Virat Kohli hits ton in India loss
Virat Kohli's 107 off 93 balls, Rahul Dravid's 69 off 79 and MS Dhoni's 50* off 26 helped India post 304/6 in the fifth and final ODI of the England tour at Cardiff, Wales. England made 241/4 in 32.2 overs to win the match by 6 wickets under the Duckworth Lewis method, winning the ODI series 3-0.
Kohli had dazzled in India's wins in the warm up matches before the limited overs internationals, scoring two 50s but hadn't been successful in the lone T20 or the first 4 ODIs. His poor results had been magnified by India's inability to win any of the close matches and that is what made Kohli's innings even more important.
Parthiv Patel and Rahane had put on 52 in 12 overs for the first wicket but Eng struck back to reduce India to 57/2 by the 16th over. Kohli walked in to join former Royal Challenger captain and batsman Rahul Dravid who was playing his 344th and final ODI for India. The two set about cautiously but strongly building India's innings. The duo ran the singles and were picky about playing flashy strokes initially but Kohli changed gears once he was set. The next 100 runs came at a fair clip as Kohli reached his 50 off 54 balls and then targetted Samit Patel, accelerating to reach his ton off 87 balls.
Raina and Dhoni pushed the tempo up afterwards, the Captain especially was at his brutal best, slamming his way to 50* off 26 balls as India put up only their second score of 300 in the series, posting 304/6.
The start of England's innings was delayed by rain and the revised target under the Duckworth Lewis method was set to 270 off 40 overs. Former RCB pacer Vinay Kumar struck early to remove the dangerous big hitter Craig Kieswetter. Rain followed and Eng's target was further reduced to 241 off 34 overs.
Munaf Patel had Trott caught at mid off almost immediately off a no ball when play resumed. In a case of adding injury to insult, he hurt his ankle while running in from long off a few overs later and had to be carried off the field.
MS Dhoni was forced to bring in Kohli to cover for Munaf's overs and he nearly got Cook off his fourth ball as the England captain attempted a cheeky scoop over short fine leg where Dravid was posted. Dravid dropped the catch and missed the run out of Cook as the batsman attempted a run. Kohli bowled Cook the next ball as the batsman tried yet another ugly swipe across the line.
Trott and Bell immediately launched an assault to carry England over the D/L par score. Trott, the ICC Cricketer of the Year brought up his 50 off 48 balls but India struck back to remove both him and Bell and brought England down to 166/4. However, debutant Jonathan Bairstow, son of former English wicketkeeper David Bairstow, seized his opportunity to smash 41* off 21 balls including three beautifully struck big hits. Bopara continued with his good form at the other end, hitting 37* off 22 as the pair settled the match for England, cantering to victory in just 32.2 overs.
Bairstow was adjudged Man of the Match for his knock under pressure while MS Dhoni won the Man of the Series award for his 236 runs at 78.7 through the series. Some of the brighter points for India will be the discovery of Ajinkya Rahane, the good show by Parthiv Patel, R Ashwin and now, Kohli's return.
The result meant India went winless in the entire series, losing 8 international fixtures with an ODI rained out and one tied.