Ollie Robinson has been recalled for England's first two Tests against India, with Jonny Bairstow and Ben Stokes also named in the 17-man squad.

Robinson impressed on debut against New Zealand at Lord's in June, taking seven wickets.

But during the match, historic Twitter posts of a racist and sexist nature made by the 27-year-old Sussex seamer emerged and, following an investigation, he was handed an eight-match ban and fined £3,200 for breaking England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) directives.

Five of the eight games were suspended for two years and Robinson served the others while his case was examined.

He comes back into the fold as captain Joe Root heads into the five-match series, which begins at Trent Bridge on August 4, without Jofra Archer and Chris Woakes due to respective elbow and heel injuries.

Bairstow will provide wicketkeeping cover for Jos Buttler – another player to return having missed the New Zealand series following India Premier League commitments, along with all-rounder Sam Curran – and could also push for a place as a specialist batsman given the meagre efforts of England's middle order in the 1-0 loss to the Black Caps.

 

Stokes played through the pain in the recent ODI series win over Pakistan, returning ahead of schedule from a broken finger to captain a scratch team after a COVID-19 forced all of the initially selected squad into isolation.

James Bracey drops out after two consecutive ducks and a tough examination with the gloves on his maiden venture in the longest format, and there is no place for Dawid Malan.

Haseeb Hameed will again provide an alternative to out-of-form number three Zak Crawley, although Bairstow also filled that slot away from home earlier this year. Following some promising contributions in Sri Lanka he registered three noughts in four outings against India.

All of the England players allocated to franchises in the new Hundred competition will play in the first two matches before joining up with the Test squad.

Bairstow's mooted return to the Test setup brought thinly veiled irritation on Tuesday from Welsh Fire head coach Gary Kirsten, who was hoping to have the Yorkshireman available for the majority of the campaign.

Speaking to talkSPORT, former South Africa opener Kirsten said: "We're hearing that Jonny Bairstow, who we've designated as our captain, is now suddenly becoming a Test cricketer again. So we could have him for maybe one or two games"

 

England squad: Joe Root (capt), James Anderson, Jonny Bairstow, Dom Bess, Stuart Broad, Rory Burns, Jos Buttler, Zak Crawley, Sam Curran, Haseeb Hameed, Dan Lawrence, Jack Leach, Ollie Pope, Ollie Robinson, Dom Sibley, Ben Stokes, Mark Wood

England's second string have "done themselves a world of good" with their performances in the ODI series against Pakistan, says captain Eoin Morgan.

Ben Stokes returned early from an injury lay-off to captain a hastily assembled side in the three-match series after England's first-choice squad were forced to isolate due to a coronavirus outbreak.

However, with Morgan and Co watching on from the sidelines, England's back-up brigade impressed in a 3-0 series triumph – James Vince scoring his maiden ODI century as he led a record run chase at Edgbaston to secure the third victory.

England's star names have returned for the T20I series, which starts on Friday, though Saqib Mahmood, who was named player of the series, and Lewis Gregory have been rewarded for their performances.

"They've done themselves the world of good, to be honest," Morgan said when asked of the players who stepped up to fulfil the ODI series.

"The one thing you look at when guys come in and out is a marked improvement from the time they [first] get the opportunity to the time the next opportunity arrives. The two guys mentioned [Mahmood and Gregory] and Vince were outstanding.

"I think everybody within the group was extremely proud to watch them play like they did, simply because it's the biggest compliment you can pay to anybody who played in the World Cup group, and the way we've played in the last five years has had such an impact on the game.

"Guys recognise that opportunities are few and far between but, when they do come, the method that the team plays is starting to resonate with people around the country, which is great.

"Over the last six years, with the amount of cricket we play, you don't get to enjoy the cricket as much as you'd like. But sitting back and watching the guys [and] the way the guys played was hugely satisfying. They played an exciting brand of cricket, they really enjoyed themselves, and the result came with that. It was hugely beneficial."

 

England have triumphed in five of their past six T20I home outings, and finished 2020 with three successive wins, meaning a victory at Trent Bridge will match their longest winning run on home soil in the format.

