A familiar script unfolded at Trent Bridge as England slipped to an eight-loss in the first ODI of the three-match series on Thursday.
Kuldeep Yadav picked up 6 for 25 – the fourth-best figures by an Indian bowler in ODI cricket – to keep the hosts to a well below par score of 268 all out.
Once the bowlers did their job, it became all too routine for the chaser-supreme India captain and his in-form deputy. Rohit (137 not out) and Kohli (75) collaborated for a 167-run stand, after a brisk start, to ensure it was a smooth sail before India polished off the challenge in 41 overs.
The win, however, was set up by Kuldeep, who schooled England in their own backyard on one of the flattest track in the country. Make no mistake, it was a poor performance from the hosts. With the outfield laid to put a billiards table to shame, the boundaries short enough to give the bowlers nightmares and a flat pitch on offer, both teams arrived at the venue hoping for a run fest.
Kuldeep’s spell though raised some tough questions for Eoin Morgan and his batch of 2018 and their ability to play spin. There wasn’t a lot of turn, just a wee bit, but enough for England batsmen to lose the plot completely.
Liam Plunkett, Wood, Adil Rashid and Moeen Ali – all were put in place at various stages of the chase with India motoring along. As the visitors raced towards the target, it also became a bit about personal milestones.
Rohit got to his 18th ODI ton in the 31st over – off 82 deliveries – with a nonchalant six off Rashid. Kohli eventually fell – stumped trying to drive Rashid – with India 43 shy of the target but the wicket came at a time when it was far too late.
Watch Kuldeep 6 wickets against England
ENG 268 (49.5 ov) | Butler 56 | K Yadav 6/25
IND 269/2 (40 ov) | Rohit 137*, Kohli 75 | Adil 1/62
Result: India won by 8 wickets 1 of 1