Yuvraj Singh and Mahendra Singh Dhoni turned the clock back with a batting masterclass as the old warhorses’ twin tons powered India to a 15-run win over England in the second One-day International and take an unassailable 2-0 lead in the three-match series in Cuttack, on Thursday.
Coming into bat with India struggling at 25 for three, Yuvraj and Dhoni brought into play their years of experience to not only bail the team out of trouble, but also propel them to a formidable 381 for six in the stipulated 50 overs.
In reply, England fought to the end with captain Eoin Morgan leading the chase with a swashbuckling century, only for his side to fall short narrowly at the packed Barabati Stadium.
Needing 22 off the final over, seamer Bhuvneshwar Kumar kept his cool and conceded a mere six runs, even as triumphant skipper Virat Kohli punched his fist in the air in jubilation after clinching the ODI series to follow up on the 4-0 Test series triumph.
Despite being set a mammoth target, England were in the game as long as Morgan was in the middle, but bowler Jasprit Bumrah put paid to the visiting side’s hopes when he calmly ran out the England skipper in the non-striker’s end after he backed up too far, in the 49th over.
After being sent into bat, Yuvraj struck a career-best 150 off 127 balls and Dhoni slammed 134 off 122 balls as they forged a record 256-run partnership for the fourth wicket to put their team in a position of strength from a precarious one.
Yuvraj was on fire from ball one and hammered 21 fours and three sixes in his career-best knock in ODIs. The southpaw, brought back into the national team, could not have silenced his detractors in a better way as got to his 14th ODI hundred, which was his first since the 2011 World Cup.
It was a typical innings from Dhoni, who took his time initially before cutting loose to tear the opposition bowlers apart in the death overs.
Dhoni too crossed the three-figure mark after a while with his last hundred coming way back in 2013 when he struck an unbeaten 139 against Australia at Mohali.
He ended up hammering 10 fours and half a dozen sixes, scoring his 10th ODI hundred in the process and his first since handing over the captaincy to Kohli.
It was raining sixes and fours especially in the last 10 overs with India plundering as many as 120 runs to put themselves in control firmly.
Beleaguered England were required to bat out of their skins to overcome the imposing target, which they could not despite a brave effort from Morgan at the end.