CUTTACK: Limited overs stalwarts Yuvraj Singh and Mahendra Singh Dhoni rolled back the years to smash scintillating centuries to help India secure a series-clinching 15-run victory in the second one-day international against England on Thursday.
England captain Eoin Morgan blasted a blistering 102 but could not take his team over the line as India prevailed in the thrilling run-fest to take an unassailable 2-0 lead in the three-match series.
Put into bat, India were reeling at 25 for three at Cuttack’s Barabati Stadium when Yuvraj and Dhoni, with the experience of 580 one-dayers between them, staged a spectacular recovery with an epic 256-run partnership spread over 38-odd overs.
The early dismissals of the openers or the rare failure of home captain Virat Kohli mattered little as Yuvraj and Dhoni exhibited the kind of shot-making which comes naturally to them.
Left-handed Yuvraj, one of the cleanest strikers of the ball, hammered a career-best 150 off 127 balls, a sizzling knock studded with 21 boundaries and three sixes.
Dhoni, who relinquished limited-overs captaincy earlier this month, made 134 off 122 balls, his 10th one-day century. His innings contained six sixes, including three in a Liam Plunkett over.
Paceman Chris Woakes emerged from the batting carnage with his reputation intact, having claimed four wickets as India posted a commanding 381-6.
In reply, England lost Alex Hales cheaply but Joe Root (54) and Jason Roy steadied the innings with a century stand.
India’s spin spearhead Ravichandran Ashwin (3-65) struck in his first over, dismissing Root, and England lost three more wickets, including that of Roy who made a brisk 82, to slump to 206-5.
Morgan raised 93 runs with Moeen Ali (55) to keep England in the chase and went on to complete his ninth ODI century, which contained five sixes, to inject fresh excitement into the contest.
Unfortunately for the tourists, Morgan was run out in the penultimate over and Bhuvneshwar Kumar sent down a tidy final over to restrict England to 366-8.
Kolkata hosts the third and final one-dayer on Sunday.