Jadhav leaves England shellshocked
A little over 60 overs into the game in Pune it appeared England had their winning template in place
A little over 60 overs into the game it appeared England had their winning template in place. After being asked to bat first, they obliged by putting 350 on the board. It was the 15th time England have scored in excess of 300 since the 2015 World Cup, and they have lost only on four occasions. Then Chris Woakes bowled a priceless opening spell of 5-0-12-0 on an unforgiving pitch, while David Willey delivered the early breakthroughs. England even managed to dismiss Yuvraj Singh and MS Dhoni in successive overs to have India teetering on the brink on 63 for 4. There was still Virat Kohli, but with only a little-known Kedar Jadhav and a callow lower middle-order, England had a chance to win big and dent India's psyche. Instead, at the end of the night, it was England's morale that was razed by a 200-run partnership in 147 balls between Jadhav and Kohli, who both scored first-rate, counterpunching hundreds. Eoin Morgan admitted he didn't expect Jadhav to take the game away from England. He also revealed that at one point England looked to take Kohli off strike and target Jadhav, who ended up with a career-best 120 off 76 balls. "What hurts the most is we had India 60 for 4," he said. "Credit to his 60-70 ball hundred. We take our hat off to him. He was striking it from ball one and gave us no chances."
When asked if England had run out of ideas to stop Kohli, he said none of their plans came to fruition. Morgan referred to the 10th over when Kohli got a thick outside edge off Jake Ball, and Alex Hales at third man ran around and got in position for the catch, but the ball evaded his reach.
"There is always something we can do," he said. "All the plans weren't far off today and the balls went over heads, 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's proven that over a long period of time."
Despite scoring 115 runs in their last 10 overs, Morgan felt England could have scored more than 350. He said it was as much a reflection of the pitch as it was about how they batted. "Yes, our batting effort was good, but it still wasn't our best. When you score 350 you expect to play well. That summarises the conditions here, the pitch was really 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."
Morgan, however, took heart from the bowling performance in the first half. "Early on we were brilliant, four early wickets, still don't think it [the pitch] offered a lot. Creating those chances early on was a great effort," he said. "India came back at us hard, kept up with the rate and still kept coming, The wicket allowed them to do that.
"We took four early wickets which is tough in the subcontinent. 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."
He hoped his bowlers would be better for the experience, and find ways to get out of such situations. "Our hope is that, the more our bowlers experience games like this, experience like the partnership today and the circumstances get harder, they'll actually come up with good enough skills to restrict batsmen or get them off strike, or even take a wicket.
"We encourage guys to do things differently all the time, conventional stuff doesn't work as well as it used to anymore. All the teams around the world are in the same position, very rarely you come across a guy who can come in and blast the team out when there is a huge partnership going on. We still have guys like that."
Arun Venugopal is a correspondent at ESPNcricinfo. @scarletrun