Roy shows he can cut it in Asia
Opener smashes his first hundred on Subcontinent to boost World Cup hopes
The man whose decisive, final act in the drama will be indelibly linked to england’s maiden 50- over World Cup win appears destined to be a part of the title defence this autumn following a breakthrough hundred on the Subcontinent.
Jason Roy’s rollicking 132 was the 12th of his international career but — significantly — his first in this part of Asia and came against opponents previously unbeaten in more than six years at home.
Similar challenges await over the border in India come October, although not all teams are as adept at exploiting such conditions. Not since the winter of 2016-17 had Bangladesh lost a bilateral series on their own soil, when a Jos Buttler-led england won here, but history repeated itself. Roy, the man with the throw that settled the 2019 Lord’s showpiece by the barest of margins, well and truly put behind him the patchy displays that placed his future in jeopardy.
This was his second three-figure contribution in five england appearances in 2023, following 14 innings without reaching 50, and trumped his effort in Bloemfontein because of the circumstances.
A sign of the difficulties a tacky pitch presented was revealed in the plight of others. While Roy and Buttler crunched their runs at better than a run a ball — sharing a stand of 109 in 15.3 overs — the other four members of the top six combined for 24 off 54.
Roy said: ‘Some hundreds in the past, I have got to 40 and felt really free-flowing but every run, every boundary I scored was a bit of a scrap.
‘I have been putting in the work, staying focused and keeping my head down, ignoring a lot of the smoke that has been around. I am my biggest critic. I know I’ve not been in the greatest of form but I have been playing decent cricket and hitting the ball well, so I felt it was just a matter of time.
‘South Africa was obviously a big weight off my shoulders, but to come and use a completely different skill set was very pleasing.’
While Roy moved third in england’s list of ODI centurions, Adil Rashid took up the same position among the wicket-takers, his four for 45, elevating him above the 178 victims of Stuart Broad. Rashid spent several hours the previous day under intense, video link cross- examination, as a witness in the eCB’s disrepute charges against multiple former Yorkshire team-mates, but showed his mental resilience to help plunge Bangladesh to a 132-run defeat.
Thanks chiefly to a swing masterclass by Sam Curran — thrown the new ball with Jofra Archer and Chris Woakes rested
— the hosts were already four wickets down when Rashid entered the attack.
The home crowd were provided with fleeting hope when Shakib Al hasan, celebrating a 400th appearance with a half century, and Tamim Iqbal put their personal rift behind them to place a tourniquet around the early bleeding.
But the required rate was already at eight when they were separated and Afif hossain’s demise to Rashid left Bangladesh 160 for six, and supporters who saw India humbled here last December streaming for the exits.
After being inserted, england’s scoreboard moved sluggishly unless Roy was on strike, yet even he recognised virtue in the template used by Wednesday’s centurion Dawid Malan. Like Malan, he struggled initially against the spinners, but acknowledging the value of sweeping, overcame such difficulties to reach 50 off 54 balls.
Roy had struck nine of the innings’ 10 fours when Buttler announced himself with a reverse sweep to the rope off Taijul Islam, and the fourth-wicket pair developed such impetus that the 30-over score of 157 for three was more than doubled, and 107 came from the final 10 overs.
Roy’s rampage of six fours in a burst of 11 deliveries preceded a weary swipe at Shakib and even though Buttler was brilliantly caught by Mehidy hasan Miraz in his follow through for 76, Curran and Moeen Ali continued the charge to take england to an impregnable position in the series, which concludes on Monday.