Hosts England will aim to continue a dominant run of form when they welcome Sri Lanka to Headingley in the Cricket World Cup on Friday.

Captain Eoin Morgan bludgeoned an astonishing 148 against Afghanistan at Old Trafford last time out, including an ODI record of 17 sixes in an innings – the lion's share of 25 maximums from England, which also represented a format best.

If there was any reason to nit-pick after a 150-run triumph, following similarly resounding wins over West Indies and Bangladesh, it was the fall of only one Afghanistan wicket between the 12th and 41st overs of their response.

A recall for experienced seamer and mid-overs specialist Liam Plunkett on his former home ground could be a solution, as Moeen Ali eyes a 100th ODI cap, although current form suggests England should have far too much for a Sri Lanka side who have arguably benefitted from a typically inclement British summer.

Four points from five matches means Dimuth Karunaratne's side still harbour semi-final hopes, although no-results against Pakistan and Bangladesh account for half of that haul. Victory over Afghanistan has come to be a sure thing in this tournament, meaning Sri Lanka's heavy defeats to New Zealand and Australia are more indicative of their standing.

 

TOURNAMENT SO FAR

After an eventually commanding 104-run win over South Africa in the tournament opener and a thrilling loss to Pakistan, England's three consecutive victories have featured huge totals against Bangladesh and Afghanistan either side of swatting West Indies aside. Morgan's men are hitting the dominant form that made them favourites for glory.

New Zealand rolled Sri Lanka for 136 in a 10-wicket thrashing, while Aaron Finch's thumping 153 probably gave them a taste of what is to come against England. Even the victory over Afghanistan saw them forced to defend 201 all out, while complaints about green pitches and a failure to show for a post-match news conference following the Australia loss do not exactly paint a picture of a camp at ease.

WHAT THEY SAID

England all-rounder Moeen: "Obviously, it means a lot. To play 100 games for England, ODI games, it's a dream. I never thought in my wildest dreams that I would get close to it so it's an amazing feeling."

Sri Lanka captain Karunaratne: "England is the best batting line-up against the spinners in the world. If you take the Asian countries, I think England are playing [spin] even better than them. We know that we need to restrict them to less than 300, we have a couple of plans against the batsmen and we will try to use them in the middle."

OPTA FACTS

- After enjoying a six-match winning streak versus Sri Lanka in ODIs, England lost by 219 runs on the Duckworth-Lewis-Stern method the last time the sides met in October 2018.
- England and Sri Lanka have two wins apiece in ODIs they have contested at Headingley, although the Lions have won the previous two in 2006 and 2011.
- Joe Root will play before an adoring Yorkshire public having scored fifty or more in five of his past six ODI knocks, including two centuries.

Dylan Hartley has been left out of England's Rugby World Cup training squad as the hooker continues to struggle with a knee problem.

England co-captain Hartley has not played since December and the Northampton Saints man's prolonged period of inactivity appears to have scuppered his hopes of featuring in Japan later this year.

Flanker and former England skipper Chris Robshaw and scrum-half Danny Care are other high-profile omissions.

Alex Dombrandt, Lewis Ludlam, Ruaridh McConnochie and Val Rapava Ruskin have been called up to the senior squad for the first time.

The 29-man party does not include any players involved in the Premiership semi-finals, with those from Gloucester and Northampton to join the camp next week.

Players from champions Saracens and runners-up Exeter Chiefs will then come into the reckoning when Eddie Jones names his final training party on July 4.

On Wednesday, Exeter's Jack Nowell was backed to recover from ankle surgery in time to feature at the World Cup by Chiefs director of rugby Rob Baxter.

George Kruis and Mako Vunipola will report for medical treatment when the squad gather for a week at Pennyhill Park and the Lensbury on June 30.

 

England training squad:

Forwards

Dan Cole, Tom Curry, Alex Dombrandt, Tom Dunn, Charlie Ewels, Ellis Genge, Joe Launchbury, Lewis Ludlam, Val Rapava Ruskin, Nick Schonert, Brad Shields, Kyle Sinckler, Jack Singleton, Sam Underhill, Mark Wilson.

Backs

Chris Ashton, Mike Brown, Joe Cokanasiga, Elliot Daly, George Ford, Jonathan Joseph, Jonny May, Ruaridh McConnochie, Dan Robson, Marcus Smith, Ben Te'o, Manu Tuilagi, Anthony Watson, Ben Youngs.

In for medical treatment

George Kruis and Mako Vunipola.

