Root century sets up England’s series-levelling win over India
LONDON: Joe Root’s composed hundred laid the platform for England’s 86-run win over India in the second one-day international at Lord’s on Saturday.
Victory saw 2019 World Cup hosts England, first in the ODI rankings to India’s second, level the three-match series at 1-1 ahead of Tuesday’s finale at Headingley — Root’s Yorkshire home ground.
Root’s 113, allied to fifties from white-ball captain Eoin Morgan and David Willey, guided England to 322 for seven.
This was significantly more than their 268 all out during an eight-wicket loss in Thursday’s series-opener at Trent Bridge and meant even India’s powerful batting line-up faced a degree of scoreboard pressure.
England’s pacemen then followed up by reducing India to 60 for three before they were all out for 236, with fast bowler Liam Plunkett taking four for 46.
Root’s innings was his first international hundred of the English season and the Test captain told Sky Sports: “I’ve felt pretty good throughout this summer, felt like I’ve been doing the right things in practice and it was just about trying to trust myself as much as possible, not over-complicate things, and cash in if I got the opportunity. Fortunately that happened today.”
Meanwhile, a delighted one-day skipper Morgan added: “I thought we bounced back really well.
“Our challenges against spin at Trent Bridge, I thought we learnt from it today on a very similar surface, if not more difficult. Joe Root set things up, David Willey also played a crucial knock at the end. And our all-round bowling performance was key.”
India captain Virat Kohli said the loss of three top-order wickets in quick succession “really hurt us”.
Rohit Sharma, fresh from back-to-back hundreds, including a superb 137 not out on Thursday, and Shikhar Dhawan shared a brisk first-wicket stand of 49.
But England were gifted a breakthrough when Sharma (15) was bowled by fast bowler Mark Wood after an ugly slog across the line.
Dhawan made a rapid 36, including six fours, before carving a wide ball from left-arm quick Willey to Ben Stokes at backward point.
KL Rahul then fell for a duck when he was brilliantly caught by wicket-keeper Jos Buttler, who dived low to his left to hold an inside edge off Plunkett.
India now needed either Kohli, one of the world’s leading batsmen, or Suresh Raina to make a big score, but instead they each fell in the 40s.
Kohli’s patient 45, featuring just two fours, ended when he played across the line to a Moeen Ali off-break that kept low and was plumb lbw.
With the run-rate climbing, leg-spinner Adil Rashid bowled Raina for 46 with a ball that spun past the left-hander’s intended sweep.
And when Buttler, diving well down the legside, caught the big-hitting Hardik Pandya (21) off Plunkett, India were deep in trouble at 191 for six with 11 overs left.
With India’s situation increasingly desperate, MS Dhoni played an oddly sedate innings of 37 before he holed out off Plunkett, with Yuzvendra Chahal dismissed off the last ball of India’s 50 overs.
Root shows his class
England fans among a packed crowd at a sunny Lord’s might have feared the worst when India left-arm wrist-spinner Kuldeep Yadav, who finished with stunning figures of six for 25 at Trent Bridge, again took early wickets.
As he had done in Nottingham, Kuldeep struck with the second ball of his first over but this time his final figures were a more modest three for 68 after again removing openers Jonny Bairstow (38) and Jason Roy (40).
Kuldeep had taken two for nine in 12 balls and England were now 86 for two.
But the watchful Root, who was dropped for the final match of the preceding Twenty20 series, and Morgan kept Kuldeep at bay.
Root went on to complete a 109-ball century and then hoisted Pandya for six over midwicket.
Willey has not had many chances to showcase his batting ability in a strong England side.
But he took his opportunity on Saturday with a maiden ODI fifty off just 30 balls, including five fours and a six, before Root was run out off the last ball of the innings.