However, Pakistan won the most recent meeting between the teams last September, a five-run victory in Manchester in a series which finished 1-1.

One player Morgan will be unable to call on is Stokes, who has been rested as he recovers from the finger injury which had been set to keep him out of white-ball action this month.

"He dug us out of a huge hole coming back early from his injury and I think leading the way he did is a huge compliment to the leader he is within our side, how mature he has been as a leader and now a captain," Morgan said of Stokes.

"We gave him every chance to be fit. He hasn't played a lot of cricket and he's had some 'R and R' at home and feels quite fresh.

"The finger hasn't come along as he and the medical team would have liked, so it's important it's as good as it can be for the Test matches against India."

Ben Stokes hailed England's hastily assembled squad after James Vince's maiden ODI century inspired a clean-sweep sealing victory over Pakistan.

England's preparation for the three-match home series was thrown into chaos last week when Eoin Morgan's first-choice squad were forced into isolation due to a COVID-19 outbreak.

Stokes had missed England's series with Sri Lanka due to a finger injury, but he returned to captain a new-look group.

It could hardly have gone better for England who, on the eve of the second anniversary of their World Cup triumph, mounted a record run chase in an ODI at Edgbaston to seal a 3-0 series victory on Tuesday.

Vince hit his first century in the format, a sparkling 102, while Lewis Gregory's 77 also helped England get over the line. Brydon Carse, who took a five-wicket haul, rounded off the win with a boundary down the ground.

While lauding the work of Morgan behind the scenes, Stokes praised the performances of England's second string, which proves the strength in depth at the world champions' disposal.

"Not just today, throughout the series, all the efforts of the guys have been fantastic," Stokes said in the post-match presentation.

"I keep reverting back to where we were last week, just got to give a massive thanks to all the players, all the coaches, support staff for still making this happen. It's been a tough week for everyone involved but we've managed to pull through – to put in performances like that is fantastic.

"A huge amount of credit has got to go to Eoin and Chris Silverwood for allowing the new guys to come in and go out and play in that manner, go out and impress which is what they asked them to do at the start of the series.

"Nobody has taken a backwards step, so so much credit has got to go to Eoin and the way he's built the team.

"This is the culture that Eoin and me try to create, allowing guys to go out there and play fearless cricket, even at the top of the order, Phil Salt has come in and given us that dynamic, so the most pleasing thing to me is nobody has been affected by the situation or the occasion, they've just gone out there, enjoyed themselves and had a great experience.

"It's the best place to be in. To have so many good players coming through, everybody has seriously put their hands up and got a few guys looking over their shoulders. Just seriously impressed with everyone throughout the series."

 

While Vince took his chance with the bat, Saqib Mahmood returned to England's set-up to star with the ball, with his nine wickets across the three ODIs seeing him named as player of the series.

"A pretty special week, to be able to repay that faith and perform the way I have, I'm really happy," Saqib said.

"I'll just take it as it comes, this time last week I was waiting to play for Lancashire, before you know it you're in an England shirt again, so I'll just take it as it comes."

England will name their squad for the upcoming Twenty20 series against Pakistan on Wednesday.

England completed a clean sweep of their ODI series with Pakistan as Ben Stokes' team mounted a record run chase at Edgbaston.

Set a target of 332 to win, England went into their innings knowing they would have to beat the previous record chase in an ODI in Birmingham by over 50 runs in order to seal a 3-0 series triumph.

Babar Azam's superb 158 had guided Pakistan into a commanding position, but James Vince's maiden ODI century and an impressive 77 from Lewis Gregory inspired the England side in front of a typically vociferous crowd.

And, on the eve of the two-year anniversary of England's World Cup triumph, Brydon Carse – who earlier took a five-wicket haul on his third ODI appearance – delivered the final blow to secure a three-wicket win for Stokes' second-string team.

England's hopes looked glum after Babar's sublime innings. The Pakistan captain came in after four overs, with Fakhar Zaman having fallen to Saqib Mahmood (3-60).

