Root aims for repeat performance

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Published: Thursday 11th June 2015 by The News Editor

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England can only strive to somehow revisit perfection after setting the bar for their new era impossibly high in the record victory over New Zealand.

As the Royal London Series moves on to The Oval, Joe Root is not about to rule out another performance of the same magnitude achieved at Edgbaston on Tuesday – when England piled up more than 400 for the first time in their history en route to a record 210-run win.

Root, one of the Birmingham centurions alongside Jos Buttler, knows nonetheless that the remainder of the five-match series presents a significant and telling test of the hosts’ new adventurous methods.

England resolved, after their winter of woe at the hands of New Zealand and others in the World Cup, to come out firing with bat and ball – and they delivered brilliantly at their first attempt.

They have a history already this year, however – in two Test series, rather than one-day internationals – of failing to consolidate after very promising starts, having squandered 1-0 leads over West Indies and then New Zealand.

They arrived both in Barbados and Headingley with high expectations after impressive performances, and so it is here following the raft of new records set in the midlands.

“Obviously the way we played there was pretty much the perfect performance,” said Root.

“I suppose our challenge now is to try and do that more consistently.”

Root is optimistic, with evidence of England’s capabilities so strong and fresh in the mind.

“We’ve shown we can do it, and it’s certainly something we’ll look to replicate on Friday … we’ll go out there with a similar frame of mind to take on New Zealand.

“We’ve now done that, we know we can do it – can we go and do it again on Friday?

“It’s about taking the same mindset, same approach and hope we can do the same thing.”

England, likely to stick with a winning team, will not be underestimating opponents who inflicted an embarrassing eight-wicket defeat on them in their previous ODI meeting four months ago.

Root added: “We’re not naive enough to think they won’t come back hard at us, because they’re a great side.

“They’ve proved that now for the last couple of years in one-day cricket, and we’re going to have to play extremely well to get another win under our belts.”

He has reason to believe nonetheless that he is part of a team who can match them these days.

“I feel in great, great touch at the minute,” said the Yorkshireman.

“We committed to being very aggressive and we also knew how talented our batting order was, having Liam Plunkett coming in at 10 and Finny (Steven Finn) at 11 – who’ve proven over the years they can clear the ropes.

“It was very exciting, obviously a phenomenal partnership between Adil (Rashid) and Jos, and an absolute pleasure to watch from the dressing room.”

It was from the stands, and on television, too – an important point not lost on Root, as England seek to re-engage supporters disappointed by their World Cup flop.

“It was great fun,” he said.

“I’m sure all the crowd were just as excited as we were really.

“It was spectacular to watch. Jos almost made you feel like every ball was going to go out of the park.”

Root and Buttler’s batting was breathtaking and memorable – and Rashid produced a career-best in both disciplines.

The key, though, is that England’s new era does not prove a one-hit wonder.

Only last year, Borgeous – aka American DJ John Borger – provided the latest in a long list of cautionary tales on that score from the world of music when his Tsunami (Jump) went to number one in the UK and then his follow-up single did not even reach the charts.

For good measure, it was inappropriately titled ‘Invincible’.

Root needed no reminder of any of that to know the onus is on England to prove they have substance to go with a big-hitting style to which they will remain committed come what may.

“It is only one performance … but it is very exciting going into the rest of this series,” he said.

“Obviously it is not going to happen every week, but it is something we definitely want to try and do.

“We’ll take that approach into every match and then see where we’re at.”

Published: Thursday 11th June 2015 by The News Editor

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