Exeter Chiefs and England back Jack Nowell is expected to be fit for the Rugby World Cup after undergoing successful ankle surgery.

The British and Irish Lion limped out of the Premiership final defeat to Saracens at the start of this month after injuring himself attempting to tackle Sean Maitland.

Nowell underwent scans and the Chiefs revealed the versatile 26-year-old had an operation on his left ankle on Tuesday.

Exeter director of rugby Rob Baxter says Nowell should have recovered by the time the World Cup gets under way in Japan in September.

"Jack's had an operation on his ankle and at this stage we see no reason why it should jeopardise him being involved with England at the Rugby World Cup, nor with us heading into the new season," said Baxter.

Baxter did not specify how long Nowell may be out of action.

Centurion Eoin Morgan admitted his record-breaking heroics against Afghanistan were beyond his "wildest dreams" after helping England move top of the Cricket World Cup standings.

The England captain smashed 17 sixes - the most by any batsman in an ODI - during a stunning 71-ball innings of 148 on the way to an emphatic 150-run triumph at Old Trafford on Tuesday.

It came after Morgan had been a doubt for the match after suffering a back spasm in the previous game against West Indies and his raft of maximums was the key contribution in what was also a new world record of 25 team sixes in an innings.

"I didn't think at any stage it was going to be my day," Morgan said. 

"Getting quite old, running around with a bad back, you never think you can produce an innings like this. I never thought in my wildest dreams I'd produce an innings like that.

"It was a special day. It was a tough game, Afghanistan are a side with a lot of potential and it's the World Cup. We're loving playing in it. On the big stage, it is nice to do.

"I think I have changed. Everybody probably plays the shots I probably started my career with now, so they're not as effective. I've come full circle and I'm probably stronger down the ground now than I've ever been.

"I haven't yet [put my back out]! Tomorrow's going to be a rough day, I think!"

The victory saw England, who have won four of their opening five matches, climb above Australia to top the table.

Jonny Bairstow (90) and the in-form Joe Root (88) also produced high-quality displays with the bat and Morgan could not be happier with the start his side have made to the tournament.

"Are we where we want to be? Yes," he added. "The next two or three games are pretty crucial for us. 

"We want to bring our level of intensity to every game we play. We don't want to slack off. Focusing on that and making that a priority is important to us.

"The intensity can still be there, but you will still make mistakes. 

"We managed to spill a couple of catches, which can happen. We'll try hard to improve the next few games. But as long as that's there, I think you can't fault the guys."

Afghanistan, meanwhile, are still searching for their first victory of the tournament, but captain Gulbadin Naib was philosophical in defeat after Morgan's masterclass.

"How they played was something special," he said. "Credit goes to Morgan, how he batted, I think it was one of the best innings I've seen from him."

Records tumbled at Old Trafford on Tuesday as a sensational 148 from Eoin Morgan helped England thrash Afghanistan by 150 runs in the Cricket World Cup and move top of the standings.

England's captain, fit to play having been troubled by a back spasm against West Indies last time out, thumped 17 sixes - the most by any batsman in an ODI - during an enthralling 71-ball innings as the tournament hosts racked up 397-6 after electing to bat.

Morgan's glut of maximums enabled England to set a world record of 25 in an innings, while the match featured 33 sixes – a new World Cup high.

Afghanistan, who remain winless, predictably came up well short in reply but they showed admirable resolve to reach 247-8, Hashmatullah Shahidi top-scoring with 76 after recovering from a nasty blow to the helmet.  

Jonny Bairstow (90 from 99 deliveries) and the prolific Joe Root (88 from 82) made valuable contributions for England, while Moeen Ali blasted 31 not out from nine balls at the death.

Yet it was Morgan who took centre stage in stunning fashion, his sixes all coming in the arc between long-off and backward square-leg courtesy of a series of punishing pulls, drives and slog-sweeps.

Morgan was given a life on 28 when Dawlat Zadran misjudged a chance at deep midwicket off Rashid Khan. The mistake proved painfully costly for Afghanistan and Rashid, who finished with 0-110 from nine overs, the most expensive analysis in World Cup history.

 

MORGAN MAGNIFICENT, BUT ROOT SO IMPORTANT AGAIN

Rohit Sharma, AB de Villiers and Chris Gayle have all managed 16 sixes in an ODI innings, but Morgan went one better in Manchester as he compiled the fourth-fastest hundred in World Cup history.

