England captain Jos Buttler says Jason Roy was ‘back to his best’ during ODI hundred against South Africa | Cricket News


Jason Roy was a man under pressure.

His lack of runs and the heavy scoring of others – Alex Hales and Will Jacks to name but two – had raised the prospect of the opener missing this autumn’s 50-over World Cup in India after being axed from last year’s T20 version in Australia.

However, after 14 international innings without a fifty, plus plenty of struggles in domestic white-ball cricket, Roy crashed a 79-ball century against South Africa on Friday in a score of 113 from 91 deliveries, an innings which featured 11 fours and four sixes.

Sunday 29th January 7:30am

England were not at their best in Bloemfontein, slumping from 196-3 to 271 all out having been set 299 to win the first of three ODIs, but skipper Jos Buttler said Roy had hit peak form.

‘Roy showed strength of character’

Speaking about Roy after his side’s 27-run defeat at Mangaung Oval, Buttler said: “It was a phenomenal innings full of personality and courage, some fantastic shots.

“He looked completely back to his best – and I’m delighted to see him back to his best, he’s worked really hard to get there.

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The best of the action from the first ODI in Bloemfontein, where South Africa beat England by 27 runs

“He has been through a tough time. That can happen to everyone in cricket, we all go through those tough periods.

“Having the strength of character to come out and play in the fashion he did and really impose himself was fantastic to see.”

‘Roy looked more composed and balanced’

The list of players queuing up to take Roy’s spot was long and included Hales, Jacks, Dawid Malan, Phil Salt, Jonny Bairstow (when fit) and perhaps even Zak Crawley.

Sky Sports Cricket’s Michael Atherton said: “Roy needed this performance.

Jason Roy roars after scoring ODI century against South Africa (Getty Images)
Sky Sports’ Michael Atherton said Roy looked ‘composed and balanced’ during his ton at Mangaung Oval

“All cricketers will say they don’t read the papers, they don’t listen to what’s going on, but every cricketer knows when they’re under the microscope – you can’t get away from it.

“He just looked more composed, more balanced to me than we’ve seen him. He played some beautiful shots, played as well as we’ve seen him play for a long time.

“His reaction after getting that hundred told you all you needed to know about the importance of the innings.”

Why was Roy struggling?

Atherton’s fellow Sky Sports Cricket expert and former England captain Nasser Hussain added: “Sometimes your strength can be your weakness. He strikes me as someone who goes even harder when he is out of nick.

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Check out the moment Roy clinched his 11th one-day international hundred for England

“He got out by playing out in front but that is how he plays anyway. When he plays well, he plays out in front.

“When you are out of nick and you get tense and angry, you go with a hard bottom hand and we saw him drag the ball onto his stumps, nick it.

“He can learn a lot from the calmness and composure he showed [in that hundred].”

Watch the second ODI between South Africa and England live on Sky Sports Cricket from 7.30am on Sunday (first ball at 8am). The third and final game takes place on Wednesday with coverage beginning at 10.30am on Sky Sports Cricket (11am first ball).

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