Kohli’s ton, double century stand with Gambhir see India victorious

October 18th, 2011 - 12:16 am ICT by IANS  

Gautam Gambhir New Delhi, Oct 17 (IANS) Riding on a stroke-filled Virat Kohli century and his unbroken double-century third-wicket partnership with Gautam Gambhir, India coasted to an emphatic eight-wicket victory against England to take a 2-0 lead in the five-match ODI series here Monday.

Kohli remained unbeaten on 112, his seventh ODI century and second in three innings against England, while his Delhi teammate Gambhir was content to remain unbeaten with 84 as India overhauled the 238-run target in 36.4 overs.

It was a comprehensive victory for the Indians. Astonishingly, their medium-pacers claimed seven wickets, with Vinay Kumar finishing with career-best four for 30 to bowl out the visitors for 237 in 48.2 overs.

Gambhir and Kohli then shut the Englishmen out with their 209-run stand, the best for the third wicket at the Kotla, surpassing the 175 between Sachin Tendulkar and Mohammad Azharuddin against Sri Lanka in 1996.

India’s start was ominous, losing openers Parthiv Patel (12) and Ajinkya Rahane (14) inside seven overs. Patel showed promise with his superb timing, with crisply struck boundaries off Steve Finn and Tim Bresnan, but failed to capitalise on the life he got when a diving Graeme Swann failed to hold onto his edge off Bresnan. Patel departed soon, chipping to mid-on captain Alstair Cook who took a good overhead catch off Bresnan.

Rahane’s cracking start was too good to last. He whipped Bresnan from the middle stump to the square-leg boundary and two balls later top-edged the burly fast bowler for a six over long-leg. But Bresnan had his revenge: another bouncer and the Mumbai youngster hooked straight to Jade Dernbach at long-leg.

Gambhir and Kohli made the most of the cracking start and they knew how to pace their innings on the slow Kotla track.

Gambhir had a nervous start, but grew in confidence as the innings progressed. Cook attacked Gambhir with fast bowler Steve Finn and three slips. But the left-hander hit Finn for three fours, two being fortuitous edges. He was stranded ten short of his hundred off 90 balls and 10 boundaries.

At the other end, Kohli was full of beans, right from the start and his impeccable timing made his strokes delightful. He stood tall while pulling and drove with ease. He achieved his hundred in style, driving Dernbach through the covers for a four as he moved to 99 and tucked the next delivery to the onside for a single. His first century at home came off just 89 balls.

Deservingly the winning runs also came off Kohli’s bat, a four that raced to the deep mid-wicket boundary.

Earlier, Kevin Pietersen (46) and Jonathan Trott (34) helped England recover from a disastrous start after the Indian pacers removed openers Craig Kieswetter and Alastair Cook in successive overs without any score on the board.

Pietersen was also involved in a crucial 73-run stand for the fourth-wicket with Ravi Bopara (36) to bring stability to the innings. Jonny Bairstow (35) and Samit Patel (42) then added 86 runs for the sixth wicket that took England towards a respectable total.

The England batsmen failed to get the measure of the track and despite getting starts, none of them could carry on to big scores.

Deciding to bat first, England soon found themselves on the back foot as India’s opening bowlers Praveen and Vinay Kumar extracted swung the new ball menacingly to rattle the Englishmen.

Praveen got some extravagant swing to tempt Cook to cut the fourth ball of the innings to Jadeja at point. Cook couldn’t believe the poor shot and threw his hand up in despair. Vinay Kumar in the next over found Kieswetter’s edge that landed safely in Kohli’s hands.

Trott and Pietersen didn’t take any chances, relying on the singles and hitting the odd boundary in their 48-run stand for the third wicket.

Pietersen and Bopara were watchful in their approach as England managed just 27 runs from the five overs of fielding restrictions. No sooner the restrictions were over, Pietersen launched himself into Ravindra Jadeja hitting the left-arm spinner for two straight sixes.

The former England captain, however, suffered a tame dismissal after he feathered a teaser off Yadav to Dhoni behind the wickets. Pietersen checked with Dhoni if he had caught it cleanly before departing. Bopara was trapped leg-before by Ashwin and towards the end of the innings, Sumit Patel and Jonny Bairstow made sure their side something to bowling at, though that proved woefully inadequate.

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