Ton-up Bairstow puts England in charge of crunch India match


LONDON: Jonny Bairstow put his spat with Michael Vaughan behind him to score a hundred that left England well-placed in their key World Cup match against India at Edgbaston on Sunday.

The dynamic opener made 111, his eighth one-day international century, in a match England had to win to keep semi-final qualification in their own hands.

Earlier, Bairstow and Jason Roy, back from a torn hamstring, put on 160 — the highest first-wicket partnership of the tournament — after England captain Eoin Morgan won the toss in sunny conditions on a good batting pitch.

England came into this match with their hopes of emerging out of the 10-team round-robin phase in the balance after back-to-back defeats by Sri Lanka and champions Australia that followed an earlier loss to Pakistan.

The tournament hosts, looking to win the World Cup for the first time, had badly missed Roy in their last two matches.

Roy, however, was quickly into his stride, with the Surrey star chopping his second ball from Mohammed Shami for four, then drilling wide of mid off for another boundary.

Bairstow, involved in a pre-match war of words with former England captain Vaughan after suggesting pundits wanted England to lose, had two lucky breaks when big inside edges missed the stumps.

India captain Virat Kohli brought on leg-spinner Yuzvendra Chahal in the sixth over but Bairstow soon hit him down the ground.

Jasprit Bumrah, the world’s top-ranked ODI bowler, was proving tough to get away.

Roy could have been out on 21 when India all-rounder Hardik Pandya appealed for a caught behind down the legside off his fourth delivery.

But Pakistani umpire Aleem Dar signalled a wide instead and Kohli opted against a review, although replays suggested the ball had touched Roy’s glove.

Roy’s response was to hit Pandya’s next ball for six.

Bairstow completed a 56-ball fifty when he launched Chahal for a six that just cleared the back-pedalling KL Rahul at long-on, the fielder landing awkwardly as he made a desperate attempt at a catch.

Roy then followed his opening partner to the landmark in just 41 balls before, on 66, Ravindra Jadeja, the substitute for Rahul, ran in from long-on to hold a low diving catch.

Bairstow twice more clubbed Chahal over long-on for six and handed out similar treatment to Kuldeep Yadav before deftly reverse-sweeping the left-arm wrist-spinner for four.

A single off Pandya saw Bairstow to a 90 ball-hundred, including eight fours and six sixes. The batsman celebrated by removing his helmet and slowly punching the air.

But Bairstow’s innings ended on 111 when the Yorkshireman carved Shami to Rishabh Pant at deep cover to leave his side 205-2 in the 32nd over.

As well as recalling Roy, England brought back paceman Liam Plunkett in place of off-spinner Moeen Ali.

Meanwhile India — needing just one win from their three remaining group games to secure a semi-final place — preferred batsman Pant to all-rounder Vijay Shankar.