Indian skipper Virat Kohli has tipped his hat to Ben Stokes and Jonny Bairstow, who led England to a 6-wicket victory in the 2nd ODI. Virat Kohli lauded the duo for not giving India even a sniff of breaking their 175-run stand and labeled it one of the best partnerships while chasing a total.
Jonny Bairstow (124 off 112 balls) notched his 11th international hundred while Ben Stokes (99 off 52) fell one short of a well-deserved ton. The Indian bowlers, especially the spinners, were left wanting answers as the duo took them to cleaners with some clinical hitting all around the park.
Speaking at the post-match presentation, Virat Kohli called India's total of 336 'decent'. He, however, admitted that it was dwarfed by England's flawless stand for the 2nd wicket.
"I think we set up quite a decent total. It was going to be challenging if we stayed in the game for long periods. We started off well with the new ball, with our lines and lengths but England found a way to hang on and got a century partnership. I thought they batted brilliantly tonight. Yes, we did not execute somethings that we wanted to but that was some of the best hittings that you'll ever see while chasing a total. You have to give credit where it's due and they totally blew us away with the partnership of Jonny and Ben Stokes. We never had a chance during their partnership that's how good they were," said Virat Kohli.
Bhuvneshwar Kumar broke the stand by getting rid of Ben Stokes in the 35th over. But it was too little too late, as by then England required just 52 runs, which they achieved with 39 balls to spare.
"England deserved to win convincingly" - Virat Kohli
Speaking further, Virat Kohli clarified that the conditions weren't drastically better for the chasing side in Pune. He attributed the 'convincing' win to a combination of English batsmen's intent and a lack of execution from the hosts.
"I don't think dew any role in the 2nd half at all. The ball wan't difficult to hold. Yes, maybe the wicket settled a bit better but that's no excuse. We just defended a score two days ago. When two of the world's best team are against each other one of them is going to come on top convincingly. Last time we cameback and dominated after the first couple of wickets. And tonight, we know how England can play and when they get on the game, the kind of intent they have, its very difficult to bounceback," said Virat Kohli.
"Tonight was a case of lack of execution at different stages but at the same time they gave us nothing at all in the partnership which is quite rare to play at such a high strike-rate and not give any chances. It has to be display of quality batting and they deserved to be winning convincingly tonight."
The series is perfectly poised for a cracking decider. The 3rd and final ODI will be hosted by the same venue at the same time on March 28.