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Bairstow tells India “it just happened” after England’s 20 sixes blow the hosts away

Jonny Bairstow said England backs its batsmen to go for big hits after he and Ben Stokes led the team’s successful chase of 337 in the second one-day international against India, an innings which featured 20 sixes.

Baristow, who made 124, and Stokes, who hit 99 off 52 balls, put on 175 for the second wicket and smashed 17 sixes between them to help England win by six wickets in 43.3 overs and level the three-match series at 1-1 in Pune.

The England innings witnessed a total of 20 hits over the fence in comparison to India’s 14 in their score of 336-6. “To be honest it’s just happening that way. There hasn’t been a conversation saying we must hit more sixes,” said man of the match Bairstow.

“But I think if you look at games going around the world whether that be T20s or 50-over cricket, the team that hits the most boundaries wins the game.”

He added: “We hit 20 sixes, that’s an extraordinary number in one game. We know 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.”

Bairstow and Jason Roy, who made 55, set up the chase in their opening stand of 110 to take the attack to the Indian bowlers. The right-left batting pair of Bairstow and Stokes went into over-drive between overs 31 and 35 with the England total shooting from 194 to 281.

“I got told a couple of stats after the game and didn’t realise it was like that,” said Bairstow, who recorded his 11th ODI ton. “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.”

India skipper Virat Kohli praised the England pyrotechnics. “It was some of the most amazing batting you’ll see when chasing,” said Kohli. “They totally blew us away during that partnership of Jonny and Ben Stokes. We didn’t even have a chance during that partnership.”


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