England in the West Indies: Jason Roy marks return with rapid century in Barbados
Jason Roy marked his return to England duty with a scintillating 36-ball hundred to usher his side to a thumping win in their only warm-up before a five-match Twenty20 series against the West Indies.
In his first outing since recovering from the torn left calf that curtailed his T20 World Cup two months ago, the opener struck nine fours and 10 sixes against a Barbados Cricket Association President’s XI at the Kensington Oval.
Roy dominated a 141-run opening stand alongside Tom Banton before he was out for 115 off 47 balls, an innings which formed the backbone of England’s 231 for four, with their hosts finishing on 137 for 11 in a 13-a-side affair that carried on beyond the 10th wicket falling to maximise playing time.
There were cameos from Banton (32), James Vince (40 not out), Eoin Morgan (22) and Phil Salt (15no), with Moeen Ali’s dismissal for one off three balls the only blob, ahead of a series which starts on Saturday, where England will be without the likes of Jos Buttler, Jonny Bairstow, Dawid Malan and Ben Stokes after their Ashes involvement.
But it was Roy who hogged the headlines. He limped off the field in England’s final group game at the T20 World Cup in the United Arab Emirates and his absence was keenly felt days later in a semi-final defeat against New Zealand.
He was at his devastating best in Bridgetown and seemed confident from the off, characteristically marching down the track often as he took on a callow seam attack with a series of flicks, pulls and drives.
There were moments of fortune as a couple of leading edges fell into gaps but he reached his ton with three straight heaves for six, the first hitting the roof of the Greenidge and Haynes Stand and the last two clearing it.
He was dropped from the next ball – one of a series of fielding mistakes from their generous hosts – as England reached 141 without loss after 10 overs before off-spinner Ashley Nurse brought some respectability to proceedings.
After Banton slapped to mid-off for 32, Nurse, by far the most experienced campaigner for the BCA President’s XI, stifled Roy and Vince, with England restricted to 16 runs in the four overs following the halfway stage.
Roy swept Nurse into the deep and then the off-spinner, who has represented the Windies on 67 occasions in the white-ball formats, cleaned up Moeen as England lurched to 159 for three before the innings ended with a flourish.
With the Ashes contingent unavailable and one or two others out – Liam Livingstone is in the squad but missed out here due to illness – this was a chance for several on the fringes to stake their claim in a T20 World Cup year.
Vince held England’s innings together after Roy’s downfall and Salt was punchy towards the back end, while Reece Topley and Saqib Mahmood made early inroads into the opposition batting line-up, with a chase never seeming likely.
Left-armer Topley conceded just two runs in his two overs after opening the bowling under lights while Adil Rashid trapped former Windies batter Kyle Hope and Tevyn Walcott in front to reduce the hosts to 63 for six.
Tymal Mills’ radar was a little off, sending down several leg-side wides, but he ended Shamar Springer’s buccaneering 36 off 23 balls, with Liam Dawson holding on to a steepler at mid-off.
Mills took another couple of scalps with slower balls either side of a short break for rain. While the home side had lost 10 wickets, they fulfilled their 20 overs as England sought to wring every drop from the practice game.
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