16 January, 2018
"Jason Roy's innings took the game away".
Roy surpassed Alex Hales's previous best score of 171 with a knock of 180 as England cruised to their victory target of 305 with six balls to spare in the first clash of the five-match one-day series.
Aaron Finch's 107 saw the hosts post 304-8 after being put in to bat. Finch set an excellent base for Australia to push on and set a competitive total. To have that behind you gives you so much confidence at the top of the order.
Steve Smith - 5/10 - An uncharacteristically quiet game for Smith, making just 23 with the bat, and struggling to effectively nullify Roy with his field placements. When Travis Head was out for 5 to the last ball of the 14th over, Australia were in trouble at 78-3. Marcus Stoinis scored 60 down the order, reaching his second ODI half century from 37 balls with five fours and a six.
Roy made an astonishing start to his innings, going on the offensive against frontline quicks Mitchell Starc and Pat Cummins to bring up his fifty off just 32 balls.
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So comfortably then did Roy carry on, and so neatly did Root complement him with deft placement and plenty of impetus running between the wickets, that it seemed likely for a time that England might get to the total without further loss. "I've been very clear in what I want to do in the first 30 balls and working hard on that game plan and sticking to it". Root rotated the strike superbly; supporting Roy on his way to 180. "It was just a huge honour to be out there for England again and to get some runs on the board". "It is extremely special, especially after the Test series", he added.
Roy's call-up to England more or less coincided with the change in approach that accompanied the emphasis of Andrew Strauss, Trevor Bayliss and Paul Farbrace on a more proactive brand of limited-overs cricket, aided by the leadership of Eoin Morgan.
Chris Woakes - 5/10 - Leading the attack with Wood, Woakes picked up the crucial wicket of Stoinis towards the end of the innings. Adil Rashid was expensive, but produced a pair of teasing deliveries that accounted for Smith and Marsh amid some looser offerings.
England plus Stokes look unbeatable on paper and with the next World Cup at home, team management has been focussed on white-ball cricket the last two years.
Roy had a willing partner in Test captain Joe Root, who had been tormented all tour by the Australians and was in no mood to let a rare victory slip.