The skipper combined for a 92-run stand with Imam-ul-Haq (56) – bowled out by a magnificent Matt Parkinson delivery – before then mounting a third-wicket partnership worth 179 with Mohammad Rizwan, who plundered 74 off 58 balls.

Carse finally ended Babar's stand in the final over, with the paceman completing his haul two balls later by dismissing Shaheen Afridi for a duck.

Phil Salt followed his 60 at Lord's in emphatic fashion, hitting 16 runs off the first over to give England a fantastic start, though fellow opener Dawid Malan lasted just two deliveries.

Salt's snappy innings came to an end with England at 53-2, but that brought Vince to the crease.

Zak Crawley (39) and Stokes (32) offered support, but their dismissals were followed by England slumping to 165-5, meaning Vince had to provide some impetus.

With Gregory, Vince – who hit 11 boundaries – helped to put on a partnership of 129; by the time he clipped a Haris Rauf ball to mid-off to be out for 102, England needed 38 to win.

Gregory followed Vince to the pavilion soon after, but Craig Overton (18 not out) paved the way for Carse to cap a fine day with a boundary down the ground.

 

VINCE STAKES HIS CLAIM

For so long a nearly man of England's international set-up, Hampshire's Vince has taken his chance in this series.

He scored 56 at Lord's and finally got over the hurdle of a first international limited-overs hundred, to surely put himself right in the selectors' thoughts for England's next ODI series.

BABAR'S EFFORTS LET DOWN BY POOR FIELDING

An ODI career-best from Babar should have been enough to propel his team to victory, yet Pakistan let themselves down in the field.

Three huge chances went down, and their sloppiness was perhaps summed up best by Gregory's dismissal – Shadab Khan left arguing, albeit jovially, with his captain after having to take a catch which really should have been the wicketkeeper's.

The sides meet in a three-match Twenty20 series next, starting on Friday, and Pakistan must improve if they are to restore some pride.

Saqib Mahmood tore through Pakistan as a makeshift England side cruised to a crushing nine-wicket victory in the first game of the ODI series at Sophia Gardens.

England were forced to name an entirely new squad just two days before the opening match in Cardiff due to a coronavirus outbreak in the initial party.

A new-look team including five debutants grasped their opportunity in emphatic fashion, however, as the rusty tourists were dismissed for only 141 in 35.2 overs after being put in to bat by stand-in skipper Ben Stokes.

Mahmood took two wickets in the first over and finished with excellent figures of 4-42, while Craig Overton (2-23) and Matt Parkinson (2-28) also did damage.

Fakhar Zaman top scored with 47 in a nightmare start to the three-match series for Pakistan and England reached their target from only 21.5 overs, with Dawid Malan (68 not out) and debutant Zak Crawley (58no) making unbeaten half-centuries.

Mahmood snared Imam-ul-Haq leg before with the first ball of the game and claimed the huge wicket of Babar Azam two deliveries later, the Pakistan captain edging a peach of a delivery behind without scoring.

Lewis Gregory had Mohammad Rizwan caught by wicketkeeper John Simpson and Pakistan were 26-4 when Saud Shakeel was struck in front by a fired-up Mahmood.

Fakhar, who had scored centuries in his previous two ODI knocks against South Africa, struck six boundaries before slashing leg-spinner Parkinson to Crawley at point and while Shadab Khan added 30, Pakistan folded miserably.

Shaheen Shah Afridi saw the back of Phil Salt for only seven, but Malan and Crawley eased England home with an unbroken stand of 120.

 

MAHMOOD MAKES HIS MARK

Mahmood playing in his fifth ODI, recorded his best international figures, while Gregory conceded only one boundary from his four overs before Overton and Parkinson claimed a couple of wickets apiece.

England have now taken 33 wickets during powerplays in the 50-over format since winning the Cricket World Cup two years ago, 11 more than any other side. No team to play over three matches in that period has a better strike rate (28.2 balls per wicket) and their rate of a boundary every 10.4 deliveries is also the best.

MALAN AND CRAWLEY CASH IN

Malan missed the 2-0 series victory over Sri Lanka due to personal reasons but played fluently on his unexpected return. He has now recorded back-to-back ODI half-centuries, having also reached the landmark against India in Pune back in March.

