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Top Performer: Bairstow's ton powers England to victory

March 27, 2021 09:18 IST
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Jonny Bairstow

IMAGE: Jonny Bairstow celebrates his centurY during the second ODI against India in Pune on Friday, March 26, 2021. Photograph: BCCI

Jonny Bairstow hit a magnificent century as England overpowered India by six wickets in a high-scoring contest to level the three-match at 1-1 in Pune on Friday.

Bairstow's dismissal for 94 in the first match saw England lose their way, but this time the opener ensured he got the century while also putting England on course for victory.

Chasing a huge 337 for victory, the odds were heavily stacked against England, who stumbled in their run-chase in the series opener.

It was not the usual England approach of going on the attack from the start. Openers Bairstow and Jason Roy took their time to get going as just 17 came from the first five overs.

Roy broke the shackles with five fours in the space of nine deliveries off Prasidh Krishna and Bhuvneshwar Kumar.

Bairstow looked in no hurry in the early overs. While Roy raced to his fifty from 48 balls, Bairstow was content to play second fiddle, scoring 28 from 37 balls, at the other end.

It was not long before Bairstow himself got into the thick of things. He made his intent clear as he lofted Shardul Thakur for a straight six over mid-on and clipped the next ball over square leg for the same result.

Another straight six off spinner Kuldeep Yadav saw Bairstow get to his fifty from 45 balls, hitting 22 from the last seven deliveries.

Ben Stokes played positively from the start, allowing Bairstow to hold one end up and make sure they did not lose any wickets in the middle overs.

He swung Kuldeep for a huge six over midwicket to take his score into the 90s and another maximum in the spinner's next over saw the opener bring up his century from 95 balls.

Stokes stole the show with his belligerent hitting as he smashed the spinners to all around the park, hitting 48 from two overs off Kuldeep and Krunal Pandya to put England in control.

Bairstow nearly settled the deal as he smashed Prasidh Krishna for a six and two fours in the 35th over. He fell to the same bowler in his next over, caught in the covers after a superb 124 from 112 balls, hitting 11 fours and seven sixes.

Bairstow and Stokes put the match beyond India's reach with their aggressive 175-run stand for the second wicket.

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