England won by 100 runs in the final ODI of the series, but eyes were already shifting towards India even before the series had started.
That does not take away from Malan’s 127, scored while no one else could even hit a half century, and steered England towards the win, as he finishes player of the series.
“When I got the call I was told I would be going to the World Cup and then there was a little bit of noise around leading up to it but that’s part and parcel of World Cups and how we’re going,” the England opener said after the game.
“Until you’re on the plane you never really know if you’re in it [the squad] or not.
“But it’s satisfying from my point of view to be able to silence some people who’ve got some negative things to say but that’s part and parcel of the game and my job is to score runs and as long as I can keep doing that I can hopefully keep the support from inside the changing room because I’ve always felt backed from those people.”
Jason Roy was once again missing due to back spasms, and it was Malan who has benefited. His 127 came from 114 balls as England put on 311 for nine, a follow up from his superb 96 in the third ODI at the Oval on Wednesday.
A couple of short weeks ago, Malan was talked about as the potential player to give way should the selectors decide that Harry Brook must have a place in the final 15 for the World Cup in India, but he has performed at the ideal time.
Malan moved past 1,000 runs in his 21st appearance at an average of 61.52, as well as recording his fifth one-day international century.
He elected to play in the match despite having a new-born son – the fifth in succession to bear the name Dawid.
Where that leaves Roy is more open for discussion. Captain Jos Buttler told Test Match Special that he could be drafted into the squad for the upcoming matches against Ireland (where the rest of the team is more of a second-string squad) to get match fitness.
Roy was a star back in 2019 as England lifted the trophy in front of a sold-out Lord’s in memorable fashion, but he has sustained a back spasm less than a month before the tournament, raising concerns over his fitness.
While England’s bowling performance was complete, and they took crucial wickets at key times, with most of the bowlers getting in on the action, there were a few cracks that they will look to address when it comes to the batting.
On Wednesday, England were bowled out with 11 balls remaining despite Malan’s 96 and Ben Stokes hitting a record-breaking ODI high score of 182, and the wickets fell again at Lord’s.
Malan’s innings held the side together and guided them to a reasonable total, but ahead of a major tournament it should not all come down to a single individual effort.
When it came to the bowling, England were composed and struck regularly, with Moeen Ali the pick of the performances, taking four for 40 from his 10 overs including two in two balls.
New Zealand may be concerned however as Tim Southee broke and dislocated a finger going for a catch and was unable to bat, raising questions over his ability to be fit for the World Cup.
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