Jonny Bairstow and Ben Stokes launched a six-hitting feast as England chased down 337 against India in a series-levelling win in the second one-day international on Friday.
Bairstow (124) and Stokes (99) put on 175 for the second wicket and smashed 17 sixes between them as England romped home in 43.3 overs with six wickets to spare in Pune.
Stokes’ 99 came off just 52 balls when he gloved a short ball from Bhuvneshaar Kumar down leg-side.
The all-rounder was gutted as he looked to the sky and said ‘sorry’ before folding in his middle finger; a gesture towards his late father who passed away last year from cancer.
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Stokes falls just short on 99!
The three-match series is now level at 1-1 with the decider on Sunday.
“It was some of the most amazing batting you’ll see when chasing,” India skipper Virat Kohli said of the England onslaught.
“They totally blew us away during that partnership of Jonny and Ben Stokes. We didn’t even have a chance during that partnership.”
Bairstow fell to Prasidh Krishna, who also bowled stand-in-skipper Jos Buttler for a duck.
England lost three wickets for three runs, but Dawid Malan (16) and debutant Liam Livingstone (27) took the team home with an unbroken stand of 50.
It was England’s fifth-highest ODI chase and their best against India. Bairstow, who was named man of the match, led the charge, tearing into the Indian attack with a 110-run opening stand with Jason Roy, who made 55.
Stokes guides England to crushing win
– ‘No fear’ –
Roy was run out for 55 in a mix up with Bairstow, who then combined with Stokes to trump K.L. Rahul’s 108 that helped India to 336-6 in 50 overs after being put in to bat first.
Bairstow reached his 11th ODI hundred in 95 balls with a six off Kuldeep Yadav, who also took a hammering from Stokes, the Durham left-hander hammering him for three successive sixes in one over as he raced from 50 to 99 in just 12 balls.
“Over the years, we have set big totals, we have chased big totals,” said Stokes. “We don’t really fear too much to be honest.”
Buttler echoed the views of regular captain Eoin Morgan, who was ruled out of the final two ODIs with a split webbing in his hand, about England’s aggressive brand of play.
“Delighted with the response of the guys,” said Buttler.
“We put in a very good bowling performance to restrict India to that total. I am delighted that we continued to commit to the fashion we want to play our cricket.”
Earlier Rahul was involved in century stands with Kohli, who made 66, and then Rishabh Pant, who smashed a rapid 77.
Boult’s one-handed SCREAMER!
Reece Topley sent back Shikhar Dhawan caught at slip for four and fellow quick Sam Curran got Rohit Sharma out for 25.
Kohli and Rahul put on 121 for the second wicket to lay the foundations of India’s challenging total.
Kohli, who was dropped on 35 by Buttler off Adil Rashid, completed his fifth fifty in seven international innings before being finally caught by Buttler off Rashid.
Rahul, who made an unbeaten 62 in India’s win in the opening game on Tuesday, reached his fifth ODI hundred.
He put on 113 for the third wicket with Pant before he was caught off Tom Curran. His 114-ball knock included seven fours and two sixes.
Pant reached his fifty with a six and smashed seven sixes in his 40-ball blitz. Hardik Pandya hit 35 off 16 balls as India finished with a flourish, scoring 126 runs from the last 10 overs, but the effort was not enough on a batting-friendly pitch.