England’s record one-day score against India was not enough to avoid defeat in the first ODI in Pune as Virat Kohli’s genius again proved the difference in Pune.
The tourists posted 350 for seven, their ninth highest total of all time, but even that could not contain Kohli, whose 122 was his 27th century in the format and underlined his claim to be 50-over cricket’s best ever chaser.
England watched him pile on 655 runs in the Test series before Christmas and again bowed to his brilliance as he hit five sixes and eight fours to win his first match as India’s one-day captain by three wickets.
That local boy Kedar Jadhav was pushed into the shadows despite scoring a rapid 120 says everything about Kohli’s star power and the pair put on 200 in 24.3 overs after coming together in some peril at 63 for four.
None of England’s batsmen went on to three figures but at halfway it looked as though Joe Root (78), Jason Roy (73) and Ben Stokes (62) had helped post a defendable target.
England would have been content with their score, having piled on 115 in the last 10 overs, and confidence surely spiked as they reduced the hosts to 63 for four.
David Willey removed both openers with a hint of swing before the experienced hands Yuvraj Singh and Mahendra Singh Dhoni played loose shots to leave their side in strife.
Kohli had no such trouble, repaying his rapturous reception by swatting his fifth ball for six.
He had already eased towards 30 when Jadhav arrived amid a series of boundaries, briefly stealing the limelight with a 29-ball half-century.
Kohli was coasting, though, mixing sensible strokeplay with moments of near-perfection like the fleet-footed six he smashed off Root in the 26th over.
Kohli moved to his hundred in fitting fashion, launching Chris Woakes for six down the ground, and saluting the crowd.
Jadhav was close behind, cutting Woakes for four to complete a 65-ball ton, before Kohli’s masterclass ended.
It was a rare false shot, top-edging a pull off Stokes, and he walked of with 88 still needed. One flicker of hope brought a second, Jadhav thumping Jake Ball to fine leg to set up a final equation of 60 off the last 60 balls.
Ball made Ravindra Jadeja his third victim but India finished in style with successive maximums from Hardik Pandya and Ravichandran Ashwin, leaving 11 deliveries unbowled.