CHAMPIONS TROPHY: Centurion Root flattens Bangladesh’s 305-6
SUMMARY: England 308-2 (Root 133*, Hales 95, Morgan 75*) beat Bangladesh 305-6 (Tamim 128, Mushfiqur 79) by eight wickets.
Joe Root compiled an unbeaten century as England opened their Champions Trophy campaign with victory over Bangladesh at The Oval. Root made 133 not out and Alex Hales 95 as England, the bookmakers’ favourites for the tournament, reached their target of 306 with 16 balls to spare.
Tamim Iqbal hit 128 in Bangladesh’s 305-5, with Liam Plunkett taking 4-59. But England suffered injury concerns as Chris Woakes sustained a side problem and Root appeared to hurt his calf. Ben Stokes, who required a pre-match fitness test on a knee injury, did manage to bowl seven overs.
However, Woakes only sent down two before leaving the field, while Root hobbled through much of the second part of his innings. Woakes is being sent for a scan on Thursday evening while Root’s niggle is thought to be less serious. England will probably secure a place in the semi-finals if they beat New Zealand in Cardiff on Tuesday, while Bangladesh almost certainly have to beat Australia on Monday to avoid being eliminated.
England are strongly fancied to win their first global 50-over trophy largely because of the strength of their batting, which again impressed on a superb surface. But their bowling, arguably a weakness, showed room for improvement for sterner tests to come. Pace bowler Jake Ball, preferred to the leg-spin of Adil Rashid, went at more than eight an over.
Opener Jason Roy, with a highest score of 20 in his six previous one-day internationals, made only one from eight balls before scooping pace bowler Mashrafe Mortaza to short fine leg.
Still, injuries are starting to look like the biggest problem. After doubts over Stokes, the loss of either Root or Woakes, England’s highest ranked ODI batsman and bowler respectively, would be a huge blow.
Even in such perfect conditions for batting, Bangladesh’s total was enough to pressure England, especially after Roy was dismissed. However, Root and Hales calmed any fears of an upset with a second-wicket stand of 159.
Hales muscled the ball through the leg side, played brutal cuts and lofted two sixes, only to be caught on the leg side boundary when looking for the blow that would have taken him to a century. Root deftly worked the ball off his pads and behind square on the off side and, despite being in obvious discomfort after suffering the injury on 61, completed a 10th ODI hundred.
By that time he had been joined by captain Eoin Morgan. The left-hander survived a spectacular catch which was claimed by Tamim – but not given following a look at television replays – before compiling a typically calculated unbeaten 75. They added an unbroken 143 for the third wicket, Root accelerating after passing three figures to post his highest ODI score.
Bangladesh took advantage of being invited to bat, led by the sparkling Tamim and cheered on by an energetic crowd. Tamim was on 19 when he could have fallen to a vicious Mark Wood bouncer but, after that, he dispatched anything short and played drives down the ground.
He shared a stand of 166 with Mushfiqur Rahim (79) to move Bangladesh to a dangerous 259-2 with six overs remaining. But Tamim skied to Jos Buttler and Mushfiqur holed to long on from successive Plunkett deliveries to halt the Tigers’ momentum.
Bangladesh posted their highest ODI total against England, but it was still about 30 runs short of really testing the powerful home batting. (BBC Sport)