Jason Roy calls on England to make a mark on their ODI tour of India

England return to the ground where they lost the World T20 final last year

Rory Dollard
in Kolkata
Saturday 21 January 2017 14:17
Roy has top-scored for England in the ODIs
Roy has top-scored for England in the ODIs

When England step out at Eden Gardens on Sunday the stakes will be considerably lower than their last visit to Kolkata's vast colosseum but batsman Jason Roy believes there is still plenty to play for.

Less than nine months ago Eoin Morgan's side came within an over of winning the World T20 here in West Bengal only to be denied by one of tournament cricket's most memorable finishes.

Needing 19 to win off the last six balls, West Indian all-rounder Carlos Brathwaite heaved Ben Stokes into the stands four times in a row to snatch the trophy from England's grasp.

Their return could have been a final of sorts but instead they go into the third and final one-day international 2-0 down and with less tangible rewards on offer - pride for one, belief ahead of this summer's Champions Trophy another and, for some of the squad, a chance to impress ahead of the Indian Premier League auction.

Roy, who made a duck in the World T20 final but is England's top-scorer of the series with 155 in two knocks, is in the marker for all three.

Speaking in the same dimly-lit conference hall where West Indies batsman Marlon Samuels conducted a gloating press call with his feet on the desk last April, Roy said: "Coming back here brings a mixed bag really...obviously being in the final was incredible but there was disappointment after the game.

"It's good to be back even though it's frustrating it's a dead rubber. We feel we've got to make our mark on India a bit.

"As a squad we definitely are more experienced now, we've got a lot under our belts and a lot of good performances, good series wins, but it's just disappointing about this series to be honest.

"We want to finish on a high and every game between now and the Champions Trophy is a stepping block for us towards that huge competition. We've got a huge amount of positives to take from the last two games and although we got outplayed we put in some serious performances.

Jason Roy belts one skywards in the Bangladesh nets

"We got 350 in the first game and 366 in the second game and lost both of them but the positives to come out of that are amazing."

Roy will be opening the batting with a new partner on Sunday, Alex Hales having flown home with a broken hand sustained in the 15-run defeat in Cuttack.

Sam Billings is favourite to get the nod after making 62 against Bangladesh in his previous appearance at the head of the innings in October.

"He's a fiery batsman and an awesome player, if he gets the nod at number two that would be great," said Roy.

Billings is favourite to take over from the injured Alex Hales 

"We have batted together a couple of times and have played against each other a lot. He's a great bloke to bat with, runs hard, plays strong shots and that's exactly what we look for at the top of the order to set the tone."

Hales' injury has also led to Jonny Bairstow being added to the squad for the three-match T20 series.

Despite a brilliant 2016 in the Test XI, Bairstow is not a first-choice in limited-overs cricket and was not even selected for the T20 leg. He will now stay on in India as batting cover.

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