Jason Roy brings smiles back to England’s tour of Australia after Ashes torment
The Surrey opener scored the highest ever one-day international score by an English player from 151 balls
Jason Roy brought the smiles back to England’s tour of Australia with a record-breaking 180 which put the tourists on the front foot for the first time since arriving Down Under.
Having surrendered the Ashes in a 4-0 defeat, the limited-overs side were tasked with breathing new life into the trip in the opening match of this one-day series and Roy obliged in staggering fashion to usher in a five-wicket win in Melbourne.
In the space of 151 balls he carved his way to the highest individual total by an England batsman in white-ball cricket, trumping Alex Hales’ 2016 place-holder by nine runs, and led the team in successful pursuit of 305.
That represents their best ever chase against rivals Australia – or by any side at this famous venue.
“It was an absolute honour to be out there on the MCG and to get a score like that,” said the Surrey batsman, basking in what could prove a career-defining display.
“It is extremely special, especially after the Test series. It was obviously quite tough because we knew the boys were going to be a bit down and it was our task to come in and lighten up the mood, bring the positivity and get the boys going.
“I think we’ve done that and there’s a lot more smiles going on now.”
Roy jokingly suggested there may be one exception in the away dressing room – the man he has replaced in the history books.
“One of the first things the boys said was about Halesy being pretty disappointed,” he told BT Sport. ”He wasn’t too happy about that by the sounds of things.”
Roy’s own outlook has also improved considerably in recent months, with his punishing knock definitively ending a period of uncertainty in his international career.
The 27-year-old found himself dropped for the semi-final of last summer’s Champions Trophy following a string of poor scores, only regaining his spot when Hales was suspended following the late night incident which continues to keep Ben Stokes out of England colours.
Roy has held on to the opening slot, with Hales returning at number three, and he admits the jolt of being axed has spurred him on.
“It’s been a while coming, I had a very tough year in 2017,” he said. “Being dropped from the side and then being brought back into it towards the end of the year kind of gave me a bit of a kick.
“It has turned round incredibly quickly, that’s the nature of this game – especially in one-day and T20 cricket.”
Australia skipper Steve Smith, who proved a perpetual thorn in England’s side during the Ashes, was finally forced to play the role of vanquished skipper.
“Jason played an exceptional innings, he came out and chanced his arm and played aggressively from ball one,” said Smith.
“You feel like ‘jeez, I hope he makes a mistake and we can get him out’ but it was just his night. When a player has a night out like that it’s pretty hard to stop.”
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