Debutants Krunal Pandya and Prasidh Krishna made the big stage their own with record-breaking performances to give India a convincing 66-run victory over world champions England in the first ODI of the three-match series in Pune on Tuesday.
After under-fire opener Shikhar Dhawan delivered with a solid 98, Krunal (58 not out off 31) smashed the fastest 50 by a debutant to fire India to 317 for five following England’s decision to field.
At 135 for no loss in the 15th over, with Jason Roy (46 off 35) and Jonny Bairstow (94 off 55) going strong, England seemed to be running away with the chase before Krishna (4/54) and Shardul Thakur (3/37) shared seven wickets between them to script a winning comeback.
The 25-year-old Krishna’s figures were the best by an Indian debutant as England’s innings ended at 251 in 42.1 overs.
“It didn’t start off well, and they came hard at us because we bowled poorly, but we had the belief,” said the Karnataka bowler, who had drawn high praise from skipper Virat Kohli long before making the squad.
Considering the nature of the surface, it was a commendable effort from the Indian bowlers, who carried on from the T20 series to defend gettable targets with remarkable ease. Krishna, who leaked 37 runs in his first three overs, came back strongly and troubled the batsmen with his ability to generate extra bounce.
Thakur again provided the breakthroughs when the team needed and senior pro Bhuvneshwar Kumar, too, chipped in with a couple of wickets towards the end.
England had the game in the bag but were guilty of throwing it away, failing to build on the flier of a start given by Bairstow and Roy.
Earlier, Dhawan and Virat Kohli (56 off 60) shared a 105-run stand for the second wicket before Krunal (58 not out off 31) and K L Rahul (62 not out off 43) sent England on a leather hunt with their unbeaten 112-run stand off 57 balls to take the team past 300.
Dhawan hammered 11 fours and two sixes in his 106-ball knock, while Krunal plundered seven fours and two maximums in his entertaining innings. Rahul also got welcome runs after a lean run in the T20 series.
Put into bat here, Rohit Sharma (28 off 42) and Dhawan shared 64 runs for the opening wicket. Dhawan hammered two successive fours, a square-cut and a drive, in the seventh over, while Rohit struck two successive boundaries in the ninth over. Dhawan, who lost his place in the playing eleven for T20s after a wretched run of form, got a life when he hooked over fine-leg to get his fourth boundary.
India were placed at 64/0 after 15 overs. However, Rohit soon perished, giving an outside edge to wicket-keeper Jos Buttler off Stokes. Skipper Kohli joined Dhawan and the two rallied the innings. Kohli got his first boundary, a cover drive, on the 17th ball and was in his elements as he relied on drives and pulls.
Dhawan brought up his 50 with a maximum, a slog-sweep, off 68 balls, in the 24th over, and then changed gears. He got another life after Moeen Ali dropped a sitter at deep-mid-wicket off Adil Rashid. Kohli and Dhawan took on Ali, and the 29th over fetched India 15 runs. Kohli, who raced to his 61st ODI fifty in 50 balls, was dismissed caught in the deep off pacer Mark Wood (2/75).
India lost their way in the middle overs before Krunal and Rahul went on the offensive.
Dhawan pulled one straight to Eoin Morgan at mid-wicket to miss out on a hundred. There were a lot of injuries in the field with Shreyas Iyer, Sam Billings and Eoin Morgan going down. Both Billings and Morgan returned to bat but Shreyas could not take the field after dislocating his left shoulder, which also puts him in doubt for the IPL starting next month.