England opener Jonny Bairstow notched up his 11th ODI ton while all-rounder Ben Stokes produced a blistering 52-ball 99 to power England to a comprehensive series-levelling in the second ODI on Saturday in Pune.
After reaching his half-century, Stokes hit sixes for fun, stitching a blazing 165-run stand with Bairstow to make things easier for England. He, however, missed out on a deserving hundred after producing a blazing knock at the Maharashtra Cricket Association Stadium.
"We were bitterly disappointed in the first game with the way we played in the chase, but it was pretty clear that we were going out with the same intent as we always do," Stokes said after the game.
"Great chase, really happy that we managed to get over the line easily especially when India set a challenging total," he added.
Stokes hit 10 sixes in total to make the run-chase a rather comfortable one for the touring party. As Stokes made his way back on 99, he was seen looking up to the sky, saying "sorry” to his late father. Stokes' father, Ged, had passed away last year after a battle with brain cancer. As a tribute to his father, Stokes has shown the folded middle finger gesture many a time.
"From a personal point and the team's point of view, it was great that were able to go out and express ourselves. We speak about match-ups in our changing room, I took the decision if the spinners come on, it was my match-up to take the risk and just let Jonny keep doing his thing. He's in unbelievable form at the moment, you don't need to be talking too much to him. It's all about picking your match-ups.
"The amount of runs that they (Roy and Bairstow) have scored is obviously amazing. But if you look at the way they have scored, it makes it even better. Their strike-rate is the best in the world in my opinion and will be really hard to beat going forward."
"Having those two at the top of the order to set the tone is fantastic. It's always good going to the last game when the series is on whoever wins that," added the swashbuckling all-rounder