Jason Roy struck an England ODI record of 180 from 151 balls as the tourists chased down Australia’s 304-8 to bounce back from their Ashes defeat with a five-wicket win in the first ODI in Melbourne.
Roy put on a partnership of 221 with Joe Root (91 not out) to guide England to the highest successful run-chase at the MCG.
In a day of records, England’s opener passed Alex Hales’ 171 against Pakistan in 2016 to post the highest-ever score in the format by an Englishman, as well as beating Mark Waugh’s previous best ODI score at the MCG of 173.
Australia would have been happy enough with their batting display as Aaron Finch (107), Marcus Stoinis (60) and Mitchell Marsh (50) got them past 300. Liam Plunkett took three wickets and Adil Rashid two, but both went at seven runs per over, while Moeen Ali bowled economically for his 1-39.
But Roy, who successfully overturned an lbw decision on 91, scored freely from the short ball and down the ground to keep the required run-rate below six-an-over throughout. He combined well with Root, who hit the gaps with regularity to rotate the strike and keep the scoreboard moving.
After Jonny Bairstow and Alex Hales fell early, Roy and Root set about making the most of the plentiful MCG outfield, sometimes pushing it close with their energetic and ambitious running.
Roy dominated the partnership, smashing 16 fours and five sixes. The Surrey right-hander took on everything that came his way and was at times fortunate, with a few mistimed strokes landing safe off the top-edge. But he also hit some wonderful shots, particularly through his favourite area of mid-on.
A tired Roy eventually succumbed to a Mitchell Starc bouncer, while Eoin Morgan and Jos Buttler were dismissed cheaply late on, but Moeen crashed a boundary off Travis Head to take England home with seven balls to spare.
Roy, who appeared to have damaged his hand after slipping while running between the wickets, described his innings as “incredibly special” after he was dropped last year for a run of poor form.
Looking to put their Ashes misery firmly behind them, England started well with the ball on a good MCG pitch. Mark Wood bowled with the pace they had lacked in the Test matches, dismissing the ever-dangerous David Warner early on.
Indeed, England had Australia right where they wanted them at 78-3, with Steve Smith and Travis Head back in the dug-out. But Australia recovered through Finch, who put on a partnership of 118 with Marsh.
Stoinis then propelled the innings with 60 from 40 balls, but England took regular wickets to stall the run-rate – a period Smith later described as crucial, with the hosts originally targeting 350.
“We left ourselves a few runs short,” said Australia’s captain. “We lost some wickets in the middle overs and it meant we probably couldn’t go hard at the back-end and get the 340-350 that we were after.”
England’s confidence in the 50-over format was highlighted by their captain Morgan, who admitted he was pleased to be chasing 304, even though it amounted to a record total at the MCG.
With their revamped batting line-up, Morgan’s side looked typically comfortable in pursuit of a big total. They will go into the second ODI at Brisbane on Friday full of confidence that they can repeat the trick, with or without another special innings from Roy.