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Indian skipper Virat Kohli and Prasidh Krishna during the second ODI between India and England at the Maharashtra Cricket Association Stadium in Pune March 26. (BCCI/ANI photo)

PUNE, India — Jonny Bairstow hit a century and Ben Stokes missed out on one by a whisker March 26 as England beat India by six wickets in their second one-day international to level the three-match series at 1-1.

Set a stiff target of 337, Bairstow made 124 and Stokes was out for 99 in England’s determined run-chase of 337-4 in 43.3 overs. The duo hit 17 sixes and 14 boundaries between them and shared a partnership of 175 runs off 113 balls.

Earlier, after being put into bat, India reached its total of 336-6 in large part due to Lokesh Rahul’s fifth ODI hundred and Rishabh Pant, who hit seven sixes in his aggressive 77 off 40 balls.

“Delighted with the response of the guys,” England stand-in captain Jos Buttler said. “The openers have been a pillar of our strength for a long period of time. Delighted for Jonny (Bairstow) and that partnership with Ben Stokes was brilliant to watch, as a fellow player and a fan.”

Bairstow orchestrated England’s fifth best successful run-chase in an ODI with a second straight century-opening stand with Jason Roy (55).

The 110-run partnership set the tone before Roy was run out in a mix-up with Bairstow in the 17th over.

Stokes took his time to reach 50 off 40 balls but then smacked a flurry of sixes while facing India spinners Kuldeep Yadav (0-84) and Krunal Pandya (0-72) as the left-hander moved to 99 off the next 11 deliveries.

Bairstow reached his century with a six over midwicket against Yadav but Stokes missed out on a century when he gloved a pull shot against Bhuvneshwar Kumar to the wicketkeeper.

Prasidh Krishna (2-58) then took two wickets in the space of four balls, having Bairstow caught in the covers and then clean bowling Buttler for a duck with a superb yorker.

But debutant Liam Livingstone (27 not out), who replaced injured captain Eoin Morgan, and Dawid Malan (21), who replaced Sam Billings, ensured England cruised to victory with 39 balls to spare.

“We didn’t execute too well but I thought they batted brilliantly tonight,” Indian captain Virat Kohli said. “They totally blew us away during that partnership of Jonny (Bairstow) and Ben Stokes. We didn’t even have a chance during that partnership.”

India’s innings were held together by Rahul, who followed his unbeaten half century in the first ODI with 108 off 114 balls and anchored India’s total with two strong century stands.

India lost both openers — Rohit Sharma (25) and Shikhar Dhawan (4) — to England seamers before Rahul and Kohli (66) put the innings back on track with a 121-run stand.

Adil Rashid broke the stand in the 32nd over when he had Kohli caught behind as the India skipper tried to cut the leg-spinner.

Pant, who replaced the injured Shreyas Iyer in the playing XI, and Rahul then put on a brisk 113-run partnership with the left-handed Pant dominating England’s bowling throughout his powerful stint.

England’s Curran brothers — Tom (2-83) and Sam (1-47) — proved costly late in the game with India scoring 126 runs off the last 10 overs for the loss of only three wickets.

Rahul, who was criticized after scoring only 15 runs in four Twenty20s, completed his century off 108 balls with a single against Sam Curran in the 44th over before holing out at deep midwicket in Tom Curran’s next over.

Tom Curran also had Pant caught in the deep, but not before the left-hander slammed two successive sixes against the right-arm fast bowler.

Hardik Pandya (35 off 16 balls) lifted the total with his late cameo after Buttler couldn’t hold onto a thick edge when the batsman was on 21.

India won the first match by 66 runs. The series deciding game will be played on March 28.

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