By Amlan Chakraborty
Jonny Bairstow smashed a belligerent 111 and Jason Roy returned from a hamstring injury to feature in the tournament’s highest opening stand and power England to a commanding 337-7 against India in the World Cup at Edgbaston on Sunday.
Electing to bat on an Edgbaston featherbed, Bairstow and Roy survived some torrid moments early in the partnership before tearing into the Indian attack during their 160-run stand.
Bairstow nearly deflected a couple of inside edges on to the stump and Roy got a caught-behind reprieve on 21 when he gloved Hardik Pandya.
The umpire, however, declared it wide and the Indians deliberated for a while before deciding against reviewing the decision.
England reached the 150 mark in the 21st over and it took a stunning catch by substitute fielder Ravindra Jadeja in the deep to send back Roy for 66.
Bairstow brought up his eighth ODI century off 90 balls, celebrating by dropping his helmet, stretching out his arms and soaking in the applause.
Mohammed Shami (5-69), who bowled well without luck in the morning, returned to end Bairstow’s 109-ball blitz which included six sixes and 10 boundaries.
India stemmed the run flow in the 30-40 over period but Ben Stokes (79) provided the late assault to help England get close to the 350 mark.
Eoin Morgan’s prediction of it being an away match for him proved true as Indian fans comfortably outnumbered their English counterparts.
“So far we have counted 86 England fans at Edgbaston… including the team and management,” former England captain Michael Vaughan tweeted earlier in the day.