Kohli shines brightest in India romp
Virat Kohli compiled an attractive century and shared an unbroken partnership of 209 with Gautam Gambhir as India moved 2-0 ahead in the five-match one-day series against England with a comprehensive eight-wicket win in Delhi.
Set 238 for victory in this day/night fixture at the Feroz Shah Kotla, Mahendra Singh Dhoni’s side had few problems in following up Friday’s 126-run success in Hyderabad with another hugely convincing triumph.
Kohli, who finished unbeaten on 112 from 98 deliveries, was the undoubted star of the show as he reached three figures for the seventh time in ODIs, although Gambhir hardly suffered in comparison en route to 84 not out from 90 balls.
England had earlier been hampered by the frequent loss of wickets in clutches, including both openers for ducks inside the first two overs, as they were dismissed in 48.2 overs after winning the toss.
Numbers three to seven all passed 30 and there were stands of 73 and 86 for the fourth and sixth wickets respectively, yet no-one could make it to 50.
Vinay Kumar was the pick of India’s attack with 4-30 from nine overs on a surface providing more assistance to the bowlers than many had anticipated, particularly in terms of pace and bounce.
England made a bright start with the ball and appeared likely to take advantage of the conditions when Tim Bresnan removed Parthiv Patel and Ajinkya Rahane for 12 and 14 respectively.
However, an air of inevitability surrounded India’s pursuit once Gambhir - who backed away and was bowled by Bresnan early in his innings, only for umpire Shavir Tarapore to signal dead ball - and Kohli settled in.
After surviving a handful of early scares, the duo exhibited their class in keeping India well ahead of the required rate.
Gambhir was typically strong through the off side, while the elegant Kohli, who played a succession of immaculate cover-drives, combined numerous clips and deflections to leg with boundaries all around the wicket.
Parthiv was dropped by a diving Graeme Swann in the third over of India’s innings, but fell in Bresnan’s next set of six when he chipped tamely to mid-on, where a back-pedalling Alastair Cook held on above his head.
A moment of controversy followed three deliveries later when Gambhir backed away at the last second and was bowled middle stump, only for umpire Tarapore to call dead ball.
Bresnan did not have to wait long for a second wicket, however. After top-edging a pull behind square for six, Rahane looked to repeat the trick next ball and succeeded only in picking out Jade Dernbach at fine-leg.
Steven Finn was unfortunate not to gain reward at the other end following a hostile opening spell in which he frequently troubled the batsmen.
Both Gambhir and Kohli enjoyed moments of fortune, but England’s failure to claim another wicket was to prove costly as the pair gradually grew in stature.
Kohli was the more aggressive, reaching 50 from just 45 deliveries and punishing a number of over-pitched deliveries in dismissive fashion.
Gambhir took 62 balls to bring up his own half-century, but, while the left-hander’s contribution may not have been as eye-catching as his partner's, it was just as valuable.
An increasingly assured Kohli continued to delight his home crowd as the third-wicket pair moved beyond India’s previous record third-wicket stand against England in ODIs - an alliance of 175 between Navjot Singh Sidhu and Mohammad Azharuddin at Gwalior in 1993.
After easing Dernbach through the covers for his 14th four, the 23-year-old moved to three figures in the 35th over and it wasn’t long before he was clipping the same bowler to the deep midwicket boundary to bring a one-sided match to an end with 13.2 overs to spare.
Looking to bounce back from their defeat in the series opener, England could hardly have made a worse start today.
Cook cut the fourth delivery of the match, from Praveen Kumar, straight to Ravindra Jadeja at backward point and Craig Kieswetter departed to a loose shot outside off stump for the second game in succession as he nicked an outswinger from Vinay through to Kohli at wide slip.
Jonathan Trott, driving gracefully and showing a willingness to play on the up, took advantage of a fast outfield with a succession of sweetly-timed fours before being caught behind for 34 off the impressive Vinay, who maintained a consistent line and length throughout.
Kevin Pietersen and Ravi Bopara responded well to a position of peril and shared 73 for the fourth wicket, the former taking England past 100 with the first of two effortless straight sixes off Jadeja.
Yet another shift in momentum duly followed as the fourth-wicket pair fell in quick succession with the score on 121.
Bopara was trapped in front by Ravichandran Ashwin for 36 as he played outside the line of an off-break bowled from around the wicket.
Three balls later, Pietersen, on 46, aimed an expansive drive at a full ball from Umesh Yadav and was superbly caught behind by Dhoni, diving to his right.
England needed another partnership and were relieved to see Jonny Bairstow and Samit Patel combine effectively in an alliance of 86.
They understandably eschewed risk at the start of their innings, but balanced necessary caution with a series of confident attacking strokes to collect 35 from the batting powerplay, which came into force in the 36th over.
Patel struck two maximums off the spinners, over long-on and midwicket, and appeared on course for a significant score before he was lbw, for 42, to a back-of-a-length delivery from the athletic - and at times erratic - Yadav that kept low.
In the next over, Bairstow, who had exhibited maturity en route to 35, looked to hit Jadeja over the top and was unable to clear a leaping Kohli at long-off.
The returning Vinay enjoyed further success in the 46th over, bowling Swann before having Bresnan caught at mid-off, and England’s innings came to a dismal end when a mix-up between Dernbach and Finn resulted in the former being run out.