This was the day England finally changed the record in one-day cricket by breaking a host of them.
The landmarks themselves – the first one-day total of 400 in England; England’s best one-day score; the record number of sixes; the widest margin of victory (210 runs) in this form of the game – mattered less than what they might mean for the future. It is one thing to say that you will try to emulate the world’s best. It is quite another to achieve it with a victory as spectacular as this.
There were brilliant centuries from Jos Buttler and Joe Root, and fifties for captain Eoin Morgan and Adil Rashid. The Yorkshire all-rounder Rashid then followed his 69 with 4 for 55 in an impressive spell of wrist-spin, which included the wickets of Mitchell Santner and Luke Ronchi with consecutive deliveries.
If he maintains this level of form, he will be a contender for the Ashes. Steven Finn is also seeking a Test recall and he performed well, too, taking 4 for 35.
This was just one match, the first of five in the Royal London series, and New Zealand were without key men in Tim Southee and Corey Anderson. Yet this was only the 16th time a team had passed 400 in the history of one-day cricket. It is only the start of the journey, but what a start it is.
Morgan said: “I was as surprised as anyone. It was as close to the perfect performance in a one-day game as you’ll find. You can say what you want about the World Cup but I’m looking forward. I’m really excited and what happened today has encouraged me even more to look further down the line and give players the chance to grow.”
During the World Cup, New Zealand needed just 12.2 overs to defeat England in Wellington – an annihilation that was symbolic of England’s disastrous campaign. That was less than four months ago, but for those watching at Edgbaston, it must have felt like four decades. Chasing 409 will always be difficult, even for a team as powerful as New Zealand. When their leader, Brendon McCullum, fell to Finn in the first over, the task became considerably harder.
Only Ross Taylor, who made a 54-ball 57, was able to resist England. As the tourists sought to keep pace with England’s bracing run rate, it was inevitable they would make mistakes. When they slipped from 160 for 3 to 195 for 8, England’s win was assured.
Spare a thought, though, for Jason Roy. Part of the new generation of attacking cricketers, the Surrey opener sought to assert himself from the start after England were inserted by McCullum, but he could only steer the first ball of the match into the hands of backward point.
Yet Trent Boult’s strike did not quell England’s courage. Root joined Alex Hales and the pair took England to 50 from 43 deliveries before Hales mistimed a hook and was caught.
Morgan had scored only two half-centuries in his previous 28 one-day innings and was greeted by an extraordinary field, with four men in the point region. At first, it seemed to unsettle him. Not for long as he moved smoothly into Root’s slipstream.
Root, promoted to No 3, looks increasingly like England’s best batsman. The Yorkshire player is comfortable in all forms of the game, and some of his strokes were a delight. He was dropped on 61 by Taylor – a tough chance at long-on – but had earned his luck and deserved his fifth one-day century for England.
A classy drive down the ground off Matt Henry brought up the milestone, though Root would not last much longer. Charging down the wicket to Boult, his eagerness got the better of him and he edged behind.
Shortly before that, Morgan was out lbw to Mitchell McClenaghan and his departure, along with that of Root, made England wobble. Ben Stokes dragged on a short delivery from Boult before Sam Billings was given out leg-before on review to his fellow debutant Santner. When New Zealand batted, Billings’ day brightened when he sent in the wonderful throw that led to Grant Elliott’s run-out.
When Billings went, England were 202 for 6 in the 30th over and it seemed their innings might subside. But we had reckoned without the sumptuous class of Buttler.
Spectators will remember many of the shots – the straight sixes, the cover drives, the ramp shot that took him to 99. Just as important, however, was the maturity the 24-year-old Buttler showed as he and Rashid rebuilt. When they came together, four wickets had fallen for 31 runs, following a stand of 121 from 96 balls between Root and Morgan.
Buttler moved to 30 at a little more than a run a ball, which was sedate by the standards of this match. Then he realised he had a capable partner in Rashid and cut loose, producing a world-record seventh-wicket partnership of 177 with the leg-spinner.
Buttler needed just 24 deliveries to move from 50 to 100 and 11 to go from 103 to 129. He, too, was reprieved by Taylor, who spilled a chance at deep midwicket. The mistakes did not end there, with Rashid the next to ride his luck when McCullum misjudged a simple opportunity at mid-off.
After one astounding Buttler six – fished from outside off and levered over long-on – McClenaghan simply shook his head. When Buttler was caught at square-leg for 129, it felt as though the World Cup had never happened.
Liam Plunkett delivered the history-making blow with a six – of course – down the ground to take England past 400, but the majority of the leg-work had been done by Buttler and Root. Rashid and Finn finished the job and England won with 113 balls to spare.
They have shown England the path to a brighter future. We do not know yet whether they can follow it, but it should be an exciting trip.
Dawn of a new era? England’s records
408-9 Highest one-day international total by England, and 10th highest of all time. Also the highest ODI total in England.
129 Jos Buttler’s knock was highest ODI score by a No 6 batsman for England.
100 Buttler’s century, off 66 deliveries, is second fastest in England ODI history.
104 Joe Root’s ton, from 77 balls, is the fourth fastest ODI century for England.
177 Highest seventh-wicket partnership in ODI history.
14 Most sixes scored in an ODI innings by England.Reuse content