Playing in only his 24th ODI, Durban-born Jason Roy posted the second-highest individual score for England against Sri Lanka at the Oval.
The South African-born batsman’s 162 was only five runs short of Robin Smith’s England record of 167. And the knock put the batsman – who, like Smith, is Durban-born – 12th on the world’s highest ODI scores’ list.
Sri Lanka had posted 305 runs on the board at the end of their innings after 42 overs, in a match shortened by the rain. The Duckworth/Lewis method meant that the English needed 308 runs from their 42 overs. Their chase was started with the news that Alex Hales had a slight injury and was replaced by Moeen Ali as opening partner to Roy.
Roy, a man who has been compared to another Durban-born batsman and former Surrey teammate Kevin Pietersen, showed why there has been so much hype about him since he first made the English team in 2015. Though stealthily, he attacked the Sri Lanka bowlers from the first ball. He reached his 50 off just 39 balls. And with the clouds getting darker over Kennington – he accelerated even more.
In the 13th over there was a momentum shift in favour of England when Roy scored 17 runs off Sri Lankan bowler Nuwan Pradeep – with Joe Root watching approvingly at the non-strikers end. A golf-like swing over long-off for six, a beautiful drive through the cover for four, and a straight bat through backward square for four – Roy offered his variety of strokes.
The right-handed batsman saw England through to their 100 with only one wicket down. His own hundred came shortly after off just 74 balls. Sadly Root was not there to witness it, but England were cruising on 179-2 at the end of the 24th over.
Roy’s 150 came off 109 balls in the 35th over with England on 253-3. Unfortunately, three overs later he was dismissed with the England ODI record in sight.
Roy’s knock is not the first time a South African-born player has put in a match-winning innings for England. In fact, of the top six highest England scores, only one does not feature a South Africa-born player. Aside from Smith and Roy, Andrew Strauss has three of the highest scores in the top six. The other spot goes to English cricket legend David Gower.
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