England skipper Eoin Morgan has rued that his side allowed India to wriggle out of a difficult situation early in their run chase in the first ODI here but conceded that the visitors’ plans were punctured by a superlative innings from young Kedar Jadhav.
Jadhav played an aggressive innings of 76-ball 120 and, along with his skipper Virat Kohli (122 off 105 balls), helped India chased down a stiff target of 351 for a three-wicket win on Sunday night.
“What hurts the most is we had India at 60 (63) for 4. We were right in till the middle order, but went in to bowl at worst. Certainly we did not expect Jadhav to come out and play like that, credit to his 76-ball hundred. We take our hat off to him. He was striking it from ball one and gave us no chance,” said Morgan about the pint-sized Pune-born batsman Jadhav’s whirlwind knock.
Jadhav hit cleanly and notched up his hundred by striking 11 fours and two sixes before finishing with a brilliant 120 after joining forces with captain Kohli, who made a dazzling 122 in 105 balls, studded with five sixes and eight fours. At times, the local boy overshadowed his famous captain with the range of his shots and the duo’s 200-run partnership in 24.3 overs after India were down in the dumps lifted the hosts to 263 for 5.
Although both he and Kohli got out before finishing the job, Hardik Pandya (40 not out) and Ravichandran Ashwin (15 not out) guided India past the finish line.
Morgan, however, said that his side had done their homework on Jadhav before the game. “We’ve watched the footage of the international matches that he’s played in. We were not necessarily caught off guard. We did as much as we could homework-wise,” he explained.
On Kohli, who has been England’s scourge from the Test series onwards, Morgan said they had their plans for him but those did not work out. “There is always something we can do. All the plans went far off today and the balls went over head, maybe those two yards on another day, and that would have been out. And they would have been five down and you are right into them. He’s a fantastic player. He (Kohli) has proven that over a long period of time,” said Morgan, who was not a part of England team for the five-match Test series which India won 4-0.
England made 350 for 7 after being put into bat but Morgan said his side should have batted better than what they did, as the conditions were very good for batting. “Yes, our batting effort was good, but it still was not our best. When you score 350 you expect to play well. That summarises the conditions here, the pitch was really good and the boundaries were pretty small. If anything, today proves that chasing 350, even at 60 for 4, you are never out of the game.
“Creating those chances early on was a great effort. India came back at us hard, kept up with the rate and still kept coming. The wicket allowed them to do that. You don’t know what a good score at this ground. The ground is so small. All the feedback we have had from the games we have played here, particularly IPL, is that the wicket is inconsistent. It certainly wasn’t the case today. The wicket did get better as the game went on,” he added.
He also looked at the positive aspects for his side even in defeat. “There are some positives for us. We took four early wickets, which is tough in sub-continent. Taking early wickets is something we’ve always struggled to do in the past. David Willey has done well for us particularly at home, and from there you look at different options. From the batting point of view, we did not play brilliantly but still got ourselves 350.”