Stunning Stokes and brilliant Bairstow blast England to victory

By Sports Desk March 26, 2021

Ben Stokes' stunning innings and a century from Jonny Bairstow led England to a dominant six-wicket ODI victory over India in Pune on Friday.

While Bairstow was unquestionably impressive in compiling his 124, Stokes' 99 came at a blistering pace, requiring just 52 balls as he bludgeoned 10 sixes.

India had set England 337 to win and level the three-match series, with the tourists – deprived of the injured Eoin Morgan's services – wasting little time, getting the job done with 39 balls to spare.

Bairstow and Jason Roy put on 110 for the first wicket to lay the foundations, with the former then enjoying a front-row seat for the Stokes show as they combined for 175 runs.

It meant that, by the time Stokes and Bairstow fell in consecutive overs, England only required another 50 to seal the win, with Dawid Malan and Liam Livingstone finishing things off.

All the fireworks in England's innings eclipsed what had been a solid 50 overs from the hosts, for whom KL Rahul top-scored on 108, with Rishabh Pant providing eye-catching entertainment in the form of a 40-ball 77 to help India to 336-6.

Having put themselves in a strong position to chase down 318 in the first match before collapsing to 251 all out, England made sure they had an even firmer footing this time to ensure a late-innings wobble would not prove pivotal.

Bairstow's 18 boundaries included seven maximums, with Roy's 55 coming at roughly a run a ball to further cement England's excellent start.

Stokes, having survived an early run-out scare, escalated things drastically with a display of explosive hitting that had India chasing their tails.

Krunal Pandya, who enjoyed such a fine debut in the opening clash, came in for particularly harsh punishment as he posted figures of 0-72 off six overs, while Kuldeep Yadav (0-84 off 10) conceded eight sixes, including three in a row at the hands of Stokes in a punishing 33rd over.

England's procession was slowed but not halted by a flurry of wickets across the 36th and 37th overs, with Stokes agonisingly falling short of a deserved century before Bairstow and Jos Buttler also had to go.

But it only delayed the inevitable, Malan and Livingstone steadying the ship and getting England across the line to set up a series decider on Sunday.

 

STOKES CAPITALISES ON LET-OFF

There was a mightily close run-out call against Stokes in the 26th over, when he was on 33.

He soon accelerated his knock at break-neck speed, having brought up his 50 off 40 deliveries before adding another 49 from only 12.

Stokes' dismissal, caught behind by Pant off Bhuvneshwar Kumar, saw him denied the third-fastest century in ODIs for England.

SERIES SET FOR FINALE IT DESERVES

This was a mouthwatering series on paper, pitting the world's best two one-day teams against one another, and it has delivered on the field across the first two matches.

World champions England flexed their muscles on Friday, having been chastened by an opening loss in which India showed why they are so highly fancied.

A winner will be crowned this weekend and, having seen the best of both sides, how fitting it would be if they could each bring their 'A' game on Sunday.

Related items

  • Jofra Archer ruled out for rest of 2021, will miss T20 World Cup and Ashes Jofra Archer ruled out for rest of 2021, will miss T20 World Cup and Ashes

    Jofra Archer will miss both the T20 World Cup and this year's Ashes as the England bowler has been ruled out for the remainder of 2021.

    Archer has been dealing with a troublesome elbow injury and underwent surgery in May, with an "intensive rehabilitation period" planned before he was reassessed.

    The pace bowler insisted he would not rush his return but had targeted both the T20 World Cup – which is to be held in the United Arab Emirates and Oman – and the tour of Australia.

    Archer will be available for neither, though, despite returning with Sussex last month.

    The England and Wales Cricket Board announced on Thursday the player had suffered a recurrence of a stress fracture of his right elbow, confirmed by scans last week.

    "In response to these findings, [Archer] has been ruled out for the rest of the year and will miss the current LV= Insurance Test series against India, the ICC Men's T20 World Cup 2021 and the Ashes series in Australia," a statement explained.

    "The 26-year-old, who had an operation in May to remove a bone fragment from his elbow, returned to play last month.

    "As part of his return-to-bowling programme, he became aware of increasing discomfort in his elbow during matches for Sussex in the Vitality Blast and a 50-over friendly against Oxfordshire.

    "The operation is not related to the stress fracture that sidelined the player previously.

    "He will now spend time on an extended break from cricket before returning for a medical review in early autumn."

    England are already without all-rounder Ben Stokes for their ongoing Test series against India, as he is focusing on his mental wellbeing during an indefinite period away from the sport.

    Archer starred alongside Stokes for England at the 2019 Cricket World Cup, taking 20 wickets – tied for the third-most at the tournament – to help the hosts to their first title following a dramatic final.

