India skipper Virat Kohli had no qualms in admitting that his team was blown away by some “amazing batting” from Jonny Bairstow and Ben Stokes as England chased down 337 with consummate ease to level the three-match ODI series.
Put in to bat, India posted 336 for six but Bairstow and Stokes butchered the Indian bowlers, adding 175 runs off 117 balls, as England gunned down the target in just 43.3 overs.
Indian spinners Krunal Pandya and Kuldeep Yadav were at the receiving end of the English onslaught as the former conceded 28 runs in a single over.
The damage of the Stokes-Bairstow partnership was so severe that despite India picking up three wickets in succession, it barely caused England any problems in completing the chase.
Kohli admitted that his bowlers didn’t execute their plans well but felt the batting on show was just of a different class.
“I think we set quite a decent total on the board. It was going to be challenging if we stayed in the game for long periods. I think we started off really well with the new ball but still England found a way to get a 100 run partnership,” Kohli said.
“We didn’t execute too well but I thought they batted brilliantly tonight. It was some of the most amazing batting you’ll see when chasing. They totally blew us away during that partnership of Jonny and Ben Stokes. We didn’t even have a chance during that partnership.”
Asked if dew played a role, Kohli said: “I don’t think the dew played any role at all. The ball wasn’t difficult to hold. You could say the wicket settles down a bit under lights but that’s no excuse.
“When two of the best teams in the world collide, one of them is going to win convincingly. Last time we came back. This time England didn’t give us anything at all.
“It’s quite rare that if you play with that strike rate and give no chances. It shows the quality of batting.”
Kohli, however, was happy with the batting effort of his team, especially centurion KL Rahul (108 off 114), Rishabh Pant (77 off just 40) and Hardik Pandya (35 off 16).
“We lost two wickets early on and needed a partnership. That happened with KL and myself. KL carried on, really happy for him. Then Rishabh changed the game, and Hardik finished it off as well,” said the India skipper, who scored 66 off 79.
‘Never played for hundreds’
Kohli has been scoring crucial fifties in the ongoing white-ball series but a century has eluded him so far.
Asked if he ever gave it a thought, Kohli said: “I never played for 100s in my life, that’s probably why I ended up getting so many (70) in such little time.
“It’s all about contributing to the team cause. If the team doesn’t win when you get three figures it doesn’t mean anything. You’re not going to sit back at the end of your career and look at numbers, it’s more about how you played the game.”
Stuck to our values: Buttler
England skipper Jos Buttler was delighted at the way his team made a comeback after losing the opening ODI by 66 runs.
“I think the most pleasing thing for us as a team is we didn’t go away from our values as a team. We were bitterly disappointed after the first ODI,” he said.
“Great chase and happy we were able to go over the line fairly easily despite India putting up a big total.”
Buttler said his team didn’t move away from their brand of aggressive cricket despite the loss.
“Better wicket to be honest but we don’t really fear any totals to be honest. It could have been easy to rein ourselves in after the last game but from a personal and team point of view, it was important to play as we do,” he said.
Adjudged Man of the Match for his 112-ball 124, Jonny Bairstow said it was good to get to three figures after missing out the last time.
“Disappointed to miss out in the last game, delighted to get over the line in this one,” said the England opener, who had scored 94 in the first ODI.
“The thought process was the same like the last game, exactly the same game plan. Ben played some entertaining strokes down the ground, Jason (Roy) was going all guns blazing at the top.
“They bowled well at the start, especially Bhuvi. The relationship we (Bairstow and Roy) got at the top of the order is great, hopefully, it continues. The shot I played over deep cover, I enjoyed that the most.”
With PTI inputs