England reignited their World Cup campaign with a stirring victory over India, Jonny Bairstow letting his bat do the talking with a match-winning century at Edgbaston.
The stakes were impossibly high for the hosts after back-to-back defeats but Eoin Morgan’s side held their nerve in a 31-run success, ending India’s undefeated streak and reclaiming their own place in the top four.
Bairstow’s suggestion that critics were “waiting for us to fail” had been poorly received during the week but he repaid any lingering debt in style, striking 111 to set up an imposing 337 for seven.
Bairstow did not go into battle alone, fit-again opening partner Jason Roy setting the tone with an aggressive 66 and Ben Stokes making it three half-centuries in a row with his bustling 79, but his knock did the heaviest lifting.
Roared on by a hugely partisan crowd which flipped home advantage on its head, India needed luck and skill if they were to make a record World Cup chase and Rohit Sharma had both. Dropped at slip by Joe Root with just four to his name he went on to make 102.
But despite that England’s attack showed their mettle, Chris Woakes taking two wickets and a glorious boundary catch while Liam Plunkett justified his recall in place of Moeen Ali with three for 55 – including master batsman Virat Kohli.
At 146-2, India still needed almost 200 and the required rate leapt to precisely 10 with 15 overs remaining. Rohit was the man most likely to take a chunk out of that but fell to the first ball of Woakes’ second spell, Buttler closing his gloves around a simple chance.
Rishabh Pant and Pandya both breathed life into the fading pursuit before succumbing to Plunkett, Pant to a quite incredible Woakes catch.
Motoring round the rope he made brilliant ground but still needed a diving finish to seal Pant’s fate. Even the master finisher Mahendra Singh Dhoni had too much to do, mustering 42 not out in a doomed cause.
England may not need to see off New Zealand at Chester-le-Street to seal a semi-final place but they go into their last group game knowing nobody can stop them if they do.
Provided by Press Association Sport
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