Opener Nasir Jamshed scored a composed century leading Pakistan to a six-wicket victory over India in the first game of the three-match ODI series in Chennai.
Jamshed’s unbeaten 101 ensured India caption Mahendra Singh Dhoni’s rescue innings earlier in the day finished unrewarded.
The Indian skipper came to the middle with India reeling on 29-5; he struck 113 not out setting Pakistan a target of 227 with the loss of six wickets.
Due to overnight rain, the match had a delayed start. Pakistan won the toss and chose to bowl first in overcast conditions proving to be ideal for swing bowling. A devastating spell from Junaid Khan left India in tatters early.
Virender Sehwag drove away from his body and lost his off stump, Kohli played down the wrong line as Junaid’s ball swung and knocked of his off stump for a duck.
In between the big wickets, Mohammed Irfan beat Ghautam Ghambhir’s drive clean bowling him.
Junaid’s clinical spell didn’t end there, he also beat Yuvraj Singh for pace and he picked up his fourth wicket as Mohammed Hafeez took a sharp reflex catch at third slip to remove Rohit Sharma.
Suresh Raina helped Dhoni to repair the innings with a 79-run stand taking them past the 34th over.
Giving Dhoni a life proved costly for Pakistan as Misbah-ul-Haq put a catch down at midwicket from Hafeez’s bowling.
Eventually Hafeez did pick up a wicket bowling out Raina in the batting powerplay for 43. After the sixth wicket, Dhoni launched his innings hitting Junaid over wide long-on for six off a free hit.
He smashed Ajmal out of the ground and brought up his century with his third six off the innings putting on a 125 run stand with Ravi Ashwin who upped the tempo with 31 from 39.
A magnificent century from Dhoni featured a range of shots on both sides of the wicket giving Pakistan a testing target.
Pakistan’s chase also started poorly as Hafeez offered no shot and was bowled out for a golden duck by debutant Bhuveshwar Kumar.
Kumar also removed Azhar Ali leaving Pakistan 21-2 but a superb stand by Jamshed and Younis Khan ensured the required run rate was under control.
The 112 run stand from just 121 balls recovered the chase with Younis’s counter attacking innings of 58 off 60 bringing up his fifty with a down the ground maximum.
Dinda finally broke the stand when Younis chipped a low catch to Ashwin.
As Pakistan were getting closer, Misbah was dismissed being bowled by Ishant Sharma with Jamshed tiring Malik scored boundaries at the other end.
Jamshed reached his century from 127 balls with a pull shot, drawing comparison with his innings against Australia in Abu Dhabi earlier in the year which was also played under excessive humidity.
Alongside Jamshed’s fantastic unbeaten hundred Malik chipped in with a run a ball 34 to ensure Pakistan finished the job inside the 48th over and head to Eden Gardens in the New Year with a lead in the series.