Kohli hails 'greats' Yuvraj and Dhoni for saving India innings


Virat Kohli hailed "two of the greats" in Yuvraj Singh and MS Dhoni for stepping up against England and claimed India were only at 75 per cent of their potential in Thursday's one-day international victory.

India took an unassailable 2-0 lead in the three-match series with a 15-run win thanks largely to an outstanding 256-run partnership between Yuvraj (150) and Dhoni (134), the second-highest fourth-wicket partnership in 50-over history.

That was after England had India rattled on 25-3 in Cuttack with KL Rahul (5), Shikhar Dhawan (11) and Kohli (8) failing to trouble the scoreboard.

But Yuvraj and Dhoni, both 35, drew on every ounce of their vast experience to steer India to 381-6 and Kohli was grateful for their impact.

"We were wondering if we had a good start were we would have ended up," he said at the post-match presentation.

"It wasn't good batting. Two of the greats stood up. Getting 381 from 25 for 3 was outstanding. We knew we'd get wickets at some stage or the other but we bowled at the more difficult part of the day. 

"The guys showed really good character. We pulled it back nicely in the end. Having won the series, just before the Champions Trophy, the key will be for us to express ourselves and work out what is the best opening partnership."

Given India's poor start, England were ahead on run rate early on, but a 100-run partnership between Joe Root (54) and Jason Roy (82) was ended when the former tried to slog sweep Ravichandran Ashwin, before Ravindra Jadeja bowled Roy.

"Two guys who had a really good Test series [Jadeja and Ashwin] stepped up and had we not picked up those wickets I don't know where the game would have gone," Kohli added. 

"I'd say we are only at 75 per cent of our potential."

For Yuvraj, his best ODI score of 150 was particularly sweet given he was only brought back into the 50-over team for the England series having been dropped at the end of 2013 for poor form.

Yuvraj described the knock as among the best he has played and was determined to prove his worth.

"It's probably my best innings. I started as a lower-order batsman, the higher you bat the more balls you get to play - 150 was a target for me," he said. 

"I wanted to prove a point to myself. I knew it was coming."