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Jonny Bairstow backs England to stick to aggressive approach in white-ball cricket

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Jonny Bairstow: “We had 87 runs in five overs; if you’re able to put together those overs back to back, you put yourself in a position to win the game more often than not. It was some good hitting, wasn’t it?”

Jonny Bairstow scored an 11th ODI century as England chased down 337 to beat India in the second ODI

Jonny Bairstow scored an 11th ODI century as England chased down 337 to beat India in the second ODI

Jonny Bairstow backed England to keep playing their aggressive brand of cricket after the tourists chased down 337 in just 43.3 overs to beat India in the second one-day international in Pune.

England struck 20 sixes in total in their innings, with Bairstow clearing the ropes seven times on his way to a brilliant 124, while Ben Stokes hit 10 maximums before falling for 99. Jason Roy (55) and debutant Liam Livingstone (27no) were the others to show off their range.

While their high-risk strategy comes with no guarantees – England having lost the series opener by 66 runs despite Bairstow getting the team off to a similarly spectacular start – he suggested the option would always be attractive to a side that define themselves by their aggression.

“There hasn’t been any conversation saying ‘we must hit more sixes’, it’s just happening that way,” Bairstow told reporters after Friday’s second ODI.

“But the way the game is going, be it 50-over cricket or T20 cricket, the team that hits the most boundaries generally wins the game. If you’re hitting them for six rather than four, you are going to win even more.

“We had hit 20 sixes, that’s an extraordinary number in one game. If we can keep hitting boundaries and putting bowlers under pressure, they know if they miss their length they could go for six.

“Executing won’t happen every single time, and people will get out doing it, but everyone in the dressing room is backing the person in the middle. If they want to hit the ball for six, they believe in everyone’s ability.”

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Despite being in the thick of things for the majority of the chase, even Bairstow admitted to losing track of the scoreboard as it spun round during the decisive phase where Stokes moved from 50 to 99 in the space of just 11 deliveries.

A look at the best shots from Jonny Bairstow’s 95-ball century in the second ODI

“I got told a couple of stats after the game and didn’t realise it was like that,” he said. “We had 87 runs in five overs; if you’re able to put together those overs back to back, you put yourself in a position to win the game more often than not. It was some good hitting, wasn’t it?

“The match-ups Ben decided to take down were the right match-ups and he struck it beautifully. There is a method, I promise you. We’re not just playing shots and slogging.”

After a blistering innings, Ben Stokes is dismissed one short of a century by Bhuvneshwar Kumar

For Jos Buttler, stand-in captain due to Eoin Morgan’s hand injury, the emphatic result was further vindication of the values which made England world champions in 2019 and have seen them sit atop the world rankings for the last
three years. Having avoided the possibility of a 3-0 whitewash, that status is now safe.

“I’m delighted with the response of the guys. I’m delighted we committed to the fashion we want to play our cricket,” Buttler said in the post-match presentation.

“Some people talked about our way and said ‘should we be smarter’. Of course we want to play smart at times but we always want to commit the brand of cricket we do play.”

Watch the third and final Twenty20 between India and England live on Sky Sports Cricket from 8.30am on Sunday. Don’t forget the clocks change on Sunday!

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