England played like World Champions and made a mockery of a 337-run target, courtesy a six-hitting spree from Jonny Bairstow and Ben Stokes, to level the three-match ODI series against a stunned India here on Friday.
England did not throw it away like the opening game and capitalised on a flying start provided by Bairstow (124 off 112) and Jason Roy (55 off 52) to gun down the target in just 43.3 overs with six wickets in hand.
Stokes (99 off 62) played a breathtaking knock and missed out on a deserving hundred after a blazing 165-run stand with Bairstow. India amassed 336 for six courtesy KL Rahul (108 off 114) and Rishabh Pant (77 off just 40) after England won the toss and opted to field again.
After Roy”s dismissal, Stokes hit sixes for fun, 10 in total, to make the seemingly daunting task rather comfortable for the visitors. Bairstow, who struck his 11th ODI hundred, too was not far behind with seven sixes and 11 fours.
Barring pacers Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Prasidh Krishna, the Indian bowlers had no answer to the onslaught of Stokes and Bairstow, who produced a display of sensational hitting.
Like the previous game, England self-destructed by losing three quick wickets in the middle overs, including the set Stokes and Bairstow, but debutant Liam Livingstone (27 not out off 21) and Dawid Malan (16 not out off 23)held their nerve to get their home safely. It was England”s fifth highest chase in ODI cricket.
Skipper Virat Kohli (66 off 79) and Rahul laid the foundation for the big total with their 121-run third wicket stand after being put into bat at the MCA stadium. Opener Shikhar Dhawan (4) fell cheaply after he nicked a Reece Topley delivery to Ben Stokes in the slips. Kohli and Rahul kept the scoreboard ticking, with the India captain being the bit more aggressive one, while Rahul initially played second fiddle. Kohli, who got a ”life” on 35 when Buttler dropped a regulation chance off Adil Rashid, notched up his 62nd fifty with a single. This was the second instance when India hit successive 300 plus scores in five ODIs, the other one being in 2017.