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The Virat-Kedar show: Counterattacking that blew England away

January 16, 2017 11:44 IST

'It's one of the best partnerships I have been part of. We have chased 350 before but not from 63/4'

India's captain Virat Kohli (right) and his teammate Kedar Jadhav steal a run during the first ODI against England in Pune on Sunday 

IMAGE: India's captain Virat Kohli (right) and his teammate Kedar Jadhav steal a run during the first ODI against England in Pune on Sunday. Photograph: Danish Siddiqui/Reuters

India captain Virat Kohli heaped praise on his young team-mate Kedar Jadhav for his "outstanding" 76-ball 120 in the first ODI against England.

Kohli (122 off 105 balls) and Jadhav, whose 120 was his career-best, smashed superlative hundreds to help India chase down the stiff target of 351 to log a three-wicket win in the first of the three-match ODI series in Pune on Sunday.

"One word for it is outstanding. He (Jadhav) put a lot of pressure into the spinners. It was one of the best calculative innings I have seen, 150 strike rate was outstanding. Some of the shots he played, he told it was instinctive. I could not believe," Kohli said at the post-match press conference on Sunday.

Kohli and Jadhav conjured up a sensational 200-run partnership for the fifth wicket to set up the platform for the win. Jadhav struck 12 fours and four sixes in his aggressive innings of over 150 strike rate.

"Just to have another guy who is willing to do from any situation, to keep pushing, knew how exactly to bat on this pitch which was even better to bat on in the second innings. His shots were all clean, not slogs, and that's way to bat at number 6. Was glad I was out there with him," gushed Kohli.

Kedar Jadhav hits out during the first ODI in Pune

IMAGE: India's Kedar Jadhav plays a shot en route his match-winning century. Photograph: Danish Siddiqui/Reuters

Asked how he and Jadhav tackled what looked like a hopeless situation with four top batsmen back in the hut for a mere 63 runs in the 12th over, Kohli said they decided to counter-punch their way.

"We spoke about how to tackle that situation and decided it the best way was counterattack. No wickets had been lost to good balls, we committed errors and the wicket was better to bat in the second innings. The ball travels very, very far. We could hit sixes to put pressure on the opposition. It's one of the best partnerships I have been part of. We have chased 350 before but not from 63/4," said the captain.

"We believed in the Test series we could win from any situation. This was the same," he added.

Kohli admitted that he was left amazed at some of the shots he had played.

"I can recall many moments when I felt I did not do this, don't know how it got executed. If you are focused on the goal, the target you want to achieve, and you are looking at the team's interest all the time, you end up playing shots you don't believe you are capable of achieving. Once you got the momentum you can pull off shots which you won't believe. It's just one of those things with all international batsmen."

Virat Kohli

IMAGE: Virat Kohli says 'happy with the way the team responded under pressure'. Photograph: PTI

He said the amazing victory, only the third time India had chased down 350-plus successfully, will have a huge bearing in the rest of the series and for the upcoming Champions Trophy in England where they go in as the defending champions.

"We don't have time. The way the whole team responded under pressure, builds the confidence for the next game, then next game and on to England," he said.

Kohli said the team had options in the middle order with another talented player Manish Pandey in it.

"Manish has batted at 4 or 5, Kedar at 6. Manish is (also) part of our scheme of things. It's difficult to find people with that kind of talent, both Manish and Kedar are talented. Both are good enough to play at 4-5-6.

"We have to figure out the best combination in the team. You cannot go with all youth. It is the balance you have to maintain and give youngsters chance when it is time," he concluded.

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