The left-hander also made 76 in a recent Twenty20 victory over Sri Lanka and has showed he could merit a place in all formats. Crawley struggled in the Test series loss to New Zealand, yet he looked in good touch as he struck seven boundaries in a 50-ball innings.

Opportunity knocks for a new-look England ODI squad when they start a three-match series against Pakistan with a day-night contest at Sophia Gardens on Thursday.

Three England players and four members of the management team returned positive tests in Bristol on Monday, resulting in the entire initial party being forced into isolation.

A new group of players - including Ben Stokes as stand-in captain - were called up just two days before the first match in Cardiff, where the tourists will also start the series short of preparation.

While the England players who beat Sri Lanka 2-0 kick their heels, a squad including nine uncapped players have a chance to grasp an unexpected chance.

Test duo Zak Crawley and Dan Lawrence were drafted in along with fellow batsmen Will Jacks, Phil Salt and all-rounder Lewis Gregory.

Brydon Carse, Tom Helm, John Simpson and David Payne could also make their ODI debuts.

Dawid Malan and James Vince will bring experienced to the group, with Chris Silverwood resuming head coach duties after assistants Paul Collingwood and Graham Thorpe were due to take charge of both the Sri Lanka and Pakistan ODI series.

Pakistan have played a couple of intra-squad games since arriving in England on June 25, but have been frustrated by poor weather and may have do without Haris Sohail due to a leg injury

Babar Azam's side know a series victory will see them replace their opponents at the top of the ICC Cricket World Cup Super League. 

 

STOKES READY TO STEP UP AGAIN

Stokes had been easing his way back playing for Durham after he suffered a broken finger while featuring in the Indian Premier League.

The all-rounder answered the call to step up and fill in for Eoin Morgan and he is relishing the challenge.

"I've captained because Joe [Root] was having a baby, and I've captained because of a COVID outbreak. They are obviously strange situations to be involved in, but it's a huge honour to lead your country out onto a sporting field and I'm looking forward to it."

 

FAKHAR CAN SET THE TONE FOR TOURISTS

Pakistan secured a 2-1 away victory over South Africa in their most recent ODI series.

Fakhar Zaman was named player of the series and could have a big part to play at the top of the order against a different attack that he was expecting.

He scored 193 and 101 in his previous two knocks versus the Proteas and averages a hugely impressive 49.17 from 50 innings in the 50-over format at international level.

 

KEY OPTA FACTS

- England have won 10 of their past 11 multi-game bilateral ODI series at home (L1); their only loss in that span came against Australia (2-1) in September 2020.
- Pakistan have won each of their past three multi-game bilateral men’s ODI series, the last time they enjoyed a longer winning run in such series was a span of six in 2011.
- England have won eight of their 11 completed ODIs at Sophia Gardens (L3), although, they are yet to defeat Pakistan at the venue in this format (L2).
- Pakistan's Hasan Ali has scored 76 per cent of his runs from boundaries in ODIs since the beginning of 2019, the highest rate of any player from a Test playing country in that time (minimum 50 runs scored).
- England have lost only one of their past eight multi-game bilateral ODI series against Pakistan (W6, D1) and have won each of the past five in that span – their longest winning run against Pakistan in the format.

England have named nine uncapped players in a new ODI squad for the series against Pakistan following a coronavirus outbreak in the initial party.

The England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) revealed three players and four members of the management team returned positive tests in Bristol on Monday and will observe a period of self-isolation.

Due to being deemed as close contacts, the remaining members of the ODI party must also isolate.

The selectors were forced to pick a new squad two days before the first match at Lord's, with Ben Stokes returning to captain the side and Chris Silverwood back from a break to replace Paul Collingwood as head coach.

Test duo Zak Crawley and Dan Lawrence got the nod along with fellow batsmen Will Jacks, Phil Salt and all-rounder Lewis Gregory.

Brydon Carse, Tom Helm, John Simpson and David Payne could also make their ODI debuts.

