In a classic thriller in Pune, England beat India in the second ODI by 6 wickets to draw the series 1-1. Jonny Bairstow and Ben Stokes steered the visitors to a heroic victory to compete for the series trophy on Sunday.
Another high-scoring innings by India
In a deja vu of sorts, the match in Pune started on the same note as the last four matches – England winning the toss, choosing to field, and getting a big target to chase.
This time, however, the Indian openers fumbled a bit – Rohit Sharma and Shikhar Dhawan left the pitch putting just 37 runs on the board. Two wickets down, Virat Kohli and KL Rahul started a brilliant partnership that saw them add 174 runs together.
Rahul scored a century with 108 off 114 deliveries while the skipper continued his fine form with the bat, scoring 66 off 79 balls.
Rishabh Pant had plans of his own too – he stepped in after Kohli got out and scored a blazing 77 with a strike rate of 192.50 with seven 6s. Another brief cameo by Hardik Pandya (35 in 16) helped the hosts reach 336-6.
England’s openers showed the way
England, as it has come to be expected of them by now, started their chase on a strong note.
Jason Roy and Jonny Bairstow continued their fine form in the second ODI, scoring 55 and an impressive 124 respectively. Ben Stokes came one down after Roy got out in the 17th over, leaving England at 110-1.
Stokes had his time with the bat and in many ways, single-handedly led the team to a very comfortable position. His innings saw 10 6s and four 4s and combined with Bairstow’s century, England were already three-fourth of the way there.
There was some drama to be had. A superb spell by Prasidh Krishna and one good over from Bhuvaneshwar Kumar led to the wickets of Bairstow, Stokes, and newly-arrived Jos Butler in quick succession.
It was a particular heartbreak for Stokes, who succumbed to the nerves at 99.
England were 287-4 in the 37th over, requiring 50 runs in 78 deliveries. It was a comfortable ask and Dawid Malan and Liam Livingstone did the job. The innings ended at 337-4 with 39 balls remaining.
With that six-wicket win, England have snapped a three-match losing streak. They will look to win the series when they face off again on Sunday, March 28.