Published:  10:06 PM, 08 June 2019

Roy's 153 takes England to 386

Roy's 153 takes England to 386

386 for 6. The green tinge on the Sophia Gardens track was a farce, unfortunately for Bangladesh only to realise more than half an hour after Mashrafe Mortaza had elected to bowl. It teased and deceived the seamers, promising pleasure but behaving much against them. And to exploit the merits of it, waited Jonny Bairstow and Jason Roy - the explosive English opening pair that had displayed its prowess several times over in the last couple of years but yet to showcase it in a World Cup game.

Expecting some threat from the conditions, they were cautious to begin with. But soon realising that the expected lateral movement was not coming to threaten them, they resorted to an aggressive approach from the sixth over itself. Roy was the first to take charge, smashing four boundaries in consecutive overs - off the experienced duo of Mortaza and Shakib Al Hasan.

Bairstow was slow to get into his elements, having managed only three runs off his first 13 deliveries. However, some quick running, including a rare four, and a boundary fest that started in the eighth over off Mohammad Shaifuddin allowed him to pick his scoring rate over run-a-ball en route a 49-ball half-century. With minimal assistance on offer for the bowlers, the openers smashed their way to an eighth century stand.

Bangladesh had to try angles and lengths beyond the usual to offer some challenge to the batsmen. Mortaza did that in the 20th over by coming round the wicket and reaped his reward rightaway as he induced an edge off Bairstow - right after he reached his fifty - for the ball to blob towards the extra cover region fielder.

However, Roy, who had hogged majority of the strike in the opening partnership, continued to bludgeon the Bangladesh bowlers. One such assault came in the 35th over, only three overs after Joe Root was castled by Shaifuddin while he attempted to stay in tune with the pace of his partner. The opener smashed Mehidy Hasan's offbreaks for sixes thrice off the first three balls. In looking to maintain the tempo, he attempted it the fourth time and got the outside edge to sky high and be caught by Mortaza at extra cover. His 121-ball stay yielded 153 runs: 14 boundaries and 5 sixes.

With a flat pitch and the merciless approach of the English batsmen unlikely to do any favours for Bangladesh, it didn't help matters that they were sloppy on the field as well - a far-cry performance from what they had managed against New Zealand in their previous encounter; misfields, dropped catches and failure to back up throws costing them plenty.

Despite the two wickets in quick succession, England didn't lose control of the proceedings. At 235 for 3 in the 35th over, a perfect platform was laid for the big hitters in the middle order to exploit. It was in fact the period where England's scoring rate took a massive jump. Cantering at just over run-a-ball till the 30th over, they smashed 90 in the next 10-over phase.

Jos Buttler, promoted to No. 4, was off the blocks quickly, picking two sixes and a boundary off Mosaddek Hossain in the 38th over. That Mosaddek didn't come back into the attack again was expected, but that Bangladesh could keep an England charging at 7.7 run an over around that period from touching the 400-run mark was a good effort in itself.

Buttler struggled through a bit of ankle pain but stroked another quickfire half-century. However, towards the end of the innings, Mustafizur Rahman's back of the length deliveries had done well to keep the destructive 'keeper-batsman in reasonable check. He eventually perished for a 44-ball 64.

Chris Woakes and Liam Plunkett added some quick runs after Bangladesh had done reasonably towards the death overs, Mustafizur being the most impressive of the lot. For a brief period, boundaries didn't come easy, and the pursuit for that led to some quick wickets. Eoin Morgan and Ben Stokes never found any momentum to their respective innings and departed in their bid for big shots. However, despite all that, even in their best bowling period, Bangladesh ended up conceding 111 runs as England posted a record seventh successive 300-plus total in ODIs.


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