Kuldeep Yadav bamboozled England batsmen with a mesmerizing spell before Rohit Sharma’s sublime century saw India cruise to a eight-wicket victory in the first ODI in Nottingham on Thursday.
Kuldeep’s career-best figures of 6 for 25 allowed England to only score a modest 268 on good batting conditions.
The chase was a stroll in the park for as the runs were knocked off in only 40.1 overs courtesy Rohit’s (137 no off 114 balls). It was the opener’s 18th ODI hundred, which was beautifully complemented by skipper Virat Kohli (75, 82 balls) as he struck his first 50 plus score of the tour. The Kohli-Rohit duo added 177 runs in 25.1 overs to seal the issue.
Once Kohli opted to field, the English script unfolded very much on similar lines with the T20 series, where things went downhill as soon as Kuldeep was introduced into the attack.
None of the England batsmen were able to read him and a testimony to that was his brilliant figures of 10-0-25-6, the best ever by a left-arm wrist-spinner in the history of ODIs.
He bowled an astounding 38 dot balls and not once was he hit for a boundary. This was Kuldeep’s first five-for in ODIs after he had recently achieved the same feat in T20Is during the Manchester encounter.
The manner in which Kuldeep set up the match, there was no scoreboard pressure on the Indian batting line-up unlike the last ODI series, where England trampled Australia under a mountain of runs.
Rohit, who always takes time to get off the blocks and then accelerate, hit 15 fours and four sixes. He completed his century with an effortless hit down the ground off leg-spinner Adil Rashid. As if to celebrate the hundred, he also hit a one-handed six off Moeen Ali.
Kohli on his part hit eight boundaries and was ready to play the second fiddle during his 47th half century in ODI cricket.
Earlier, Jos Buttler (53 off 51 balls) looked the most comfortable while Ben Stokes (50 off 103 balls) played a painstaking knock as Kuldeep blew away the top order after a good start. Together, they added 83 for the fifth wicket showing signs of recovery but he dismissed the two set batsmen in quick succession to bring about the home team’s downfall.
Moeen Ali (24) and Adil Rashid (22) added a few quick runs to help England cross the 250-run mark before they were all out in the final over with a delivery left.
That Kuldeep was singularly responsible for England’s batting collapse was evident more so because the next best figures were 2 for 70 in 9.5 overs by Umesh Yadav.