Cricket commentator turns matchmaker
ENGLAND set up another series decider after easing past India by 86 runs in their second one-day international at Lord's on Saturday.
Like the Twenty20 series, England won the second match. In that series finale, though, India prevailed.
England, 239-6 in the 42nd over, exploded with a Joe Root century and a David Willey maiden half-century to post a suddenly imposing 322-7.
"David came in and took a lot of pressure off me, to help us turn in what was at least a par score, so it was a fabulous effort from him," Root said.
"Hopefully we can back that up and finish the series off now."
India's bid to win the series with a match to spare ended when captain Virat Kohli walked after being trapped by Moeen Ali on 45, and Suresh Raina, dropped on 28, was bowled by Adil Rashid on 46 at 5-154.
A curious innings followed from former captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni, who hit only two boundaries in 37 from 59 balls.
He passed 10,000 career ODI runs but the crowd booed and slow-clapped his defensive shots, and he was finally out going for a third boundary.
"This comes up again and again when he is not able to play in the normal way he does," Kohli said in Dhoni's defence.
"It's very unfortunate people just jump to conclusions very quickly. When he does well people call him the best finisher ever and when they don't go well they all pounce on him. We all have bad days in cricket and today was a bad one for everyone, not just him.
"Other people jump to conclusions but we don't, we totally believe in him."
Siddarth Kaul fell in the same over as Dhoni to give fast bowler Liam Plunkett leading figures of 4-46.
The match however was upstaged by a romantic moment in the crowd with Sky Sports commentator David "Bumble" Lloyd in on the act.
As the cameras panned around the ground, they came to a halt on a young couple enjoying their day in the sun when Lloyd began chatting to them.
Listening to the commentary through in-ear radios handed out at most cricket games, the couple were asked several questions.
Lloyd's questions continued until he eventually gave up the act and he gave the word for Charan to ask the question.
"Now this couple here I reckon this is quite special, Charan and Pavan and I think he's got something to say," Lloyd said.
The commentary boxed erupted as the moment became clear while Pavan got down on one knee, the producers had some fun with it and displayed a "decision pending" tag on the screen.
"Round of applause, she's said yes what a decision, absolutely fantastic. Congratulations, what a day," Lloyd said.
The third and last ODI is on Tuesday at Leeds.
England was so spooked by India wrist spinner Kuldeep Yadav, following the eight-wicket loss on Thursday, that it opted to bat first for the first time since October 2016.
The fears proved founded when Yadav removed opener Jonny Bairstow with just his second delivery. Bairstow played onto his stumps via his pad attempting a sweep, departing for 38 from 31 balls at 69-1.
Yadav also removed Jason Roy, but Root settled England's nerves with a measured half-century.
Root and captain Eoin Morgan built a 95-run partnership, with Morgan reaching his half-century only to sky another Yadav delivery to Shikhar Dhawan, to leave the field with a frustrating 53.
That left England 189-3, and its plans to hit around Yadav went up in smoke as Jos Buttler (4), Ben Stokes (5), and Moeen Ali (13) all went cheaply. But Root was brilliant, notching his 12th ODI century from 109 balls, and tying Marcus Trescothick for most ODI hundreds for England.
Root was run out on the last ball for 113, including eight fours and a six. Willey was not out for a 31-ball 50. He shared an 83-run partnership for the seventh wicket with Root, whose restrained innings lasted 116 balls.
- with AP