Dawid Malan and James Vince, who was among the players pulled out of ongoing County Championship matches for unexpected England duty, were also named in the squad.

Incoming squad and support team members will follow PCR tests and bridging protocols to ensure safe entry to camp.

Managing director of England men's cricket, Ashley Giles, said: "It's a great opportunity to play on the biggest stage, and for most of the players selected it's not necessarily something they would have been expecting 24 hours ago.

"It's an exciting group of players, with some young talent and some players who have impressed at domestic level over a long period of time.

"We're in unprecedented territory, in terms of replacing an entire squad and management team, and I'm very proud of how everyone has come together in order to get it done – both those within the ECB and from the county game.

"Ben hasn't captained our ODI side before so it's a huge honour for him. We all wish him well and it's a role I'm sure he'll thrive in.

"I'd like to also put on record the thanks of the ECB to the PCB for their support and understanding during this time."

 

England squad:

Ben Stokes (captain) Jake Ball, Danny Briggs, Brydon Carse, Zak Crawley, Ben Duckett, Lewis Gregory, Tom Helm, Will Jacks, Dan Lawrence, Saqib Mahmood, Dawid Malan, Craig Overton, Matt Parkinson, David Payne, Phil Salt, John Simpson, James Vince.

England have been forced to name a new squad to face Pakistan after seven members of the ODI party tested positive for coronavirus.

The England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) revealed three players and four members of the management team returned positive tests in Bristol on Monday and will observe a period of self-isolation.

Due to being deemed as close contacts, the remaining members of the ODI party must also isolate.

The ECB confirmed both the T20 and ODIs against Pakistan will go ahead, with the fit-again Ben Stokes returning to captain the side and a squad will be announced later on Tuesday.

Incoming squad and support team members will follow PCR tests and bridging protocols to ensure safe entry to camp.

pic.twitter.com/p3SKcSJNN1

— England Cricket (@englandcricket) July 6, 2021

ECB chief executive Tom Harrison said: "We have been mindful that the emergence of the Delta variant, along with our move away from the stringent enforcement of bio secure environments, could increase the chances of an outbreak.

"We made a strategic choice to try to adapt protocols, in order to support the overall wellbeing of our players and management staff who have spent much of the last 14 months living in very restricted conditions.

"Overnight we have worked swiftly to identify a new squad, and we are grateful to Ben Stokes who will return to England duties to captain.

"We also recognise the impact this news will have on our First Class Counties and their men's playing squads and thank them."

England secured a 2-0 ODI series win over Sri Lanka, with no result possible in the final match in Bristol on Sunday due to rain.

 

England all-rounder Ben Stokes is to make his return from a broken finger for Durham on Sunday.

Stokes will feature for the Jets in their T20 Blast fixture against Birmingham Bears.

He had not played since suffering the injury playing for Rajasthan Royals in the Indian Premier League in April.

Stokes missed England's Test series to defeat to New Zealand and will not play in their limited-overs series with Sri Lanka this month.

His appearance for Durham will be his first for the Jets since 2018 and should boost hopes of Stokes playing in England's limited-overs series with Pakistan next month.

He has a batting average of 53.85 in his 12 ODIs against Pakistan, though he has only taken one wicket in those games.

After a three-match ODI series, England face Pakistan in three T20Is. Stokes was dismissed for just four in his sole appearance in T20Is against Pakistan in 2016.

James Bracey and Ollie Robinson have been handed their first England Test call-ups, while Craig Overton earns a recall to a 15-man squad.

Chris Silverwood's options have been limited for the two-match home series against New Zealand next month.

Superstar all-rounder Ben Stokes (finger) and fast bowler Jofra Archer (elbow) are both injured, while Moeen Ali, Jonny Bairstow, Jos Buttler, Sam Curran and Chris Woakes are all rested after completing a quarantine period following their return home from the postponed Indian Premier League.

It means wicketkeeper-batsman Bracey and seamer Robinson both get the call, rewarded for impressive performances in the early stages of the County Championship season.

