Pune (Maharashtra) [India], March 26 (ANI): After a six-wicket loss against England in the second ODI here at the Maharashtra Cricket Association Stadium on Friday, India skipper Virat Kohli admitted that the side failed to execute plans at certain stages but also added that visitors didn’t give them anything to come back in the match.
Jonny Bairstow and Ben Stokes played knocks of 124 and 99 respectively as England defeated India with 39 balls to spare in the second ODI to level the three-match series 1-1. The decider will now be played on Sunday.
Chasing 337, England did not break a sweat as Stokes and Bairstow shared a 175-run stand for the second wicket. The partnership saw the left-handed Stokes taking a special liking to spinners Krunal Pandya and Kuldeep Yadav.
“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. We did falter a bit at times but mostly, that was some of the best hitting that you’ll ever see. We never had a chance during their partnership (Stokes-Bairstow), that’s how good they were,” Kohli told host broadcaster Star Sports in the post-match presentation.
“Don’t think dew was much of a factor. Maybe the wicket settled a bit better but that’s no excuse. We just defended a score two days ago. Tonight was a case of lack of execution at certain stages but they didn’t give us anything. It’s rare to play at such a high strike-rate and not give any chances,” he added.
When asked about why all-rounder Hardik Pandya did not bowl in the ODI series so far, Kohli said: “We need to manage his (Hardik) body. Need to understand where we need this skill set. Did utilise him in the T20Is but in the ODIs, it’s about managing his workload. We have Test cricket in England coming up too. So it’s important for us to have him fit.”
Earlier, riding on the platform set by centurion KL Rahul and Rishabh Pant, India scored 63 runs in the last five overs to finish on 336/6 in the allotted 50 overs. While Rahul hit a classy 108 off 114 balls, it was all about brutal power for Pant as he hit a 40-ball 77 with seven hits out of the park.
India was placed comfortably at 210/3 after the completion of 40 overs. But the duo ensured that the hosts hit overdrive mode and picked 126 runs in the last 10 as the England bowlers had no clue on the length to bowl.
“We lost two wickets early, needed a partnership and that happened between KL and myself. KL got a big score, really happy for him. And then Rishabh changed the game there. We thought that 300 would be a great effort but getting those 35 extra runs was good. Pleased to see these youngsters coming and doing well,” Kohli said.
When asked about his century drought Kohli said: “I never played for hundreds in my life, probably why I ended up getting so many in such a short while. It’s more important for the team to win. If I get a three-figure score and the team doesn’t win, it means nothing.” (ANI)

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