India vs England 2nd ODI: Yuvraj, Dhoni spectacle hands India series win

Yuvraj’s 14th ODI century was also his first since the 2011 World Cup

Image courtesy of: ESPNcricinfo

India’s veteran duo of Yuvraj Singh and Mahendra Singh Dhoni put on a show to remember as they scored 150 and 134 respectively to lead their side to a 15-run win over England in a high-scoring affair in Cuttack.

While the pair stole the spotlight and helped India clinch the series, England captain Eoin Morgan deserves a lot of credit for his valiant knock of 102, which marked his first ODI century since June 2015.

Opting to bowl first, England only had to wait until the 13th ball of the match to get a breakthrough as opener Lokesh Rahul was dismissed by Chris Woakes for five runs.

Captain Virat Kohli could only make eight runs, while Shikhar Dhawan scored 11 before they became Woakes’ second and third victims respectively.

With India in trouble at 25/3, Yuvraj and Dhoni kept England at bay with an incredible 256-run partnership, during which both batsmen surpassed their centuries.

In fact, Yuvraj even went on to bring up his 150, becoming just the sixth player and first Indian to do so in an ODI against England.

Furthermore, the two veteran players also put together the second-highest fourth-wicket partnership for India in ODI history. Mohammad Azharuddin and Ajay Jadeja still hold the record with their unbeaten 275-run stand against Zimbabwe in April 1998.

Yuvraj smashed a career-best 150 off 127 balls, which included 21 boundaries and three sixes, before he was caught behind off the bowling of Woakes.

Kedar Jadhav made a quickfire 22 before Dhoni was dismissed by Liam Plunkett for 134, which came off 122 deliveries and included 10 boundaries and six sixes.

Dhoni made his 10th ODI hundred

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Thanks to an unbeaten 19 from Hardik Pandya and 16 from Ravindra Jadeja, India finished on 381/6 off their 50 overs, which was the third-highest ODI total ever amassed against England in an ODI.

Woakes was the pick of the bowlers with four wickets, while Plunkett snapped up two.

Chasing 382 to win, England lost opening batsman Alex Hales early on, but Jason Roy and Joe Root steadied the innings with a 100-run partnership, during which both of them brought up their fifties.

Root was unable to push on though as he was sent packing by Ravichandran Ashwin for 54, which came off 55 balls and included eight boundaries.

Roy went on to make 82 off 73 deliveries, which included nine boundaries and two sixes, before he was clean bowled by Jadeja.

England began to wobble after Roy was gone as Ben Stokes and wicketkeeper Jos Buttler followed shortly after. However, Morgan and all-rounder Moeen Ali kept the tourists in contention with a 93-run stand.

Moeen was unable to convert his half-century into a bigger score as he was clean bowled by Bhuvneshwar Kumar for 55, which came off 43 balls and included six boundaries.

Woakes scored just five runs, while Morgan ended up making 102 off 81 deliveries, which included six boundaries and five sixes, before he was run out by Jasprit Bumrah.

Morgan’s ninth ODI century went in vain

Image courtesy of: ESPNcricinfo

With Morgan back in the pavilion, England eventually finished on 366/8 off their 50 overs.

Ashwin was the most successful bowler with three wickets, while Bumrah snapped up two and Kumar and Jadeja claimed one wicket each.

Morgan was gutted to have lost, and said: “We weren’t at our best again. It’s very disappointing to get so close and not over the line. Bowling to MS Dhoni and Yuvraj can be difficult. Your margin for error is quite small, you have to try and break the partnership. We showed a lot of fight. We believed we could chase it down. There’s a tremendous amount of belief but we didn’t quite have the skill.”

Kohli was delighted to have won the series, and said: “We were wondering if we had a good start where we would have ended up…it wasn’t good batting. Two of the greats stood up. Getting 381 from 25 for 3 was outstanding. We knew we’d get wickets at some stage or the other but we bowled at the more difficult part of the day. The guys showed really good character. We pulled it back nicely in the end.

“Having won the series, just before the Champions Trophy, the key will be for us to express ourselves and work out what is the best opening partnership. Two guys who had a really good Test series [Jadeja and Ashwin] stepped up and had we not picked up those wickets I don’t know where the game would have gone. I’d say we are only at 75% of our potential.”

Yuvraj was named Man of the Match, and said: “In the domestic season I’ve been hitting the ball well. Me and MS understood the situation, we had to start again. I was trying to hit the ball down the ground and once we got going I thought we started to attack at the right time. We just wanted to get one partnership going then we were able to play a lot of shots.

“We were thinking 340-350. It’s probably by best innings. I started as a lower-order batsman, the higher you bat the more balls you get to play – 150 was a target for me. I wanted to prove a point to myself. I knew it was coming. Diet has been the key, when you pass 30 you have to work harder at your fitness.”

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