It was a dream debut for opener Lokesh Rahul as his attractive 100 not out enabled a new-look Indian team record a resounding nine-wicket victory over Zimbabwe in the first ODI of the three match series in Harare on Saturday.
Chasing a paltry target of 169, the Indian batsmen hardly broke sweat as they comfortably cruised home in 42.3 overs.
Playing his first ODI, Rahul completed his coveted three-figure landmark with a huge six over deep mid-wicket off seamer Hamilton Masakadza, when there was only two runs required to win the match.
Rahul also became the first Indian to score a hundred on ODI debut. And by extension, has the highest score by any Indian batsmen on ODI debut.
When he reached 87, Rahul also became the highest individual scorer on debut eclipsing Robin Uthappa's 86 against England on his ODI debut in Indore, back in 2006.
KL Rahul now 11th batsman in ODI history to make a 100 on debut#ZimvInd— Mohandas Menon (@mohanstatsman) June 11, 2016
KL Rahul's first inns as opener:
Tests - 110ODIs - 100*- First batsman to score centuries in first inns while opening in both formats!— Bharath Seervi (@SeerviBharath) June 11, 2016
This is invaluable experience for Lokesh Rahul. He's giving India a credible option at the top of the order.— Harsha Bhogle (@bhogleharsha) June 11, 2016
Batsmen scoring centuries on ODI debut:
AmissHaynesAndy FlowerElahi GuptillIngramRob NicolPhil HughesLumbChapmanKL Rahul#ZIMvIND— Cricbuzz (@cricbuzz) June 11, 2016
Well played, KL Rahul...century on ODI debut 👏👏
Every time he's crossed 50 in International cricket, he's scored a century. #brilliant— Aakash Chopra (@cricketaakash) June 11, 2016
Innings taken to register maiden ODI 100 for India....
Fewest inns: 1 - KL Rahul in 2016Most inns: 101 - Sunil Gavaskar in 1987#ZimvInd— Mohandas Menon (@mohanstatsman) June 12, 2016
Rahul found an able ally in Ambati Rayudu (62 n.O.) as they added 162 runs in 38 overs for the unbroken second wicket partnership even though the Hyderabadi batsman was not at his fluent best.
Rahul hit seven boundaries and a six in his 115-ball innings, a relatively subdued Rayudu picked up during the second half, hitting five boundaries in 120 balls.
Mahendra Singh Dhoni's team were in complete control of the proceedings right from the start as the hosts never looked like putting up a fight during the course of the match, once they were put into bat.
After Jasprit Bumrah (4/28), Dhawan Kulkarni (2/42) and Barinder Sran (2/42) made full use of the conditions where there was help for seamers, Rahul-Rayudu pair kept calm as they chased with minimum fuss.
With PTI inputs (All images from AFP)