    He was then handed his Test debut against Australia in the Ashes, collecting 22 wickets including a pair of five-fors and career-best figures of 6-45.

  • Bumrah and Shami demolish sorry England Bumrah and Shami demolish sorry England

    India's seamers ripped through an undercooked and ill-equipped England battling line-up to take charge on day one of the first Test at Trent Bridge.

    Joe Root won the toss and elected to bat on a Nottinghamshire surface that promised assistance to the seamers and the tourists took advantage with a masterful performance.

    Only Root offered any significant resistance with a fluent 64 as Jasprit Bumrah (4-46) and Mohammed Shami (3-28) excelled to skittle the hosts for 183.

    Rohit Sharma and KL Rahul guided India to 21 without loss at stumps, showing far more aptitude than England's top order.

     

    Rory Burns was brilliantly set up in a first over examination from Bumrah, who pushed deliveries across the left-hander before bringing one back in to trap him lbw – the first of four ducks on the England card.

    Virat Kohli's excitably erratic reviewing can prove a hindrance at times but he was vindicated in going upstairs to discover Zak Crawley, who appeared in good touch en route to 27, got a faint inside edge behind off Mohammed Siraj (1-48).

    Dom Sibley shovelled Shami to short midwicket in the second over after lunch to curtail a painstaking 18, uniting Root with his great friend Jonny Bairstow for a solid stand of 72 that suggested England might have got to grips with a considerable task.

    But Shami successfully reviewed to have Bairstow lbw for 29 on the stroke of tea and Dan Lawrence, Jos Buttler and Ollie Robinson all came and went without scoring around Root being trapped in front by Shardul Thakur (2-41).

    From 138-3, England had slumped to 155-8, whereupon a breezy 27 not out from Sam Curran offered some brief respite. Such moments might be few and far between in this series for Root's men on this evidence.

  • England v India: Bairstow set for another chance as undercooked hosts face tough task England v India: Bairstow set for another chance as undercooked hosts face tough task

    Jonny Bairstow looks set to get a chance to revive his Test career on Wednesday – against the very opponents who looked to have ended it earlier this year.

    England batsman Bairstow recorded three ducks in four innings as Joe Root's side fell to a 3-1 series loss in India and the Yorkshireman did not feature in the home red-ball series against New Zealand in June.

    However, he is back in the fold for the five-match rubber against Virat Kohli's men, which begins at Trent Bridge, and a thigh injury to Ollie Pope looks to have created an opening in the middle order.

    Ben Stokes' absence as the star all-rounder takes time out to look after his mental health and allow an injured finger to heal means Bairstow's experience might win the day over Dan Lawrence when it comes to deciding who should bat at number five below Root.

    The lack of Stokes also means Bairstow and Lawrence could both play, although that would see Root restricted to a four-man bowling attack.

    A greater degree of firepower will probably be required against a fine India side, although the tourists' strength in all departments has served to undermine their preparations.

    Opener Mayank Agarwal will miss the opening Test with concussion after being struck on the head by a Mohammed Siraj bouncer in the nets.

    Shubman Gill is already absent with a shin injury and vice-captain Ajinkya Rahane strongly suggested India would be loathe to move Cheteshwar Pujara up from his pivotal number three slot. It could mean Abhimanyu Easwaran stepping in to open despite not playing any first-class cricket for 15 months.

    Although far from an ideal scenario, the combination of a heavily loaded international schedule and the demands of quarantine and bio-secure bubbles means plenty of players – including much of England's brittle batting order – are heading into what should be an elite-level contest somewhat undercooked.

    England look to their Mr Dependable once more

    James Anderson's incredible career as the most prolific seam bowler in Test history looked to be reaching the end in 2019, when calf problems restricted him to just four overs in that year's Ashes series.

    Since then, he has claimed 42 wickets for England at 23, breaking through the 600-wicket barrier in the process. As pacemen Jofra Archer and Ollie Stone nurse their latest injuries, the 39-year-old Anderson remains as important to his country's prospects of success as ever.

    Preparation the key for Kohli

    Anderson resuming his duel with master batsman Kohli is once again sure to be a highlight of the series. The India captain has been in England with his squad for two months now, with the World Test Championship final defeat to New Zealand at least clearing the way for the sort of acclimatisation and preparation seldom enjoyed for away tours in the modern era.

    Kohli averages 35.63 in Tests in England, with two centuries and three centuries to his name in 11 matches. Although a perfectly respectable record, he would love to bring it closer to his returns in Australia – conditions that a haul of six centuries and four fifties (average 54.08) show he has unquestionably tamed.

© 2020 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.