While the skipper's contribution was outstanding, the efforts of Root - who now has 367 runs in the tournament from five innings - should not be overlooked. England's number three once again fulfilled his role to perfection, ticking along at roughly a run a ball while eschewing risk. By contributing 43 off 33 deliveries during a third-wicket stand of 189 with Morgan, Root did exactly what was required, unselfishly giving as much of the strike as possible to his partner.

 

ROY'S REPLACEMENT FAILS TO CONVINCE

Jason Roy's absence was hardly a factor as England romped to victory without their in-form opener, who has been sidelined by a hamstring tear.

However, James Vince failed to make the most of his opportunity at the top of the order, departing for 26 after a start that had promised much. 

Roy has already been ruled out of Friday's clash with Sri Lanka, at the very least, and Vince will be eager not to waste another chance with uncertainty surrounding his fellow batsman's availability for the remainder of the tournament.

Eoin Morgan made history at Old Trafford on Tuesday, striking 17 sixes against Afghanistan to set a new record for the most in an individual ODI innings.

England's captain thumped 148 from 71 balls as the Cricket World Cup hosts racked up 397-6.

We take a look at some of the most notable statistics to have arisen from Morgan's wonderful innings.

 

MOST SIXES IN AN ODI (INDIVIDUAL)

17 - Eoin Morgan - England v Afghanistan, Old Trafford, June 18, 2019.

16 - Rohit Sharma - India v Australia, Bangalore, Nov 2, 2013; AB de Villiers - South Africa v West Indies, Johannesburg, Jan 18, 2015; Chris Gayle - West Indies v Zimbabwe, Canberra, Feb 24, 2015.

 

MOST SIXES IN AN ODI (TEAM)

25 - England v Afghanistan, Old Trafford, June 18, 2019.

24 - England v West Indies, St George's, Feb 27, 2019.

23 - West Indies v England, Bridgetown, Feb 20, 2019.

 

MOST RUNS CONCEDED IN AN ODI

113 - Mick Lewis, South Africa v Australia, Johannesburg, Mar 12, 2006.

110 - Rashid Khan, England v Afghanistan, Old Trafford, June 18, 2019 (from nine overs); Wahab Riaz, England v Pakistan, Trent Bridge, Aug 30, 2016.

106 - Bhuvneshwar Kumar, South Africa v India, Mumbai, Oct 25, 2015; Nuwan Pradeep, India v Sri Lanka, Mohali, Dec 13, 2017.

 

FASTEST WORLD CUP HUNDREDS

50 balls - Kevin O'Brien - Ireland v England, Bangalore, Mar 2, 2011.

51 balls - Glenn Maxwell - Australia v Sri Lanka, Sydney, Mar 8, 2015.

52 balls - AB de Villiers - South Africa v West Indies, Sydney, Feb 27, 2015.

57 balls - Eoin Morgan - England v Afghanistan, Old Trafford, June 18, 2019.

 

MOST CAREER ODI SIXES

351 - Shahid Afridi

318 - Chris Gayle

270 - Sanath Jayasuriya

225 - MS Dhoni

224 - Rohit Sharma

211 - Eoin Morgan

204 - AB de Villiers

200 - Brendon McCullum

 

OTHER NOTABLE STATS

- England's score of 397-6 was their highest at a World Cup and the sixth biggest in history. Australia hold the finals record after compiling 417-6 against Afghanistan in 2015.

- England hit 18 sixes in the 2015 World Cup, only one more than Morgan managed on Tuesday.

- Morgan has now managed 22 maximums in the tournament. Australia skipper Aaron Finch (14) is the only other man to have reached double figures.

Eoin Morgan set a new world record for the most sixes in an ODI, smashing an incredible 17 maximums on his way to 148 from 71 deliveries as England piled on the runs against Afghanistan in the Cricket World Cup.

England's captain sustained a back spasm in last week's win over West Indies, but he eased any doubts over his fitness with a sensational display of power-hitting at Old Trafford on Tuesday.

His tally of 17 sixes surpassed the previous ODI record of 16 jointly held by Shane Watson, AB de Villiers and Chris Gayle, while helping England to a new team record of 25. They had previously set the benchmark with 24 against West Indies in February.

Morgan eventually holed out to long-off in the 47th over, his extraordinary performance yielding the fourth-fastest century in World Cup history and helping the tournament hosts to an imposing total of 397-6.

Jonny Bairstow (90 from 99) and the ever-prolific Joe Root (88 off 82) also made valuable contributions with the bat for England, while Moeen Ali blasted 31 not out from just nine deliveries on his 32nd birthday.

