Dawid Malan grasps chance to shine with century for England

Dawid Malan pushed himself into pole position to open for England at next month’s World Cup, carrying the side with a superb century in the final ODI against New Zealand.

With Jason Roy once again missing due to back spasms, Malan continued to make the most of his unexpected opportunity at the top of the order with 127 off 114 balls in a total of 311 for nine at Lord’s.

The 36-year-old, who became a father for the second time last week, also made 96 at the Kia Oval on Tuesday and 54 in the series opener in Cardiff.

Dawid Malan struck a brilliant century
Dawid Malan struck a brilliant century (John Walton/PA)

Only a matter of days ago Malan was being talked about as a potential fall-guy should Harry Brook be parachuted into the final 15 for the tournament in India, but he has picked his moment expertly and instead appears to have built a compelling case to gatecrash the first XI.

Roy, meanwhile, was left kicking his heels in the dressing room once more and may now be sweating over his own place on the plane. He was one of the stars of England’s 2019 triumph but his fitness issues have emerged at the worst possible time and captain Jos Buttler admitted at the toss that England may look to add him to the second-string side that takes on Ireland next week in a bid to get him back in the saddle.

Malan played his part outstandingly, scoring 14 boundaries and three sixes as he occupied the crease for 40 overs and displayed a combination of touch and timing that eluded his team-mates.

Along the way he eased past 1,000 ODI runs in his 21st appearance – a joint record alongside Kevin Pietersen and Jonathan Trott. He has now reached three figures five times in that period, averaging 61.52 at strike-rate of 96.52 – a formidable track record by any reckoning.

England rested Ben Stokes after the exertions of his record-breaking 182 on Tuesday evening and his presence was missed in the middle order, Brook stepping in at number four but failing to crank up the pressure on Roy any further.

He was dismissed for 10 when he hit a Rachin Ravindra drag down straight to mid-on and boasts a modest 37 from his three outings this series. Joe Root’s struggle for rhythm also continued, twice dropped in single figures before losing his stump for 29 aiming a slog sweep at Ravindra, who finished with four for 60.

Buttler was the best of the rest, chipping in a lively 36, with New Zealand taking five for 68 in a busy final 10 overs.