**Cuttack**: England skipper Eoin Morgan’s fighting century went in vain as they fell 15 runs short in a high-scoring second One-day International (ODI) to trail the three-match rubber 0-2 against India at the Barabati Stadium here on Thursday.
Chasing a massive 382-run target, Morgan led the fightback with a blistering 81-ball 102 coupled with brilliant half centuries from opener Jason Roy (82), Joe Root (54) and Moeen Ali (55), only to find themselves 15 runs short at the end.
Morgan almost took the game from India’s grasp until pacer Jasprit Bumrah’s brilliant throw at the non-striker’s end jolted the visitors’ chase in the 49th over, with 28 runs needed from the last nine balls.
England recovered from the early jolt of opener Alex Hales’s (14) wicket with Roy and Root setting the platform with a 100-run stand for the second wicket before off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin sent back Root in his very first over of the match.
Roy, however, made full use of the life he got on 44, when Jasprit Bumrah dropped a finger-tip chance at midwicket off all-rounder Hardik Pandya and went on to bring up his half century off 52 deliveries.
Morgan then joined Roy in the middle and the duo added 42 runs for the third wicket before left-arm spinner Ravindra Jadeja left his stumps in a mess with a straight ball. Roy’s hurricane innings came off 73 deliveries and was laced with nine boundaries and two sixes.
Ashwin then jolted England with two quick wickets of all-rounder Ben Stokes (1) and wicketkeeper-batsman Jos Buttler (10) to reduce the visitors to 206/5.
With the asking rate mounting to more than 15 runs per over, England were looking down the barrel before southpaw Moeen joined the skipper to add some spice to the chase.
Moeen, who got two lives — on 2 when stumper Mahendra Singh Dhoni missed a run-out chance and then on 37 when Jadeja dropped him at long-on off Bhuvneshwar Kumar — added 93 runs for the sixth wicket with his captain as the 40,000 crowd at the Barabati went into a pin drop silence.
Kumar, however, avenged the dropped chance immediately in his next over when he ended the left-hander’s 43-ball vigil by inducing a bottom edge into the off-stump.
Bumrah immediately removed next man Chris Woakes (5) to put the visitors into more trouble.
Thereafter, Morgan and Liam Plunkett (26 not out) added another 50 runs for the eighth wicket before the captain was shown the door by Bumrah’s quick reflexes off his own follow through. Morgan’s knock was laced with six hits to the fence and five over it.
With just more than one over left, pacer David Willey (5 not out) could do very little with Plunkett to get the visitors over the line.
For India, Ashwin was the pick of the bowlers with figures of 3/65 while Bumrah took 2/81. Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Jadeja chipped in with one wicket apiece.
Earlier, man-of-the-match Yuvraj Singh and former skipper Dhoni were at their vintage best, powering India to 381/6 after being sent into bat.
Yuvraj, who returned to the national side on the back of some prolific scores for Punjab in the Ranji Trophy, looked in ominous touch as he went on to amass his career-best score of 150 runs in only 127 deliveries, comprising 21 fours and three huge sixes.
Returning to the side after a three-year hiatus, the 35-year-old left-hander consumed 98 balls to bring up his career’s 14th ODI ton and also eclipsed his own record of 138 to become the highest run-getter at this ground. He also became the first Indian player to score a 150 against England in ODIs.
Coming in to bat with India reeling at 25/3, the southpaw took his time in the middle before forging a 100-run stand with Dhoni off 118 balls.
Dhoni, who relinquished the limited overs captaincy ahead of the series commencement, showed glimpses of his vintage self, when he went after the English pacers at will to bring up his 10th ODI ton.
After surviving a dropped chance even before reaching his 50 off 68 balls, Dhoni kept on frustrating the English bowlers, bludgeoning six massive sixes and 10 fours in his 122-ball 134 before falling to pacer Liam Plunkett in the 48th over of the innings.
The fall of wickets of Dhoni and Yuvraj, however, did not stop incoming Kedar Jadhav (22 off 10 balls), Hardik Pandya (19 not out off 9) and Ravindra Jadeja (16 not out off 8) to play their stokes and push the total to a massive 381/6.
England, however, paid the price for failing to seize the advantage after dismissing the opening duo of Lokesh Rahul (5) and Shikhar Dhawan (11) and India skipper Virat Kohli (8) for a rare single-digit score as Yuvraj and Dhoni made light work of their bowling line-up.
For the visitors, Woakes was the pick of the bowlers with figures of 4/60 while Plunkett took 2/91.
With India taking an unassailable 2-0 lead in the series, both the sides will now move to Kolkata, where the third and final ODI will be played at the Eden Gardens on January 22.