to third-man fence before flicking the next ball wide of a diving Adil Rashid at mid-on.

> Read: Kohli impressed by Jadhav's "calculative" innings

That prompted Eoin Morgan to introduce spin but Jadhav whisked a flipper in his first over to the square-leg fence before sending one over the long-on fence in the leggie’s next over.

Kohli, meanwhile, had raced to his first fifty against England in 10 innings and was set to pace the chase to precision. The duo continued to keep the scoreboard flowing and got a boundary virtually every over, thus not letting the required rate ever climb above eight.

Stroke of the day

When Kohli was staring at his 27th hundred, Jadhav played the stroke of the day – an inside out lofted drive off a perfect leg-break by Rashid that sailed over the boundary rope. Even when Jadhav joined Kohli in the club of centurions with a late cut to third-man fence and registered India’s fifth-fastest hundred, India required 90 runs off 14 overs to overhaul the target.

With Jadhav starting to cramp, Kohli decided to up the ante but failed to read a Ben Stokes slower ball in the next over to top-edge an attempted pull to Willey at covers. In the next over, Jadhav’s discomfort raised, so he opted to go aerial and cleared the boundary off Ball twice in an over. However, he eventually holed out in the deep in Ball’s next over to leave the tail with 60 runs to get.

Hardik Pandya then kept a cool head in the company of Ravindra Jadeja and R. Ashwin to ensure India registered a famous win.

The target wouldn’t have been so stiff, though, had India’s death bowling allowed Stokes and Moeen Ali to turn the tide in its team’s favour towards the end of its innings. With all the India bowlers misfiring, England plundered 105 runs off the last eight overs to set India a gargantuan total to chase.

In the end, even that wasn’t enough for the visitor.