Bracey averages 37.30 across his first-class career, but is at an impressive 53 – courtesy of 478 runs – for Gloucestershire so far this season. Robinson, meanwhile, has claimed 29 wickets at just 14 apiece for Sussex.

Both men have already toured with England as reserves in Sri Lanka and India, while they were included in extended groups for the Tests last year against West Indies and Pakistan.

Somerset all-rounder Overton, who has four caps, is set to return to the fold for the first time since the 2019 Ashes.

Head coach Silverwood said: "The summer of Test cricket will be fascinating.

"Playing the top two teams in the world, in New Zealand and India, is perfect preparation for us as we continue to improve and progress towards an Ashes series in Australia at the back end of the year. 

"With several players not available through injury or being rested for the New Zealand series, it is an opportunity for us to reward those who have been on the fringes of England squads over the past 12 months."

Silverwood also provided an update on Stokes, adding: "Ben Stokes is making excellent progress following his fractured left index finger sustained last month in the Indian Premier League.

"If he continues to improve without any impact on his rehabilitation, we could see him return next month for Durham in the Vitality Blast competition.

"We will assess him again towards the end of this month."

Archer had been ruled out on Sunday after a persistent elbow injury flared up again on his return to action for Sussex.

"We need to get this resolved once and for all to give him the best chance of being fully fit as we build up to an intense winter, which will include a T20 World Cup and the Ashes," Silverwood said.

"We need him firing in all formats of the game."


England squad in full:

Joe Root (captain), James Anderson, James Bracey, Stuart Broad, Rory Burns, Zak Crawley, Ben Foakes, Dan Lawrence, Jack Leach, Craig Overton, Ollie Pope, Ollie Robinson, Dom Sibley, Olly Stone, Mark Wood.

Rajasthan Royals and England all-rounder Ben Stokes will miss the remainder of the Indian Premier League after breaking his finger.

Stokes did the damage when he ran in from the boundary to claim a low catch and dismiss Punjab Kings batsman Chris Gayle in the Royals' first game of the tournament, which they lost by four runs on Monday.

The Royals on Tuesday revealed that Stokes will play no further part in the competition.

A statement from the franchise said: "Rajasthan Royals all-rounder Ben Stokes injured a finger on his left hand while fielding during the team's match against Punjab Kings on 12 April 2021 in Mumbai.

"Subsequent investigations revealed that he sustained a broken finger, which will unfortunately rule him out of the remainder of the Indian Premier League 2021 season.

"Everyone at Rajasthan Royals absolutely admires Ben for being such a huge asset and a valuable member of the Royals family, both on and off the field, and wishes him a speedy recovery.

"We are delighted that Ben would like to stay with the group to provide his valued support and inputs off the field. In the meantime, we will be reviewing potential replacement options for the remainder of the season."

The England and Wales Cricket Board said it will confirm the next steps for Stokes after he is assessed over the coming days.

There was positive news on Stokes' England and Royals team-mate Jofra Archer earlier in the day, with the paceman given the all-clear by his hand consultant to resume training.

Archer, who underwent surgery last month, was given the go-ahead to return to light training this week, working closely with the Sussex and England men's medical teams.

An update on his elbow injury will be provided once he has resumed bowling and it is not yet clear when he will be available to play again.

Virat Kohli had few complaints about India's performance against England on Friday, acknowledging Ben Stokes and Jonny Bairstow "blew us away".

India set England 337 to win and level the three-match ODI series, a total the tourists sped to carried by Stokes and Bairstow.

While opener Bairstow contributed 124, Stokes stole the show with 99 off just 52 balls - including 49 off the next 11 after reaching his half-century. He has averaged 56.4 over 42 ODI innings since the start of 2017.

The stand of 175 - after Bairstow and Jason Roy had put on 110 for the first wicket - saw England have two hundred partnerships in the same ODI for the first time since the Cricket World Cup in June 2019.

Although Stokes and Bairstow fell in consecutive overs and briefly gave India hope, Dawid Malan and Liam Livingstone completed a six-wicket triumph with 39 balls to spare.

"I think we set up quite a decent total on the board," said captain Kohli, who scored 66 and remains one century shy of Sachin Tendulkar's record of 20 in men's ODIs in India.

