Jonny smasher!

Pune, March 26

India were left shell-shocked by Jonny Bairstow (124) and Ben Stokes (99) as world champions England effortlessly chased down a mammoth 337-run target in the second ODI to level the three-match series 1-1 here tonight.

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 deserved hundred after a blazing 165-run stand with Bairstow. A mind-boggling 87 runs were scored between the 31st and 35th overs. Stokes and Bairstow shared 17 sixes between them.

After Roy’s dismissal, Stokes hit sixes for fun, 10 in total, to make the seemingly daunting task a rather comfortable one for the visitors.

Bairstow 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.

Rahul ton

India amassed 336/6 courtesy KL Rahul’s 108 off 114 balls and Rishabh Pant’s 77 off just 40, in which he hit seven sixers, after England opted to field first.

Rahul hit seven fours and two sixes in his 114-ball knock while Pant plundered seven sixes and three boundaries to help the hosts go well past the 300-run mark.

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 in to bat.

Opener Shikhar Dhawan (4) fell cheaply after he nicked a Reece Topley delivery to Ben Stokes in the slips. Kohli joined Rohit Sharma (25), who hit three boundaries off Topley (2/50). But in the next over, Curran (1/47) cut short his stay at the crease. Rohit flicked a full pitched delivery straight to Adil Rashid at short fine leg as India slipped to 37/2.

Kohli and Rahul kept the scoreboard ticking, completing a 100-run stand off 119 balls. However, Rashid (1/65) removed Kohli, caught by the wicketkeeper. Rahul then accelerated, relying on pulls and drives.

Pant pulled Rashid for his first six, and did not look back. Pant smacked successive sixes off Stokes in the 41st over, completing his second ODI fifty in 28 balls. After Rahul fell, Pant continued his six-hitting show with Hardik Pandya (35 off 16) joining in. India amassed 126 runs in the final 10 overs. — PTI

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