RAJKOT, India (Reuters) - Yuvraj Singh struck the second fastest one-day century by an Indian to set up a crushing 158-run victory over England in the first one-day international Friday.
The 26-year-old left-hander smashed 138 not out off just 78 balls to help India post an imposing 387 for five for their best one-day total against a test-playing nation.
It was the highest total England has ever conceded and ended in one of their heaviest defeats by runs in the 50-over game after they were bowled out for 229 despite fifties by skipper Kevin Pietersen (63) and Ravi Bopara (54 not out).
Left-arm seamer Zaheer Khan then took three quick wickets in his searing seven-over opening spell to trigger a top-order collapse.
“It was an amazing pitch. But at end of the day if blokes play that way, you are behind the game straightaway,” Pietersen said.
Opener Virender Sehwag set the tone for the run-fest with a dashing 85 off 73 balls after Pietersen handed India the initiative by electing to bowl first on a flat pitch.
Yuvraj pulled a muscle in his back, which was strapped, and employed a runner but that did not stop the runs flowing as he cracked 16 fours and six sixes in imperious fashion for his ninth one-day century.
“On a day like this the opposition can’t do much,” India captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni said. “Of course Yuvraj’s innings was special”
Yuvraj, who was not part of the 2-0 test series victory over Australia, added 105 runs for the fifth wicket in just 58 balls with Dhoni (39) to further put the England attack to the sword.
Sehwag put on 127 with the in-form Gautam Gambhir (51) to give India a solid start, hitting 10 fours and three sixes, and reached his 30th fifty with consecutive sixes off Paul Collingwood’s first two deliveries.
Ian Bell took a diving catch to his right at mid-wicket to dismiss Sehwag off Samit Patel after the opener had lashed the left-arm spinner for a six and two fours in the over.
Patel had earlier dismissed Gambhir, who miscued his lofted drive and was caught by Owais Shah at long-off.
But Yuvraj put on 89 for the third wicket with Suresh Raina (43) and lifted the scoring rate in his stand with Dhoni as he continued to tear into the English bowling.
Fast bowler Steve Harmison eventually dislodged Dhoni in the 48th over, but bowling changes had no effect on Yuvraj, however.
Zaheer dismissed Shah (0), opener Ian Bell (25) and Andrew Flintoff (4) to send England crashing to 38 for four after Munaf Patel had Matt Prior (4) caught by Sehwag at slip in the fourth over.
Left-arm Rudra Pratap Singh forced Paul Collingwood to edge behind to Dhoni for 19 as their poor batting form continued following last month’s Stanford Twenty20 Challenge humiliation in the Caribbean where they were bowled out for 99.
Pietersen and Patel (28) put on 71 for the sixth wicket before falling in the space of three runs, to trigger another collapse. Patel was stumped off off-spinner Harbhajan Singh and Pietersen was run out.
Bopara scored a combative fifty with five sixes and two fours to save the tourists from falling to their heaviest defeat which stands at 165 runs against West Indies in 1994 and Pakistan three years ago.
Editing by Miles Evans