NEWS

Jason Roy pledges "ruthlessness" after England cruise to win

January 15, 2018

After the grim experience of the Ashes series, England's cricketers were finally able to enjoy the taste of victory over Australia as the five-match one-day international (ODI) series got underway.

England did not just beat Australia at the Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG), but re-wrote the record books. Just weeks after Alastair Cook's unbeaten 244 became the highest Test score by a visiting player and the record for an opener carrying his bat, Jason Roy made the highest ODI score at the venue and the biggest score for England in this format as his 180 eclipsed the 171 made by Alex Hales against Pakistan two years ago.

His partnership of 221 with Joe Root - who saw England home with an unbeaten 91 - was England's highest for the third wicket in an ODI, the best for an ODI at the MCG and also England's largest ODI partnership for any wicket against Australia.

Most importantly, England's successful chase was the highest made at the ground and the first time a side had achieved a target of more than 300 there.

Australia's total of 304-8 had been built around Aaron Finch's 107 and looked a competitive score, but it was comfortably overhauled despite a late flurry of wickets when Roy, skipper Eoin Morgan and Jos Buttler fell in quick succession.

Moeen Ali, who endured a torrid Test series with both bat and ball, was able to enjoy hitting the winning runs with more than two overs to spare.

England's efforts had been boosted by the return of fast bowler Mark Wood, whose appearance alongside Liam Plunkett gave the England attack the pace it had lacked in the Tests. Bowling at up to 93 mph, Wood removed David Warner as he went for only 49 runs in his ten overs.

Speaking after the game, Roy pledged that England will not take their foot off the gas. He told the BBC Test Match Special programme: "We're looking to go big in this series.

"It's a massive series for us after a disappointing Ashes - we want to be very ruthless."

As part of this approach, England will "absolutely not" rest players, whereas Australia are rotating their fast bowlers ahead of a tour of South Africa.

Fans booking corporate hospitality for England's opening ODI against Australia next summer at the Kia Oval may be keeping a particularly close eye on proceedings down under, as England hope to establish dominance over the Aussies.

With the Cricket World Cup taking place in England next year, home and away victories over the trophy holders would provide a huge boost to the credentials of an England side that has transformed its approach to the 50-over game after crashing out in the group stage of the 2015 tournament.

England's win follows their victory over Australia in the Champions Trophy last year, and the sides will next meet at the Gabba in Brisbane on Friday (January 19th), with subsequent matches at the Sydney Cricket Ground, Adelaide Oval and the new Perth Stadium.

They will also play five ODIs in New Zealand before finishing the winter with two Test matches against the Kiwis.

Image: Scott Barbour/Getty

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