|Second one-day international, Pune|
|Inside 336-6 (50 overs): Rahul 108 (114), Pantalon 77 (40)|
|England 337-4 (43.3 overs): Bairstow 124 (112), Stokes 99 (52)|
|England won by six wickets|
Jonny Bairstow hit a magnificent century and Ben Stokes a brutal 99 in an emphatic 337 chase in England to beat India in the second one-day international in Pune.
Stokes was just great, hitting 10 sixes in his 52-ball stay, while the brilliant Bairstow made 124 of 112 deliveries.
Their second wicket stand of 175 came to nine plus races, completely decimating India’s attack.
Even though England lost three wickets for two points on nine balls, the chase – comfortably England’s highest in India and fifth-best ever – ended with 6.3 overs to spare.
This made India’s 336-6 – built on a measured 108 from KL Rahul and the thrilling 77 from Rishabh Pant – lean.
The series, now level 1-1, will be decided on Sunday.
England serves as a reminder of their might
It was a stunning reminder of the exhilarating swagger that made England the best team for a day in the world.
Just like in the opening of the series, which India won by 66 points, it was a clash of styles. As India slowly evolved into a late assault, England sprinted in the chase and this time crossed the finish line.
Before the pyrotechnics, left-arm seamstress Reece Topley came back 2-50 of her eight overs, a remarkable performance in an otherwise battered attack.
But the punishment received by England’s bowlers was nothing compared to the treatment inflicted by Stokes and Bairstow, who used the excellent hitting conditions to rain blow after blow into the empty stands.
Their superb display shed light on the absences of injured captain Eoin Morgan, fellow drummer Sam Billings and rested Joe Root.
Then, when England faltered, they were whisked to victory by debutant Liam Livingstone and Dawid Malan, who only had one ODI cap between them.
Stokes and Bairstow devastate India
Bairstow had already added 110 with Jason Roy in 16.3 overs, an opening stand that only ended when Roy was exhausted for 55 in confusion brought on by Rohit Sharma’s superb shot and throw.
Stokes himself was lucky not to be exhausted out of 33 as he completed a second run. When Kuldeep Yadav’s throw straight from the deep stroke, there was little evidence to suggest Stokes had his bat past the crease line, but the third umpire ruled in his favor.
It was spinner Kuldeep who then took the brunt of Stokes’ assault, hitting for three consecutive sixes as the southpaw went from 50 to 99 on just 11 balls.
Somehow he eclipsed Bairstow, who played a number of glorious loft drives during his 11th century ODI.
When Stokes edged out a bouncer from Bhuvneshwar Kumar, he missed an English player’s third fastest century in ODI. In the next, Bairstow punched Prasidh Krishna at extra cover and acting captain Jos Buttler was beaten by Yorker.
However, any notion of pressure was brushed aside by the audacity of Livingstone, whose consecutive six off Bhuvneshwar brought England’s total maximum number to 20.
Rahul silences the critics
Retired after collecting just 15 runs in four innings in the T20 series, Rahul returned to form with an unbeaten 62 in the first ODI and went further here.
Arriving in ninth place at 39-2, he was forced to stabilize with captain Virat Kohli, and their unhurried third wicket stand gave up 121.
Kohli, abandoned on 35 by wicket keeper Buttler, looked set to end his 16-month wait of a century international until he edged out Adil Rashid on 66.
The arrival of the electric pants, on the side of the injured Shreyas Iyer, prompted Rahul to step up. When he reached his fifth ODI century, he celebrated by putting his fingers in his ears, later explaining that it was to symbolize ignoring his criticisms.
Still, the real thrill came from Pant’s side leg slip, which coated seven sixes. Hardik Pandya crashed 35 in a 16 bullet cameo.
In all, India has taken 126 of the last 10 passes. This time it was far from enough.
‘We are not afraid of big totals’
Versatile England Ben Stokes: “We haven’t strayed from our values as a team. It was a great chase, and we’re happy to cross the line quite easily, especially as India set a tough total.
“Over the years we’ve established big totals, we’ve chased big totals, we’re not really afraid of them. We always encourage our players to take the positive option. We spoke out as we always do. “
Indian Captain Virat Kohli: “We established a decent total. We started very well with the new ball, but I thought England had hit brilliantly well. This is one of the most amazing strikes you have ever seen. “
English captain Jos Buttler: “I’m delighted with the response from the guys. We had a very good bowling performance to limit India to that total. The way the guys hit, the intent and the partnerships, made it a brilliant chase. “
Man of the Match Jonny Bairstow: “I thought we were great in the last game so today we had the same plan. Ben played some funny moves and it was about putting him on strike. “