England vs India: Joe Root hits historic century as hosts claim three-match ODI series

Root becomes England's all-time top century maker in ODI cricket

Chris Stocks
Headingley
Tuesday 17 July 2018 19:50
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Root hit a century from the last ball of the match for England
Root hit a century from the last ball of the match for England

England’s footballers thrived in Russia after entering the tournament with expectations at sub-terrainian levels. That is unlikely to be the case for the country’s cricketers at next year’s World Cup after they ruthlessly wrapped up an eighth successive one-day series victory.

This winner-takes-all clash at Headingley against India, the No 2-ranked team, was a genuine pressure match for England, with Mark Wood comparing it to a World Cup knockout tie.

So the fact they came through it with flying colours, chasing down 257 with 33 balls and eight wickets to spare, underlined just why they are No 1 in the world and the clear favourites for a tournament they will host next summer.

There was also the added bonus here of Joe Root scoring an England-record 13th one-day century to lead his country home, the Yorkshireman moving ahead of Marcus Trescothick on the all-time list after sealing his hundred by hitting the very last ball of the match, bowled by Hardik Pandya, for four.

(Action Images via Reuters

Root’s boundary not only derailed India’s run of nine successive series wins but sealed an impressive comeback from England after they were hammered by eight wickets in the opening match of this series at Trent Bridge last Thursday. They recovered with a dominant 86-run win at Lord’s on Saturday and followed that up with an even more accomplished performance here. The common thread between the two? Centuries for Root.

England’s Test captain broke his run of eight innings without a fifty with 113 last weekend and kicked on here with 100 from 120 balls. Root’s unbroken stand of 186 with Morgan, who also finished unbeaten on 88, saw England home with ease.

This really does bode well for the five-Test series to come against India, with Root rediscovering his form just in the nick of time ahead of the opening match at Edgbaston on 1 August. The way England’s batsman have tamed left-arm wrist-spinner Kuldeep Yadav is another reason to be positive ahead of the Tests.

(AFP/Getty Images

Kuldeep’s haul of six for 25 was the key to India’s victory in the first ODI in Nottingham. But he was restricted to three for 68 at Lord’s and was completely shut out here in Leeds, conceding 55 from a wicketless 10 overs. This was also a victory forged on the back of a brilliant display in the field once Morgan won the toss and put India in.

Key was the performance of Wood, a bowler who had gone round the park in the first two matches finding his rhythm and returning miserly figures of one for 30 from his 10 overs. There was also a contender for ball of the summer from Adil Rashid that did for Virat Kohli, the leg-spinner landing one on leg stump and seeing it rip across to dislodge off. India’s captain, who had moved serenely onto 71, wore the look of Mike Gatting after Australia’s Shane Warne bowled him with the Ball of the Century in the 1993 Old Trafford Ashes Test.

At that stage India were 156 for four in the 31st over, Rashid having already bowled Dinesh Karthik and Ben Stokes ending a second-wicket stand of 71 between Kohli and Shikhar Dhawan with a brilliant direct hit from midwicket that saw the latter run out for 44.

(Getty Images

Amidst all this was another curious innings from MS Dhoni, who had been roundly booed by his own fans at Lord’s as he made an oddly pedestrian 37 from 59 balls. This time, after being promoted to No 5, Dhoni scored 42 from 66 deliveries before edging David Willey behind. Just what is up with one of the game’s greatest-ever finishers? He may be 37 but this is like watching a sports car stuck in first gear.

By the time Dhoni departed in the 46th over, India were seven down, Rashid also snaring Suresh Raina to return figures of three for 49 and Wood removing Pandya. Willey also grabbed a third scalp before the close, Bhuvneshwar Kumar caught in the deep off the final ball, as India limped to a total of 256 for eight.

Jonny Bairstow got England’s chase off to a flying start, hitting 30 in 12 balls before steering seamer Shardul Thakur to midwicket. Alongside him was James Vince, dropped from the Test squad after a poor winter but given an unexpected one-day chance following Jason Roy’s hand injury on the eve of this game.

Like he always does, Vince looked good in making a run-a-ball 27. This time, though, the Hampshire batsman was run out – just as he was in the opening Ashes Test at Brisbane when set for a century. Back then there wasn’t a dive. There wasn’t one here either as England slipped to 74 for two in the tenth over. It really was peak Vince.

However, that clumsy dismissal only brought Morgan to the crease alongside Root and the pair, during an England-record partnership for the third wicket, slamming the door on India’s hopes in emphatic fashion.

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