Watch Video of Yuvraj Singh’s 138 off 78 vs England in 1st ODI, Rajkot
England couldn’t have had a more disastrous start with the visitors losing seven wickets for 150 runs in 27 overs in the first one-dayer here on Friday.
Only Kevin Pietersen waged a lone battle with a fighting 63 with three of the top five departing for single digit scores.
Undeterred by a troublesome back, Yuvraj Singh roared back to form by slamming a whirlwind unbeaten 138 as India pulverised England to pile up a record 387 for five in the first one-dayer here on Friday.
The left-handed batsman, batting with a belt around his waist and with Gautam Gambhir as his runner for the major part of his dazzling knock, hammered the visiting team’s bowlers all around the park to notch up his ninth one-day hundred.
The Punjab cricketer reached his hundred off just 64 balls with 11 fours and four sixes, narrowly missing out on overhauling Mohammed Azharuddin’s 62-ball century record.
The 26-year-old batsman, struggling in Ranji Trophy after a poor run in the Challenger Series prior to this tie, got to his second fifty off only 22 balls with six fours and two sixes.
His final tally of 138 not out, coming in just 75 balls was studded with six sixes and 16 boundaries and powered India to best-ever score at this ground, overtaking New Zealand’s 349 for nine made against hosts in November 1999.
The total was also the best ever by India against England, overhauling the 329 for seven made in August 2007 at Bristol.
It was also the second-best ever by India in ODIs, behind the 413 for five made against minnows Bermuda in the 2007 World Cup at Port-of-Spain, Trinidad.
But before his arrival to the crease the Indian innings was given a rapid-fire start by in-form openers Virender Sehwag, who slammed 85 in 73 balls with 10 fours and three sixes, and Gautam Gambhir (51).
The power-hitting by Yuvraj, even when he was handicapped by his back problem, set the visitors a stiff asking rate of 7.7 to win the match.
Asked to take first strike by visiting team captain Kevin Pietersen, the hosts rocketed off to a great start as Sehwag and Gambhir stitched together a partnership of 127 in less than 20 overs.
After their departure, Suresh Raina (43) and Yuvraj added 89 runs in only 12.5 overs.
Later Yuvraj and skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni (39) made mincemeat of the visiting team’s largely one-dimensional attack to rattle up a stand of 105 runs in only 58 balls for the fifth wicket.
The lone batsman to fail was Yousuf Pathan (0), who lasted only two balls.
A total of thirteen sixes were clobbered off the England bowlers by the hosts to leave the visitors shell-shocked and helped India to their highest-ever ODI total against a Test team.
Left-handed Gambhir attacked the England bowlers with gusto by stepping out with impunity and carting the ball around.
A lofted on-drive off Anderson for four and a step-out shot against Broad were followed by an edged four to help the 27-year-old batsman complete 2000 runs in his 61st ODI.
England captain Kevin Pietersen rung in quick changes and called on experienced duo of Andrew Flintoff and Steve Harmison to stem the flow of runs.
But they also failed to apply the brake and Pietersen turned to left arm spinner Samit Patel, who could not make any impact.
Paul Collingwood was brought on and Sehwag greeted the medium pacer by smacking him over long off and then hoisting the bowler from wide of the off stump over the mid-wicket fence for two sixes off successive balls.
Gambhir completed his 12th fifty by off-gliding Flintoff, in the latter’s tight second spell, for a single but fell to Patel while trying to hit the diminutive left arm bowler over the straight field.
The dismissal of Sehwag after India crossed 150 in the 24th over brought together the left-handed pair of Raina and Yuvraj.
Raina struck Broad for a six over wide long on to help India reach 200 in the 32nd over and then clubbed Pietersen over mid-wicket for another six in the next over to keep the run-rate at over six.
Yuvraj then hammered Flintoff straight for his first six after the mandatory ball change at the end of the 34th over.
He then square cut Harmison for a four and then struck him for a mighty six over long-on in successive balls before Raina sliced Flintoff to backward point for Paul Collingwood to pull off a fine catch.
Yousuf Pathan got promoted but lasted just two balls, to bring skipper Dhoni in.
Yuvraj, famous for hitting Broad for six sixes in an over in the World T20 Championship in 2007, carted Patel for a huge six over mid-wicket, his fourth of the innings, to pilot India past the 300 mark.
Dhoni fell at 352 but Yuvraj went into overdrive and clouted Flintoff for two sixes in the 46th over before remaining unbeaten after putting on 35 runs with Rohit Sharma (11 not out).