Jason Roy breaks record as England beat Australia in first ODI

Australia’s Steve Smith, center, shakes hands with England’s Moeen Ali, left, and Joe Root after their ODI cricket match in Melbourne, Australia, Sunday, Jan. 14, 2018. (AP)
Updated 14 January 2018

Jason Roy breaks record as England beat Australia in first ODI

MELBOURNE: Jason Roy scored an England record 180 from 151 balls and shared a 221-run partnership with Joe Root in a one-day international victory that ended a drought for the tourists in Australia.
Coming off a 4-0 loss in the five-test Ashes series, England won the toss and sent Australia in to bat Sunday in the series-opening ODI, then chased down the target of 305 with seven balls and five wickets to spare.
The South Africa-born Roy was dominant from the start of the chase and surpassed Alex Hales' record of 171 — against Pakistan at Nottingham in 2016 — as the highest ever ODI score for England. He improved on his own high score of 162 against Sri Lanka at the Oval in 2016 June.
His fourth ODI hundred contained 16 boundaries and five sixes and gave him two of the four biggest ODI innings ever for England before he eventually skied a catch into the outfield from Mitchell Starc's bowling when England was 24 runs from victory.
Root was unbeaten on 91 at the end as England reached 308-5 in the 49th over, having joined Roy in the sixth over when England was 60-2.
"Incredibly special," Roy said. "It was just a huge honor to be out there for England again. We had good fun out there."
Australia captain Steve Smith said his team's total was almost 40 runs short of expected, and the early bowlers came under attack from England's top order.
Roy "played spectacularly well — chanced his arm and it came off. They got off to an absolute flyer," Smith said. "He was supported really well by Joe Root as well.
"We need to start playing better cricket and getting some wins on the board in this format."
England captain Eoin Morgan said the return of Roy, who missed selection in the Champions Trophy last year, and Root's shift down to No. 4 had really lengthened the batting lineup.
"Incredible from Jason. He's quite imposing as a batsman," Morgan said. "What a way to start the series — still a long way to go, but certainly a great start."
The World Cup champion Australians posted 304-8, with opener Aaron Finch scoring 107 and putting on 118 in a fourth-wicket partnership with Mitchell Marsh (50).
England took the early advantage when it dismissed key batsman David Warner (2) and Steve Smith (23) inside the first 11 overs. When Travis Head was out for 5 to the last ball of the 14th over, Australia was in trouble at 78-3.
But Finch reached his ninth ODI century — his fourth against England — and Marsh posted his 10th ODI half century to revive the innings.
When Finch reached 75 he surpassed 3,000 ODI runs and went on to a century from 112 balls, raising the milestone with a six off legspinner Adil Rashid, the third of his innings.
He was out soon after, mis-hitting a ball from Moeen Ali that was caught by Jonny Bairstow at wide mid-wicket. Marcus Stoinis scored 60 down the order, reaching his second ODI half century from 37 balls with five fours and a six.
Game two of the five-match series will be in Brisbane on Friday.

Pakistan’s Azhar Ali signs for Somerset

Pakistan's Azhar Ali celebrates reaching his century during a match between England and Pakistant on August 4, 2016. (Reuters file)
Updated 17 July 2018

Pakistan’s Azhar Ali signs for Somerset

  • Azhar is set to make his Somerset debut against Worcestershire later this month

LONDON: Pakistan batsman Azhar Ali has joined Somerset for the remainder of their first-class English County Championship fixtures this season, the southwest club said Monday.

The 33-year-old replaces Australia opener Matt Renshaw, who made three hundreds at 51.30 in the opening rounds of the Championship before breaking a finger against Surrey at Guildford last month.

Azhar is set to make his Somerset debut against Worcestershire later this month.

"The standard of first-class cricket in England is very high and I hope that I can make a contribution to Somerset winning matches," Azhar told his new county's website.

"I have heard good things about Somerset and I was impressed by what I saw at Taunton in 2016 (when Pakistan opened their tour of England that year against the county).

"I am looking forward to joining my new team mates and meeting the Somerset supporters soon."

Azhar struggled during Pakistan's three Tests against Ireland and England earlier this season, making 73 runs in six innings although his lone fifty did come during Pakistan's impressive victory over England at Lord's.

"Finding the right fit at short notice can be challenging, however we are delighted to have secured a player of Azhar Ali's character, pedigree and class for the remaining seven Specsavers County Championship matches," said Somerset's director of cricket, Andy Hurry.

"His experience at the top of the order will prove to be hugely valuable at the business end of the season.

"I have spoken to him several times over the last few weeks and he is very keen to share his knowledge of the game with our aspirational players, so the influence he can have within the changing room will also be vital for us as a club."