Pune: Skipper Virat Kohli smashed a majestic 122 while Kedar Jadhav conjured up a career-best 120 before India's lower middle-order held nerves to pull off an incredible three-wicket win over England in the first One-day International, in Pune on Sunday.
Kohli and Jadhav rattled up a sensational 200-run partnership for the fifth wicket to set up the platform after England set the hosts a stiff 351-run target.
Chips were down for India after losing four wickets for just 63 runs but Kohli and Jadhav scripted a comeback with their gritty batting as Mahendra Singh Dhoni (6) and Yuvraj Singh (15) could not contribute much in the chase.
India required 60 runs from the last 10 overs after the fall of both Kohli and Jadhav but Hardik Pandya ensured that their good work does not go waste with his responsible unbeaten 40-run innings.
Pandya saw Ravindra Jadeja losing his wicket in the 45th over but the young all-rounder kept his cool to steer India to the finish line. He hit a six off Adil Rashid to level the scores and R Ashwin finished it in style, hammering Moeen Ali into the stands in the first ball of the 49th over.
India have taken a 1-0 lead in the three-match series with the next match scheduled in Cuttack on 19 January.
England had feasted on a listless Indian bowling to pile up 350 for seven, their highest total in ODIs against India with Joe Root (78), opener Jason Roy (73) and Ben Stokes (62) striking half-centuries.
The score bettered the 338 for eight made by England in the tied encounter of the 2011 World Cup in Bengaluru but today's effort proved insufficient.
It was a new chapter for India with Kohli leading the side after being declared leader of the team in all three formats but the hosts had forgettable first 60 overs as they conceded 350 runs and lost quick wickets.
KL Rahul (8), Shikhar Dhawan (1) and comeback-man Yuvraj were back in the pavillion and soon Dhoni joined them to leave India reeling at 63 for four.
From here Kohli and Jadhav not only restructured the innings, they put India within the touching distance of win. Kohli's 122 came off just 105 balls with eight shots the fence and five over the ropes. It was Indian captain's 27th ODI hundred.
Jadhav, who was cramping heavily in the later part of his innings, completed his hundred in 65 balls, which was fifth fastest hundred by an Indian. Overall he took 76 balls for 120 which had 12 fours and four sixes.
India lost Jadeja in the 45th over but there was no more drama with Pandya staying till the end. His 40 came off 37 with three fours and six.
Earlier, England paced their innings well with Roy being the early aggressor with a 61-ball 73, inclusive of 12 fours, that was built upon by Root, who stroked his way to 78 in 95 balls.
Captain Eoin Morgan (28) and Jos Buttler (31) got the starts without converting them into a bigger score at the Maharashtra Cricket Association Stadium in Gahunje.
Left-handed Stokes used his bat like a sledgehammer to smack five sixes and two fours on his way to 62 off just 40 balls after reaching 50 in 33 balls.
The last 10 overs of the innings brought England 115 runs, including 65 in the final five to leave India to score at an asking rate of 7.02 to win the game and go 1-0 up in the three-match rubber.
For India, Hardik Pandya (2/46) and Jasprit Bumrah – who was taken for 79 runs - finished with two wickets each. The most impressive bowler was left-arm spinner Ravindra Jadeja, who not only applied the skids on England early on but also emerged with economic figures of 1 for 50.
Jadeja's Test spin twin Ravichandran Ashwin was unimpressive and gave away 63 runs in eight overs without a wicket to his name.
Speedster Umesh Yadav was slammed for 63 runs runs in seven overs for a lone wicket late in the innings.
England began on a brisk note against the Indian medium pace attack with openers Roy and Alex Hales looking comfortable.
Decision Review System (DRS), being used in a 50-over bilateral series in India, was called upon as early as the third over of the game when Roy was given out caught behind off Yadav and got a reprieve through technology.
The in-form aggressive opener thrived on the early escape as he drove the medium pacers when they overpitched.
Just when it seemed that he and Hales would complete yet another half century stand a direct hit from Bumrah in the deep to the non-striker's end caught the latter out of the crease while responding to Roy's call for a couple of runs to arrest the stand at 39 in over No 7.
Root, who did not play the tourists' two warm-up games prior to the start of the series, joined Roy. At the end of the 10-over power play England had advanced to 67, by which time Roy had raced to his fifty in just 36 balls, laced with ten fours.
With the pacemen proving ineffective, skipper Kohli turned to spin and brought on Jadeja who immediately slowed down the run-flow.
After the 13th over Ashwin was brought on from the other end and should have had Roy, on 71, dropped off a top-edged reverse-sweep by Yadav at third man.
Luckily for India the drop did not prove too expensive as Jadeja got the batsman stumped by Dhoni in the next over to snap the second-wicket stand after the addition of 69 runs at 108.
Captain Eoin Morgan joined Root and stared off well with a slog-swept six off Ashwin, but was beaten by DRS after being declared not out by the on-field umpire to an appeal for a catch at the wicket off Pandya.
On the umpire giving the batsman not out, Dhoni indicated that the DRS call should be taken and it proved to be a correct call as the decision was overturned and the visitors' skipper sent back for 28.
But the overall ineffectiveness of the Indian attack became evident on a perfect batting strip as England, 157 for 3 after the 27th over, went along merrily with Root and Jos Buttler batting without any trouble.
Jadeja, who was the best bowler on view after a first spell of 5 overs for 19 runs and the wicket of Roy, could not break the fourth wicket stand and Root completed his 50 in 73 balls.
Both batsmen helped themselves to a six each off Jadeja and after 30 overs England were comfortably placed at 171 for 3. Pandya got the breakthrough with a string of short-pitched balls one of which was driven straight and high to mid-off fielder Shikhar Dhawan by Buttler to leave England on 220 for 4 after the 38th over.
When the slog overs began, the score had advanced to 235 for four with Root well-entrenched on 76 and poised for a final assault on the bowlers. But his hopes were dashed by Bumrah who deceived him with a slower ball and had him caught at long-on by Pandya.
It left Stokes to give the final push to the innings with a succession of boundary hits, one of his huge sixes over long on off Bumrah helping him complete his half century in just 33 balls, the fastest ever by an Englishman against India.
India were lucky to see the back of him in the first ball of the 48th over when he was caught at deep mid-wicket while going for another big hit off Bumrah with England on 317.
But Moeen Ali, who made 28 in 17 balls, Chris Woakes and David Willey ensured that the score reached 350.
Published Date: Jan 15, 2017 22:28 PM | Updated Date: Jan 15, 2017 22:44 PM