India vs England 2nd ODI: Liam Plunkett, Joe Root Shine as England Thrash India to Level Series at Lord’s

Batsman Joe Root and pacer Liam Plunkett were the stand-out performers for England as the hosts outplayed India by 86 runs to level the three-match series 1-1 at Lord’s Cricket Ground on Sunday. Plunkett picked up a four-for which bundled out the visitors 236 after Root came back to form with a blistering hundred for the home side.

The hosts dominated in all the departments of the game – be it batting, bowling or fielding to take the three-match rubber into a decider on July 17 at Headingley. Earlier in the first ODI, India had thrashed England by eight wickets at Trent Bridge to start the series on a winning note.

The only bright spot for India was – former captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni completing two personal milestones during the game by completing 10,000 runs and 300 catches in the ODI format. The 37-year old veteran joined the likes of Sachin Tendulkar, Sourav Ganguly and Rahul Dravid as the only Indians reach the 10K mark in the limited-overs format.

Dhoni is currently on 10,004 ODI runs. Sachin tops the list among Indians with 18,426 runs, Ganguly is second with 11,221 while Dravid is third at 10,768.

Chasing a challenging target of 323 to win the series, the men in blue never really managed to get off the blocks and kept losing momentum after a decent opening stand of 49 between Rohit Sharma and Shikhar Dhawan.

The visitors kept losing wickets at regular intervals and some poor shot selection also titled the match in favour of the Three Lions. Some probing line and length and incisive English bowling also didn’t really allow the Indians to get away with the chase. Pacer Liam Plunkett was among the pick of the bowlers for the hosts as he finished with figures of figures of 4/46.

The bit of resistance by the visitors was produced by skipper Virat Kohli and Suresh Raina, who came up with a fighting partnership of 80 runs off 97 deliveries.

But once Moeen Ali had broken the stand by clinching the prized wicket of Kohli, it was all downhill for the Indians. Soon Adil Rashid bowled Raina, who top-scored for India with 46 runs.

Earlier, Joe Root spearheaded a strong batting effort with an unbeaten century to help England post a challenging total.

Although a disciplined Indian bowling attack jolted the hosts at regular intervals, Root kept England sailing as he was involved in a couple of valuable partnerships with Eoin Morgan and David Willey, both of whom posted half-centuries.

Opting to bat first, openers Jason Roy (40) and Jonny Bairstow (38) started cautiously as England crossed the 50-run mark in 7.2 overs. Last match’s hero Kuldeep Yadav drew the first blood for India as he broke the 69-run opening stand in the 11th over, with the wrist spinner sending back Bairstow before dismissing his partner – Roy in the 15th over, leaving England at 86/2.

He finished up with figures of 3/68 runs while Umesh Yadav, Yuzvendra Chahal and Hardik Pandya scalped a wicket each.

Root and Morgan stablised the England innings in middle overs with a 103-run partnership for the third wicket. Morgan produced a steady innings, scoring 53 runs off 51 deliveries as England inched towards the 200-run mark.

Once again, it was Kuldeep who gave the third blow to the hosts, sending back the England skipper in the 31st over, with the scorecard reading 189/3. Morgan’s knock was laced with four boundaries and a six.

Despite losing three wickets with the addition of another 50 runs, Root kept England’s scorecard ticking as he forged an 83-run partnership with David Willey. Willey produced handy cameo, he smashed 50 runs off 31 balls before being stumped in the final ball of England’s innings.

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