NOTTINGHAM: Kuldeep Yadav took six wickets as India overpowered England in the first one-day international at Trent Bridge on Thursday.
The left-arm wrist-spinner returned career-best ODI figures of six for 25 as England were dismissed for a mere 268 after India captain Virat Kohli sent them in to bat.
Rohit Sharma, to the delight of the many India fans in a sun-drenched capacity crowd of over 17,000, then made an unbeaten century as the tourists won by eight wickets with a mammoth 59 balls to spare.
Sharma was 137 not out, after putting on 167 for the second wicket with Kohli (75) as India went 1-0 up in a three-match series.
It was all a far cry from the June 19 ODI at Trent Bridge where England compiled a men´s ODI record total of 481 for six in a 242-run win over Australia during a 5-0 series rout of their arch-rivals.
After Kuldeep had dismissed England´s top three during a burst of three wickets for five runs in 10 balls, Ben Stokes (50) and Jos Buttler (53) shared a fifth-wicket stand of 93.
But neither could break the shackles and both fell to Kuldeep, who was just the third overseas spinner to take five wickets in an ODI in England after Sri Lanka great Muttiah Muralitharan (five for 34 at Lord´s in 1998) and India´s Suraj Randiv (five for 42 at Old Trafford in 2011).
“It´s a big day for me,” Kuldeep, whose return was also the best by any spinner against England in ODI cricket, told Sky Sports.
“I started pretty well in the first two overs and luckily I got a couple (of wickets), which really changed the momentum for us.”
Meanwhile Kohli accepted there was a chance both Kuldeep and leg-spinner Yuzvendra Chahal could force their way into India´s squad for the five-Test campaign in England that follows this series.
“He is making a strong start for himself, as his Chahal; both of them are pretty lethal for us and looking at the English batsmen struggling against them we might be tempted to do that,” said Kohli.
Having struggled against Kuldeep in a preceding 2-1 Twenty20 loss, England captain Eoin Morgan said his side had to improve their playing of spin ahead of Saturday´s second ODI at Lord´s.
“Full credit to India — they completely outplayed us,” said Morgan. “Kuldeep had a pretty good day at the office. Playing spin against India is a challenge we will hopefully improve on but today we were off the mark.”
England, in the absence of the injured Alex Hales, saw openers Jason Roy and Jonny Bairstow put on a brisk 73.
But the introduction of Kuldeep for the 11th over changed the course of the match and it took him just two balls to strike.
Roy (38), attempting an ambitious reverse sweep, gave a dolly catch to Umesh Yadav.
Test captain Joe Root, in the team after being left out of the side that lost the third T20, then played back to Kuldeep and was plumb lbw for three.
Bairstow, who would have been lbw for a duck in the first over had India reviewed an lbw appeal from Umesh, made an attractive 38 before he was lbw to Kuldeep — on review.
Morgan (19) then carelessly chipped Chahal to midwicket.
Stokes and Buttler staunched the flow of wickets, with Buttler first to his fifty, off 45 balls.
But with England hoping he would cut loose, Buttler´s glance off Kuldeep was well caught down the legside by wicket-keeper MS Dhoni.
The normally hard-hitting Stokes then completed a fifty off a sedate 102 balls, including just two fours.
But one ball after reaching his fifty, the left-hander tried to reverse sweep Kuldeep only for debutant Siddarth Kaul to hold an excellent catch.
Kuldeep, who did not concede a boundary in his maximum 10 overs, struck again with his final delivery when David Willey holed out to KL Rahul.
Sharma, dropped on 92 by a diving Roy at backward point off fast bowler Liam Plunkett, completed an 82-ball hundred — his 18th at this level — when he drove Rashid for six.
Kohli, surprisingly, didn´t reach three figures too and was instead stumped by Buttler off Rashid.