Hobbling Root gets England up and running with classy century

England 308 for 2 (Root 133*, Hales 95, Morgan 75*) beat Bangladesh 305 for 6 (Tamim 128, Mushfiqur 79) by eight wickets
Scorecard and ball-by-ball details

Joe Root brought up his 10th ODI hundred as England cantered their chase © Getty Images

An ankle and calf injury set aside, Joe Root put together a masterful unbeaten career-best 133 to power England to an eight-wicket win in their opening Champions Trophy match over Bangladesh, who would rue two major mistakes: not scoring enough in the last five overs and picking one less bowler.

Two big partnerships supported England’s successful 306-run chase. Root’s 129-ball innings included 11 fours and a six, with Eoin Morgan by his side; the captain was not out on a 61-ball 75 that had eight fours and two sixes. The pair were responsible for the 143-run unbroken third-wicket stand after Alex Hales and Root added 159 for the second wicket.

After Tamim Iqbal‘s splendid 128 gave them a fair chance of an opening day win, Bangladesh missed out on a few more runs after Tamim and Mushfiqur Rahim fell off consecutive deliveries in the 45th over, having added 166 for the third wicket. They were timing the ball really well but those who followed could only add 44 in the last 5.2 overs.

More importantly, Bangladesh went to work without an extra specialist bowler. The captain Mashrafe Mortaza had to rotate carefully between himself, Mustafizur Rahman, Shakib Al Hasan and Rubel Hossain, and also give enough overs to Mosaddek Hossain, who is at best a part-timer at this level. It didn’t work out too well for them.

England’s chase began with a wobble as the out-of-touch Jason Roy scooped one towards short fine-leg where Mustafizur dived to take a stunning one-handed grab. But Mashrafe never quite looked comfortable rotating his bowlers as he had to always keep using a part-timer.

And just like Tamim and co used the absence of Chris Woakes, so did Hales, Root and Morgan. First, it was the Hales-Root second wicket partnership that set England on the right course.

Hales punished anything Bangladesh pitched short or too full, carving boundaries in his exclusive manner. He struck five boundaries in the arc between backward point and extra cover, apart from the straight sixes and the pushed fours through midwicket four times.

Hales and Root, who hurt his ankle while trying to pull the ball in the 26th over, batted sensibly apart from the odd hack through the leg side. Hales, though, missed out on a century when he got greedy against part-timer Sabbir Rahman; a four and a six were hit, but then his slog sweep found the substitute Sunzamul Islam at deep midwicket.

Root though, hardly missed a beat as he forged another quick partnership with Morgan for the third wicket. He struck three fours through the covers and twice through midwicket, and one slipped past the wicketkeeper.

With Morgan picking up the pace of the innings, it was only a matter of time that Mashrafe tried to attack with his lop-sided bowling line-up. It was ultimately Mashrafe himself who created the chance in the 36th over but Tamim’s diving effort at long-on from Morgan’s lofted drive was given not out, first in a soft signal by on-field umpire S Ravi, and then followed up by the third umpire Bruce Oxenford.

Root reached his 10th ODI hundred by running two in his hobbling state. He scampered whenever Morgan had pushed him, never complaining as he bashed around more boundaries in the last 10 overs.

Bangladesh too banked on a big partnership: the Tamim-Mushfiqur third-wicket stand that yielded 166. The pair have often collaborated together when the chips are down but this time Mushfiqur walked in after Tamim had laid a solid foundation by the 20th over. Soumya Sarkar and Imrul Kayes had fallen just after getting set at the crease.

Tamim batted resolutely in the face of Mark Wood’s bouncer barrage, but his approach factored in Woakes walking off with a left side strain after bowling just two overs. He laid into Liam Plunkett and teed off every time Moeen Ali floated one up to him. Tamim struck two superb straight drives, and the moment he got the hang of the shorter length, started pulling the ball quite well.

Two of his three sixes were off Moeen, hit over the offspinner’s head while he also swung Wood over long-leg for the third six. Tamim was also delicate with deliveries angled to his body, working them fine either side of the wicketkeepers. He wasn’t fed too many full balls so there weren’t any cover driven boundaries in his innings.

Mushfiqur’s 79 came off 72 balls, at a time when Tamim needed the batsman at the other end to push hard. He was severe on Jake Ball, hitting him for five of his eight boundaries. He was quick on his feet and until he over-hit Plunkett to long-on, Mushfiqur looked good for a century.

In a game of small margins and with England playing without Adil Rashid, Plunkett’s last two overs that went for just seven runs, made a big difference as Bangladesh couldn’t find too many boundaries in the last five overs.

That final push from Plunkett was complemented by the batsmen who chased down the 300-plus total with much ease. It would serve as a warning for the rest of the tournament, that England can and will keep stepping on the gas regardless of their situation.

Mohammad Isam is ESPNcricinfo’s Bangladesh correspondent. @isam84

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

Source: ESPN Crickinfo

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