London: England opener Jason Roy’s ninth ODI hundred was an “emotional” one as he notched it up under tough circumstances, staying up all night to attend to his sick daughter.
Roy, 28, struck a belligerent 114 on Friday to set the platform for England’s successful chase of Pakistan’s 340-7.
But what made the knock all the more challenging was the fact that Roy’s daughter Everly, who was born in March this year, fell ill and the England batsman was at the hospital with wife Elle all night on the eve of the game.
“I had a bit of a rough morning so this one is a special one for me and my family,” revealed Roy. “It was my little one. We had to take her to hospital at 1.30 in the morning. I stayed there until 8.30 and came back for a couple of hours sleep and got to the ground just before warm-up and cracked on. It was a very emotional hundred.”
There were no signs of fatigue when Roy took the field as he saved six runs at the long off boundary with an acrobatic effort off Mohammad Hafeez, to then plunder 11 fours and four sixes from 89 balls.
“I’m not in the form of my life. It was not my most fluent of innings but it was an extremely special feeling to get over three figures. I didn’t see it coming,” Roy admitted.
Roy’s superb 114 was the centrepiece of England’s chase as they beat Pakistan at Trent Bridge to go 3-0 up with one to play in a one-day international series.
England were cruising to a target of 341 while Roy was at the crease but, after comfortable wins at Southampton and Bristol, his dismissal sparked a collapse that saw three wickets lost for seven runs in 10 balls.
And when Moeen Ali was out for a duck, England were 216 for five.
But Ben Stokes’s unbeaten 71 eventually saw England win with three balls to spare.
“For Ben to soak up that pressure, come through it and be not out at the end will give him lots of confidence. It was great to see him play in that fashion,” said England stand-in captain Jos Buttler.
Wicketkeeper Buttler, leading the side while regular captain Eoin Morgan served a one-game ban for the team’s slow over-rate in Bristol, also praised Roy by saying: “It’s great to watch Jason go about his work too. He’s been in great form and he was desperate to go on to his hundred.”
While Roy was named man-of-the-match, the award could have gone to his Surrey teammate Tom Curran.
The paceman took 4-75 in Pakistan’s 340-7, including the wicket of century-maker Babar Azam, and, batting at No 8, made 31 in a key stand of 61 with Stokes.
It all strengthened Curran’s case for a place in tournament hosts England’s final 15-man squad for the World Cup. with the showpiece event now just a matter of weeks away.
“With the bat, with the ball, I love his character. He just wants to be involved in the game, he had a fantastic day,” added Buttler.
Curran, however, might have been run out for six had either Pakistan or the umpires spotted that a second direct hit in the same passage of play had dislodged the one remaining bail as he scrambled to complete a run.
Pakistan captain Sarfraz Ahmad, who did not appeal for the Curran run-out was left regretting that decision but the wicketkeeper was arguably more frustrated by his team’s succession of costly fielding errors.
“We had enough runs on the board and if we had fielded well we would have won this game,” said Sarfraz.
“The coach told me (about the run-out). I thought both bails had come out, I hope that if the third umpire had seen it on the television he would tell the umpires as well.”