Yuvi
Yuvraj Singh scored a hundred after 6 years AFP

India set a colossal 382-run target for England in the second of three-ODI series at Cuttack, courtesy a 256-run stand between Yuvraj Singh and MS Dhoni their 10th 100-plus stand in this format. It was a trip down memory lane for cricket fans, for two of the finest middle-order batsmen from India and good ol’ friends turned back the time, keeping spectators on the edge of their seats. Besides, the English bowlers were smashed to pulp, so much so that barring Chris Woakes, none of the bowlers could contain the onslaught and bowl under an economy of 6.

After being asked to bat, India had a blistering start, as opener KL Rahul played a handsome cover-drive off the very first ball of the match. For that matter, Nasser Hussain in the pitch report said, “Had it been a dry pitch, the short ball tactic would have worked.” Regardless, it appeared a featherbed for the batsman, for the ball came onto the bat well. However, Chris Woakes bowled an absolute jaffa to dismiss Rahul for 5.

Full cricket scorecard: India vs England, 2nd ODI

In came Virat Kohli, and painted a stunning straight-drive off the very first ball. Woakes then shortened his length, and Kohli nudged it to mid-on. But another full delivery saw Kohli hit a repeat button, driving it down the ground.

Another Kohli special, it appeared. But little did Kohli know that he was being set up, for Woakes fired another full delivery. This time it was a different outcome: Kohli edged it to the slip cordon.

There was a pin-drop silence as the Indian captain walked back to the pavilion. Woakes then added India in further trouble, dismissing Dhawan for 11.

But again, little did crowd know that it was just calm before the storm, for Dhoni and Yuvraj took everyone down memory lane.

Yuvraj reached his fifty, Dhoni reached his fifty, and the duo stitched up their 10th 100-plus stand despite being 25 for 3. In fact, the last time they added over 50 runs together was in 2011 WC final.

The Dhoni-Yuvi duo set the roaring Cuttack on fire with their blazing batsmanship.

Yuvraj stood tall, watched the ball closely, and punched it instead of leaning forward. The high-collar, head held high, big back-lift and, more importantly, the swag: we saw a vintage Yuvi in the thick of things.

Meanwhile, Dhoni had hit a flat six off Moeen Ali, over deep mid-wicket. He had played a late cut, a glance, and an unlike-Dhoni straight drive. He was different though, unlike Yuvraj. There was no ugly heave, powerful slog, or the famed helicopter shot he is reputed for. Instead, he was being conventional in his approach. He knew the situation India was in. And he knew what needed to be done.

The duo coupled fours and sixes with ones and twos, leaving Englishmen huffing and puffing. The Dhoni chants, the Yuvi chants, the India chants: the atmosphere was electric.

Then, Yuvraj reached his 14th hundred, and Dhoni his 10th. The partnership raced past 200.

A nostalgic feeling had caught the Indian fans in trance. But there was more on offer.

Yuvraj, after a few more sixes, surpassed his previous best of 139 with a six over long-on. He then brought up his maiden 150 with a drive down the ground.

There were no outrageous celebrations. There was nothing for the cameramen. Though, he seemed to have shed a few tears. This hundred, however, came after 6 years the last had come in his series-winning performance in 2011 World Cup. He was ought to get emotional.

However, he was soon dismissed on 150. But Dhoni, at the other end, continued his rampage, dealing in colossal sixes. Meanwhile, the star of the Pune match Kedar Jadhav played a cameo off 22 off 10, before he holed a slower delivery to mid-wicket.

Later, Liam Plunkett, who was taken to the cleaners, dismissed Dhoni.

The final fireworks were set ablaze by Hardik Pandya (19 off 9) and Ravindra Jadeja (16 off 8), taking India to 381 for 6.

Brief scores:

India 381 for 6 in 50 overs (Yuvraj Singh 150, MS Dhoni 134; Chris Woakes 4 for 60) vs England.