Pune, March 26 (IANS) Centurion Jonny Bairstow (124 off 112 balls, 11x4s, 7x6s) and Ben Stokes (99 off 52 balls, 10x6s, 4x4s) added 175 runs for the second wicket to help England chase a mammoth 337-run target set by India and win the second One-day International by six wickets and with 39 balls to spare here on Friday.
With this win, England levelled the three-match series 1-1 after India had won the first ODI by 66 runs. Sunday’s final game will be the series decider at the Maharashtra Cricket Association Stadium.
England got off to a flying start with Jason Roy (55 off 52 balls) adding 110 with Bairstow for the first wicket in 99 balls. After Roy was dismissed, Bairstow and Stokes continued the onslaught. By the time they were removed, the visitors needed just around four an over which was easy for the latter batsmen.
After a string of 40s, Roy got to his first fifty in white ball matches on this tour. He had made 49, 46, 9, 40 and 0 in the T20I series that preceded the ODIs and followed it up with a 46 in the first ODI. On Friday though, he went on to get a half-century before he was run out following a mix-up.
This was the third successive century partnership between Roy and Bairstow in ODIs against India after 160 off 133 balls in the World Cup in 2019 and 135 off 86 balls in the first one-dayer here on Tuesday.
If India thought that breaking the opening partnership with Roy’s dismissal would help them run through the middle-order like in the first ODI, they were mistaken.
If anything, Stokes and Bairstow upped the gear. They were particularly harsh on spinners left-arm spinner Krunal Pandya and Chinaman bowler Kuldeep Yadav as they hammered boundaries at will and made light of the imposing target.
The 100-run partnership between Stokes and Bairstow took just 87 balls and the next 70-odd came in just 27 balls.
England batsmen got 34 runs in three overs — between 22 to 24 — but opened their arms further after the 30th over.
As many as 63 runs came in three overs during the phase of 33rd to 35th overs. Just prior to that, Kuldeep in his eighth over, and innings’ 31st, had gone for 17 runs.
Krunal’s figures at one point read 0/65 in five overs. He finished with 0/72 in six overs while Kuldeep went for 84 in his 10 overs without getting a wicket. The two spinners — the fourth and fifth bowlers — went for 156 runs in 16 overs and that made the real difference between the teams, though the Indian pacers also failed to get any early breakthrough.
Stokes’s innings was also the quickest 99 in ODI cricket. The quickest before him was made by Dean Jones, who took 77 balls to make his 99 not out against Sri Lanka 35 years ago.
India got a whiff of a comeback in the 36th and 37th overs when pacer Bhuvneshwar Kumar and M. Prasidh Krishna took three wickets in nine balls and reduced England from 285/1 to 287/4. But by that time the required rate was around four an over and England needed just 50.
Liam Livingstone (27 off 21 balls) carted two sixes off Bhuvi in one over and added 50 with Dawid Malan (16 off 23 balls) to see the match through.
Earlier, K.L. Rahul’s fifth ODI century (108 off 114 balls) and Rishabh Pant’s quickfire 77 off 40 balls powered India to 336/6 wickets in 50 overs.
England began well, removing opening batsmen Shikhar Dhawan and Rohit Sharma early, leaving India at 37 for two wickets in 8.4 overs.
However, a 121-run partnership for the third wicket between skipper Virat Kohli (66 off 79 balls) and Rahul, resurrected the Indian innings.
After Kohli’s dismissal — the India captain got his fourth fifty in a row — Pant and Rahul added 113 runs for the fourth wicket in less than 13 overs. Pant hammered seven sixes and three fours, scoring at a strike rate of 192.5.
Towards the end, Hardik Pandya chipped in with 35 off 16 balls (4x6s, 1×4) to take India to their eventual score.
India had included Pant in the XI for the injured Shreyas Iyer while England replaced injured Eoin Morgan with Liam Livingstone and Mark Wood with left-arm pace bowler Reece Topley.
India: 336/6 wkts in 50 overs (KL Rahul 108, R Pant 77, V Kohli 66, R Topley 2/50, T Curran 2/83) lost to England: 337/4 wkts in 43.3 overs (J. Bairstow 124, Ben Stokes 99, J. Roy 55, P. Krishna 2/58) by 6 wickets