Kohli day in Ranchi

FP

Five overs into the Indian innings, Virat Kohli broke the shackles as India started a low chase nervously. Ajinkya Rahane was already back in the hut, beaten for pace and losing his off stump to a perfect in-cutter from Steve Finn. Kohli, too, came under pressure and survived a confident LBW shout in the first ball he faced. Kohli looked scratchy and in the fifth over against Jade Dernbach, he went for a pull only to top edge the shot over the 'keeper to the boundary.

The next two deliveries changed the whole complexion of the game. Dernbach went for another bouncer, but this time Kohli dispatched the ball to the deep square-leg fence with disdain. A fuller length delivery that followed was clipped once again to the same area with contempt. The poster boy of Indian cricket was back and had wrester the initiative.

From then on it became just a formality for India as they took a 2-1 lead, winning the third ODI by seven wickets at the newly built JSCA International Stadium on Saturday. Kohli has been inconsistent of late, scoring just 65 runs in his last five one-day matches he played. Today's Man-of-the-Match performance — 77 not out in 79 balls — will certainly allow him and his team to breathe easy. England tried everything. They tried to soften him up, bowling into his body with a short-leg in place. After that they bowled full with three slips waiting for the outside edge. But the 24-year-old moved his feet well and timed the ball brilliantly, hitting nine boundaries and two sixes.

Kohli also shielded Gautam Gambhir efficiently as the senior batsman was not getting his timing right during the initial phase of his innings. But Gambhir hung on and the two added 67 runs for the second wicket. Given a target of just 156 runs for victory, the partnership ensured that India would win in a canter. Gambhir got out after getting set as he charged down to a flighted delivery from Tredwell with an intention to clear wide mid-on. Joe Root took a good catch, but by then the match was all but over.

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