"But England found a way to get that 100-run partnership and we hardly had any chances come our way.

"I thought they batted brilliantly well tonight. Yes, we did not execute some things as well as we wanted to, but that was some of the most amazing batting that you're going to see while chasing a total.

"You have to give credit where it's due and tonight they totally blew us away with that partnership of Jonny and Ben Stokes.

"We didn't even have a chance, that's how good they were together and they thoroughly deserved to win."

Bairstow has 20 sixes over his past three ODI innings against India and no England batsman has more maximums against them in this format than his 26.

The Yorkshire wicketkeeper was enthused by Kohli's praise, responding: "I'll take that! It's very kind of him to say that.

"He's been one of the best players around the world for a period of time. I'm very pleased, and likewise, pleased to be striking the ball the way I am at the moment."

Bairstow and Roy now have 13 century stands together, the most by an England pairing, while no opening partnership in men's ODIs can top their average of 61.6 (from 20 innings or more).

It is certainly a role Bairstow is enjoying, as he added: "I'm happy. Since opening the batting, I've got 11 [centuries], I think I've only opened 56, 57 times.

"I'm happy with those figures but those figures mean nothing if you don't keep converting them in the future. I'm happy with how I'm playing my cricket at the moment, really enjoying it."

Ben Stokes was proud that England stuck to their values as they roared back from a series-opening defeat to thrash India on Friday.

Moved up to bat at three in the absence of Joe Root, Stokes thrilled with a 52-ball 99 in Pune as the tourists won by six wickets with 39 deliveries to spare, Jonny Bairstow having scored a century as England comfortably chased down India's 336-6.

The result came on the heels of Tuesday's chastening 66-run loss, when England collapsed to 251 all out as Stokes scored just one run from 11 balls, and means the series will go to a decider on Sunday.

Stokes was delighted to see England produce such a classy response to that setback, even in the absence of injured captain Eoin Morgan, as his side stayed true to their attacking principles.

"I think the most pleasing thing for us as a team is we didn't go away from our values," he said, having built on the platform laid by Bairstow and Jason Roy's 110-run opening stand. "We were bitterly disappointed after the first ODI.

"It was a great chase and I'm happy we were able to go over the line fairly easily despite India putting up a big total.

"It was a better wicket but we don't really fear any totals to be honest. It would have been easy to rein ourselves in after the last game but from a personal and team point of view, it was important to play as we do.

"We speak about match-ups in our changing room and my match-up was with the spinners to take the risk, just let Jonny keep going on with his business. He's in unbelievable form.

"The amount of runs they [Roy and Bairstow] have scored is obviously amazing, but if you look at the way they have scored it's even better – best in the world in my opinion."

Pune will again play host to the third and final match this weekend.

England's victory on Friday also ensured that a 3-0 series defeat will be avoided, meaning India cannot leapfrog into top spot in the ODI rankings.

Ben Stokes' stunning innings and a century from Jonny Bairstow led England to a dominant six-wicket ODI victory over India in Pune on Friday.

While Bairstow was unquestionably impressive in compiling his 124, Stokes' 99 came at a blistering pace, requiring just 52 balls as he bludgeoned 10 sixes.

India had set England 337 to win and level the three-match series, with the tourists – deprived of the injured Eoin Morgan's services – wasting little time, getting the job done with 39 balls to spare.

Bairstow and Jason Roy put on 110 for the first wicket to lay the foundations, with the former then enjoying a front-row seat for the Stokes show as they combined for 175 runs.

It meant that, by the time Stokes and Bairstow fell in consecutive overs, England only required another 50 to seal the win, with Dawid Malan and Liam Livingstone finishing things off.

All the fireworks in England's innings eclipsed what had been a solid 50 overs from the hosts, for whom KL Rahul top-scored on 108, with Rishabh Pant providing eye-catching entertainment in the form of a 40-ball 77 to help India to 336-6.

Having put themselves in a strong position to chase down 318 in the first match before collapsing to 251 all out, England made sure they had an even firmer footing this time to ensure a late-innings wobble would not prove pivotal.

