England skipper Eoin Morgan blamed a below-par batting performance as his side succumbed to a three-wicket defeat in their opening one-day clash against India in Pune.
The tourists’ total of 350-7, England’s record tally against India and their ninth highest of all time, proved insufficient as a Virat Kohli masterclass and destructive century from Kedar Jadhav proved decisive.
Kohli and Jadhav shared a 200-run stand as India completed the joint-fourth best run chase in history, winning with 11 deliveries to spare, which looked an unlikely prospect after they were reduced to 63-4.
Batsman Joe Root earlier top scored for England with 78, while opener Jason Roy hit 73 and all-rounder Ben Stokes a 40-ball 62 as England piled on 115 runs in the final 10 overs of their innings, although it was not enough for victory or Morgan.
“Our batting effort wasn’t our best – it summarised the conditions here where the pitch is good and the boundaries are small,” said Morgan. “You don’t know what a good score is.
“It hurts more because we had them 63-4. That’s what hurts the most. Even though Kohli was still in we were right into the middle order. Our plan was to get Kohli off strike and we certainly didn’t expect Jadhav to play like that.
“We bowled brilliantly early on but our hope is that as our bowlers become more experienced they can come up with good enough skills.”
India captain Kohli, meanwhile, whose 17th second-innings hundred equalled the record of the great Sachin Tendulkar, only in 136 fewer knocks, admitted that he felt England would wobble as India turned up the heat in their run chase.
“The moment he came to the crease, Jadhav started hitting the ball really well,” said Kohli, who top scored for India with 122. “I said, ‘if we get to 150 here, they will press the panic button – watch’.”
England surged into the ascendency early in India’s reply as Yorkshire’s David Willey removed India openers Shikhar Dhawan and KL Rahul in quick succession and Yuvraj Singh and MS Dhoni also fell cheaply.
But they ultimately had no answer to expert chaser Kohli and Jadhav, who scorched a 65-ball ton on his home ground and finished with 120, as India secured a 1-0 lead in the three-match showdown. The next one-day tussle takes place in Cuttack on Thursday.