Rohit guides India to a facile win

Rohit Sharma’s sublime, unbeaten century saw India cruise to a eight-wicket win over England in the first ODI here on Thursday.

The chase of a target of 269 was a stroll in the park for India as the runs were knocked off in only 40.1 overs courtesy Rohit’s undefeated 137 off 114 balls. The opener’s 18th ODI hundred was beautifully complemented by skipper Virat Kohli (75, 82 balls). The duo added 177 runs in 25.1 overs for the second wicket to seal the issue.

Rohit, who 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.

India captain Virat Kohli is tempted to play his ‘key weapons’ Kuldeep Yadav and Yuzvendra Chahal in the upcoming five-Test series against England, considering the wrists spinners’ stellar performance in the ongoing limited overs leg of the tour.

While Kuldeep has already played two Tests, Chahal is yet to earn the coveted cap in the longest version of the game.

“Anything is possible with the selections for Tests and there might be a few surprises. Kuldeep is making a strong case for himself and so is Chahal. And looking at the way, the English batsmen have struggled against them, we might be tempted to do it,” said Kohli after India’s emphatic win in the opening ODI on Thursday.

“But the focus now is winning the next two games. Especially the next game, looking at it from the series perspective,” the skipper added.

As Kohli hinted, the wrist-spinners might get a go in the five-day format as well, starting with the England series.

“Those wrist spinners in the middle overs are going to be tricky. Given more overs and more time in the middle, they become even more lethal. Kuldeep was outstanding. To give away 25 runs and pick up six wickets on that kind of a wicket, I don’t think I have seen a better spell of bowling in ODIs of late.

“After that, Rohit batted very long and finished the game for us.”

England captain Eoin Morgan said his team will have to improve against Indian spinners if it has to bounce back in the series.

“I think Lord’s (second ODI) will be different as it won’t offer a great deal of turn. But certainly he (Kuldeep) extracted more turn than any other spinner ,” he said.

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