Their batting unit made amends from the previous game and produced a masterclass chase of 337 runs. Indian bowlers were rendered clueless by Stokes and Bairstow as they exhibited power-hitting skills of the highest order.
The series will now culminate on Sunday when both sides square off in the decider in Pune. The match promises to be a cracker of a contest as both teams look to be in marauding batting form.
Skipper Virat Kohli's bad luck with the toss continued in the ODI series as he lost the toss for the second game running. That meant Indian bowlers were at a disadvantage due to the dew factor.
The ultra-aggressive English batters needed no second invitations on this front. They reaped the benefit of this advantage by ruthlessly attacking both spinners, Kuldeep Yadav and Krunal Pandya. Their relentless onslaught during the 2nd ODI resulted in the spinners conceding 156 runs in just 16 overs.
This has been the trend during most of England's ODI matches over the last five years. The Indian team management should look into this aspect carefully and devise a plan to control the innings while bowling to this new generation of English players.
Virat Kohli might make a few changes to the bowling line-up for the series decider. Kuldeep Yadav and Krunal Pandya might be the players under the scanner after two below-par performances with the ball.
Natarajan and Yuzvendra Chahal are the frontrunners to replace the duo in the upcoming game. That might mean India will lose the finishing prowess of Krunal Pandya at the death. But to have a chance of restricting the daunting English batting line-up, India will need five proper bowlers in their line-up.
On the batting front, the batsmen need to take the additional responsibility and produce the goods in the must-win encounter. The toss has become a decisive factor in day-night white-ball games in India over the years because of the dew factor.
India possesses a stellar record while chasing in ODI's at home. But setting-up a total against the devastating English batting line-up is a tricky task, as was evident in both matches in the series.
If Team India has to bat first again on Sunday, then the batsmen must gauge the conditions as quickly as possible and go for a lofty total, keeping the opposition in mind.
Stats of India's current batsmen when batting first in ODI's at home
- Virat Kohli: Matches - 42 | Runs - 1987 | HS - 157* | Average - 50.94 | Strike rate -93.72 | 100's - 7 | 50's - 12
- Rohit Sharma: Matches - 29 | Runs - 1633 | HS - 264 | Average - 60.48 | Strike rate -109.23 | 100's - 6 | 50's - 2
- Shikhar Dhawan: Matches - 21 | Runs - 887 | HS - 143 | Average - 42.23 | Strike rate - 94.56 | 100's - 2 | 50's - 5
- KL Rahul: Matches - 8 | Runs - 436 | HS - 108 | Average - 62.28 | Strike rate - 102.58 | 100's - 2 | 50's - 2
- Rishabh Pant: Matches - 6 | Runs - 268 | HS - 77 | Average - 44.66 | Strike rate - 137.43 | 100's - 0 | 50's - 2
- Hardik Pandya: Matches - 9 | Runs - 200 | HS - 83 | Average - 25 | Strike rate - 122.69 | 100's - 0 | 50's - 1
The lynchpins of the Indian batting line-up, Rohit Sharma and Virat Kohli, have an excellent record while batting first in ODI's in India. Cricket enthusiasts around the globe will hope for notable contributions from both stalwarts on Sunday.
KL Rahul has a good record in this context and is also the man in form. The team management will bank on him to maximize the run-scoring in the middle phase of the game.
We are in for a riveting finale to this series as India will want to continue their unbeaten series run in 2021. Meanwhile, the World Champions will want to defeat India in their backyard and further cement their legacy as the best white-ball cricket team of this generation.