England rode on a stupendous century from Jason Roy to earn their first victory of their tour to Australia in what had been a difficult summer after a 4-0 Ashes thumping.
In the first ODI at the Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG), the visitors staged a perfect chase to get past Australia’s 304 runs. England won the match by five wickets to take a 1-0 lead in the five-match series. Roy notched his highest ODI score of 180 to dismantle the Aussie bowlers and went on to get his name in the record books.
His innings of also saw him overtaking Alex Hales’ highest ever score (171) earlier in the ODIs for England. Roy was on a different level altogether hitting shots all across the ground targeting wide of mid-wicket mostly. The manner in which he kept the chase within his side’s grasp, was of huge substance.
He was well supported by Joe Root (91*), who continued his Ashes form into the ODIs and played a solid hand to support Roy. The duo shared a 221-run stand for the third wicket to mark one of the best run-chases in recent times. Roy produced a batting masterclass that saw him clean the boundary ropes at ease. It was his day all the way after coming close to getting out numerous times but he managed to somehow survive.
The aggressive nature of Roy took the game away from Australia, who had a good looking bowling line-up.
- Roy scored the highest ever ODI score by an England batsman
- Broke Mark Waugh’s record of highest score in an ODI innings at the MCG
- Roy scored his best ODI score (180)
- It was the highest ever ODI run-chase at the MCG
If Roy dislodged any hopes the Aussies had with a blitz, Root on the other hand played with control and his brand of risk-free cricket helped the side. Unlike Australia, the duo made it a task to stay far till the end and see their team get very close to the finish line. England reached 57/1 in five overs as Roy laid the platform for the side with a breezy start. Australia got back with a quick wicket of Alex Hales to reduce the visitors to 60/2, but Root’s entry changed the scenario.
The running between the wickets was superb and after Roy’s flying start helped them get the tone, Root showed maturity and stayed there throughout the innings. He played within himself, as England showed they are a different entity altogether in this format. After Roy’s dismissal, skipper Eoin Morgan could not see off the chase as he fell for just one. Jos Buttler too managed just four runs, but by then England had the game in their pocket.
Earlier, Australia scored a decent 304 runs riding on a tremendous 107 from opening batsman Aaron Finch. The flamboyant striker played. a handful to get to his 9th ODI ton. He shared a meaningful 118 for the fourth wicket with Mitchell Marsh (50) to lend substance to the side after an initial wobble.
David Warner and Steve Smith went back early. The Aussie skipper scored a 18-ball 23 and England were thrilled to get him after a superb delivery by Rashid Ali. Travis Head followed suit to see his side reel at 78/3, but Finch was top class. He took his time for the first fifty, but once he got to his milestone, the next fifty came in just 47 balls. He was well supported by Marsh, who carried on his Ashes form in the ODIs.
Finch would have liked to have stayed on for a longer time, but got out in a crucial phase when he tried to heave Moeen Ali through midwicket. Marsh followed suit and the hosts were losing their way with 205/5 in the 38th over. But Marcus Stoinis had different plans. He came in and changed the complexion hitting shots all over the ground to score a quick-fire 60 off just 40 balls.
Stonis has been one of the side’s best player in the shorter format for some time now and it showed in the manner he played in that finishing role.
But the two dismissals of Finch and Marsh were the turning points in the game. The hosts looked like being 15-20 runs short and that in the end could have made a difference. The second game of the five-match series takes place in Brisbane on Friday.