GUWAHATI, Nov 28 � Virat Kohli led India with a defiant 105 to help his team achieve a convincing 40-run win against New Zealand in the first Airtel One-day International and take a 1-0 lead in the five-match series.
On a perfectly sporting wicket at the Nehru Stadium here today, chasing a challenging target of 277, New Zealand were all out for 236 in 45.2 overs.
The injury-hit Kiwis had to leave out skipper Daniel Vettori and explosive opener Brendon McCullum and were seen short in experience while chasing the target.
Put in to bat, India started off on a cautious note making 44 runs in 7.1 through openers Murli Vijay and Gautam Gambhir. After Vijay�s dismissal, in-form Kohli joined his skipper and added 48 runs for the second wicket. The middle order batsmen provided good support to Kohli who stayed at the crease for 162 minutes and cracked his chanceless century off 104 balls which was studded with 10 boundaries.
Kohli, who hit back-to-back centuries in the Ranji Trophy this season was in command from the very beginning and started middling the ball and executed shots all around the wicket.
At 250 for 4 in the 44th over, with Kohli going great guns, it looked India would definitely cross the 300 mark. But after the departure of Kohli, Indian wickets fell like nine pins and finally were bundled out for 276 with one over to spare. Andy McKay removed Wridhiman Saha and Ravichandran Aswin in the 45th over. This reduced India�s hope of getting to the 300 mark.
Struggling Yuvraj Singh, who is under scrutiny for his inconsistent form, seemed to have found his form back, middling almost all the balls. He got a compact 42 off 64 deliveries with seven fours. Yusuf Pathan also entertained the crowd with his 19-ball 29 during which he hit the only sixer of the Indian innings. But Suresh Raina disappointed his fans as he was dismissed for 13 while playing a poor shot to Mills.
The Indian tailenders, debutant Wridhuman Saha (4), Ravichandran Aswin (0), Ashis Nehra (0) and Sreesanth (4), failed to contribute muchwith the bat.
Andy McKay returned with career-best figures of 10-1-62-4 while seamer Kyle Mills and Daryl Tuffey claimed three for 42 and two for 56 respectively.
Chasing the tough target, New Zealand could not make a bright start and lost wickets at regular intervals. Stand-in skipper Ross Taylor top-scored for New Zealand with a strokeful 66 off 69 balls. He hit three sixes and as many boundaries during his entertaining knock.
At one stage New Zealand looked to give up easily losing the eighth wicket at 169. But a brilliant 67-run ninth wicket partnership between Nathan McCullum (35 from 35 balls, 4x4) and Kyle Mills (32 from 28 balls, 2x4, 2x6) frustrated the Indian bowlers.
But Sreesanth broke the partnership dismissing McCullum and Mills with successive balls in the 45th over. McCullum was brilliantly caught by skipper Gambhir at mid-wicket.
Yuvraj Singh today was really effective with the ball, claiming three for 43 from his full quota of 10 overs. Another spinner, Ravichandran Ashwin, came out with a career-best of three for 50 to help India take the lead in the series.
India: Murali c Hopkins b Tuffey 29, Gambhir c How b McKay 38, Kohli c How b McKay 105, Yuvraj c Hopkins b Tuffey 42, Raina c How b Mills 13, Yusuf c Taylor b Mills 29, Saha c Hopkins b McKay 4, Ashwin c and b McKay 0, Nehra run out 0, Sreesanth c How b Mills 4, Munaf not out 1. Extras: (B-1, LB-1, W-8, NB-1) 11. Total: (all out, 49 overs) 276. Fall of wickets: 1-44, 2-92, 3-182, 4-220, 5-250, 6-256, 7-256, 8-257, 9-275. Bowling: Mills 10-0-42-3, Tuffey 8-0-56-2, McKay 10-1-62-4, Elliott 5-0-24-0, McCullum 9-0-53-0, Styris 6-0-26-0, Williamson 1-0-11-0.
New Zealand: Guptill c Patel b Ashwin 30, How c Vijay b Nehra 9, Williamson c Saha b Yuvraj 25, Taylor c Patel b Ashwin 66, Styris c Pathan b Yuvraj 10, Elliot c Pathan b Sreesanth 5, Tuffey c Raina b Yuvraj 4, Hopkins c Pathan b Ashwin 16, McCullum c Gambhir b Sreesanth 35, Mills c Saha b Sreesanth 32, McKay not out 0. Extras: (LB-1, W-3) 4. Total: (all out in 45.2 overs) 236. Fall of wickets: 1-32, 2-46, 3-113, 4-131, 5-136, 6-144, 7-157, 8-169, 9-236. Bowling: Nehra 9-0-44-1, Sreesanth 5.2-0-30-3, Ashwin 10-1-50-3, Munaf 8-0-39-0, Yuvraj 10-0-43-3, Yousuf 2-0-24-0, Raina 1-0-5-0.