Bairstow's 18 boundaries included seven maximums, with Roy's 55 coming at roughly a run a ball to further cement England's excellent start.

Stokes, having survived an early run-out scare, escalated things drastically with a display of explosive hitting that had India chasing their tails.

Krunal Pandya, who enjoyed such a fine debut in the opening clash, came in for particularly harsh punishment as he posted figures of 0-72 off six overs, while Kuldeep Yadav (0-84 off 10) conceded eight sixes, including three in a row at the hands of Stokes in a punishing 33rd over.

England's procession was slowed but not halted by a flurry of wickets across the 36th and 37th overs, with Stokes agonisingly falling short of a deserved century before Bairstow and Jos Buttler also had to go.

But it only delayed the inevitable, Malan and Livingstone steadying the ship and getting England across the line to set up a series decider on Sunday.

 

STOKES CAPITALISES ON LET-OFF

There was a mightily close run-out call against Stokes in the 26th over, when he was on 33.

He soon accelerated his knock at break-neck speed, having brought up his 50 off 40 deliveries before adding another 49 from only 12.

Stokes' dismissal, caught behind by Pant off Bhuvneshwar Kumar, saw him denied the third-fastest century in ODIs for England.

SERIES SET FOR FINALE IT DESERVES

This was a mouthwatering series on paper, pitting the world's best two one-day teams against one another, and it has delivered on the field across the first two matches.

World champions England flexed their muscles on Friday, having been chastened by an opening loss in which India showed why they are so highly fancied.

A winner will be crowned this weekend and, having seen the best of both sides, how fitting it would be if they could each bring their 'A' game on Sunday.

England are desperate to hold off India and retain their place at the top of the ODI rankings, says Ben Stokes, who compared his return to action to playing Call of Duty.

Making his first appearance in a 50-over international since helping England to victory in the World Cup final in July 2019, Stokes moved up to number three for the first of the three games against India, though the tourists' star all-rounder could not inspire a victory.

Indeed, another batting collapse from England resulted in a 66-run defeat behind closed doors in Pune, with Stokes only scoring one run from 11 deliveries in his new position higher up the order.

It was India's debutant all-rounder Krunal Pandya who starred, striking 58 not out from 31 balls, including seven boundaries and two sixes. 

Virat Kohli's team are hot on England's tails in the one-day rankings, and a 3-0 series win would mean India take top spot.

In a further blow to England's hopes, captain Eoin Morgan will be missing for the rest of the series due to a hand injury, with Jos Buttler replacing him as skipper and Liam Livingstone coming in for a debut on Friday.

While he struggled with the bat, Stokes did take 3-34 with the ball, and he joked that his reintroduction to the ODI team after an 18-month absence felt like playing Call of Duty: Warzone – the video game which he is an avid player of, along with team-mates Jofra Archer and Stuart Broad – for the first time.

"It felt like I was dropping into Verdansk in the first game of [Call of Duty] Warzone for a while," Stokes said.

"It's crazy to think it was my first game since the World Cup final. It's amazing how quickly time can pass but it was great to be out with the rest of the boys."

Comparisons to video games aside, Stokes outlined England's focus on keeping hold of their number one spot.

"We look at it from a series point of view, that we'd be bitterly disappointed to lose it," he said.

"As we would any other. We deserve to be number one because of our results and it's obviously a fantastic thing to have next to your name as a team, but it's not our driving force.

"Our driving force is the way we go about it and our attitude towards playing the game. We know we're a much better team than that, but one thing we've been very good at is putting previous games to bed quickly, whether that be a successful game or a poor game."

Stokes was moved up to three in the absence of Joe Root, and the 29-year-old revealed he did ask England's Test captain for advice.

"I did actually message Rooty and asked him about his mind-set at three, and he was pretty clear to me in saying just play the way you play," he added

"Just because he plays a certain way doesn't mean I have to do it like that. We kept it pretty simple, but it's just a slightly different role batting at three to my usual position in this team.

"I haven't got to change too much, just face a slightly different situation when I start my innings."

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