AFP / William WEST
Roy acknowledges the applause at the MCG after being dismissed for 180
Opener Jason Roy recorded the highest-ever one-day international score by an England player as the tourists finally had something to celebrate with a win-win win over Australia on Sunday. After their wretched Ashes campaign, in which they were beaten 4-0, the tourists chased down a hefty Australian total at the Melbourne Cricket Ground to win with seven balls to spare in the opener of the five-match ODI series.
Set 305 to win, Roy’s daring 180 helped England make 308 for five. The successful chase was also a record for a one-day international at the MCG, eclipsing Australia’s 297 for four in England in 2011, and vindicated captain Eoin Morgan’s decision to bowl first. Having been an onlooker for the Test series, Roy was an improbable hero. But he rode his luck to produce a record in limited-overs cricket for England and also a new benchmark for a batsman at the MCG in a one-day international. The swashbuckling right-hander lived dangerously throughout his innings, charging along his way to reach a ball and reaching his half-century off only 32 balls.
AFP / WILLIAM WEST
He survived a run-out scare and anger that was overturned upon review, and lofted several balls just out of the reach of frustrated Australian fielders on his way to his fifth ODI century. Roy was just when Mitchell Starc could have a hit with him. He duly punished the Australian fast bowler by taking 14 out of 50
He was seemingly trapped by Adam Zampa on 91, but a review of the ball hit the camera and the decision was overturned. Roy wasted little time making Aaron Finch’s long-on boundary for six. He reached his hundred just moments later from 92 balls, with nine fours and three sixes. Fittingly, the 27-year-old passed team-mate Alex Hales’s England record knock of 171 against Pakistan in 2016 with a chip just over the head of a despairing Australian fielder. He finally fell to Starc after skating on the outfield, having faced 151 balls – hitting 16 fours and five sixes. Roy was still coming to terms with his achievement after the match. “Incredibly special, I do not have too many words right now,” he said. “Halesy was pretty disappointed.” Australian captain Steve Smith praised Roy for his bold knock. “He did not give us a chance, and he chanced his arm,” said Smith. “They got off to an absolute flyer and we could not pull them back.” Roy had a willing partner in Test captain Joe Root, who had been tormented by the Australians and was in no mood to let a rare victory slip. Root made an unbeaten 91 and he and Roy put on 221 – an English ODI record – for the third wicket. Aaron Finch’s ninth one-day international century was the cornerstone of the Australian total of 304 for eight. Finch’s 107 was backed by half-centuries for Mitchell Marsh (50) and Marcus Stoinis (60) as Steve Smith cheaply. Fresh from scoring three centuries in Australia won the Ashes 4-0, Smith looked in order to get back to the game. Adil Rashid for just 23.