Morgan's display was a significant factor in another record being broken in Manchester. Afghanistan leg-spinner Rashid Khan conceded an eye-watering 110 from nine wicket-less overs - the most expensive figures in a World Cup.

Only Mick Lewis, who returned 0-113 from 10 overs for Australia against South Africa in the famous Johannesburg ODI of 2006, has given up more runs in an ODI.

Eoin Morgan has not closed the door on a potential Cricket World Cup call-up for opener Alex Hales as England battle injuries to their key batsmen.

Hales was included in his country's preliminary squad but failed to make the final cut having been axed in April due to a suspension imposed for what his spokesperson described as an "off-field incident".

England look primed to make the semi-finals without Hales, having won three of their four group games so far, but injuries to Jason Roy and Morgan have given the host nation fitness concerns.

Roy will miss Tuesday's clash with Afghanistan and Friday's encounter against Sri Lanka and, though Morgan (back) could feature in the first of those games, the skipper admitted there have been conversations about potential call-ups.

And the possibility of Hales being included has not been ruled out.

"If [national selector] Ed Smith came to myself and [head coach] Trevor [Bayliss] and said he felt that Alex was the best option, we would have to assess how that would sit in the changing room and the stigma it would bring with Alex coming back in," Morgan told the BBC's Test Match Special.

Ashley Giles, the managing director of England men's team, had said "the door isn't closed" for Hales, and the 30-year-old recently revealed he hoped to be involved in next year's Twenty20 World Cup in Australia.

Yet, speaking last month, Morgan claimed Hales had "clearly demonstrated a lack of respect" for the team's "values".

The England captain did reveal on Monday that the injury worries had led to discussions about potential call-ups should the problems prove serious.

"When we selected the squad, we did have conversations, sort of underlying replacements for particular players," said Morgan. 

"So they are always ongoing in the background and I'm not involved in a lot of them. I'm sort of quite focused on the group and task at hand. But there are always conversations going on in the background.

"I think the other day, certainly, it was a matter of getting the two scans back and seeing what process we could go through to get us both back playing as quickly as possible, and once we could get [an] indication when that might be, we would cross that bridge."

England will be without opener Jason Roy for Tuesday's Cricket World Cup duel with Afghanistan, but the hosts will remain confident they can boost their semi-final hopes at Old Trafford.

Eoin Morgan's side have made a purposeful start to the tournament on home soil and demonstrated why they top the ICC ODI rankings in Friday's eight-wicket thrashing of West Indies.

It is in stark contrast to the fortunes of their next opponents, who are languishing at the foot of the table without a point from their opening four matches.

After previous concerns over the likes of Jos Buttler and Mark Wood, managing injuries has been England's biggest obstacle.

While Morgan expects to shake off the back problem which forced him off against West Indies, Roy has been ruled out for the next two matches with a hamstring tear and his place will be taken by James Vince.

England coped with those setbacks to deliver a dominant victory against a dangerous opponent, showing the flexibility at their disposal. They will be confident of achieving a similar outcome in Manchester.

 

TOURNAMENT SO FAR

It has been an impressive start from England, winning three of their opening four matches with South Africa, Bangladesh and West Indies all dispatched. Anything but a place in the semi-finals would be a disappointment.

Afghanistan sit bottom and their task has been made more onerous following the loss during the tournament of wicketkeeper-batsman Mohammad Shahzad. They did give Sri Lanka a scare in Cardiff, however, until eventually being beaten by 34 runs on the DLS method.

WHAT THEY SAID

England skipper Morgan: "I would like to think in a couple of games so far we've been red hot favourites and underlining our preparation is the humility and the gratitude with which we go about things, and that's an important part of trying to beat teams like Afghanistan. They are a strong side. I said previous to the tournament, they will beat teams in this World Cup. They haven't managed to do that yet. So that makes it a tougher challenge."

Afghanistan captain Gulbadin Naib: "We are trying to do our best in the matches, but if I look at my team, I didn't like how we played last time [in the nine-wicket defeat to South Africa]. England is a strong side, it's a home side, so everything is on England's side. Afghanistan don't play home cricket a lot. We are used to it but it's a tough game."

OPTA FACTS

- England and Afghanistan have met just once before in an ODI; that clash coming at the 2015 Cricket World Cup with England winning by nine wickets. 

- England have won eight of their last 10 ODIs at Old Trafford (L2), with their only defeats in that time coming against Australia.

- Moeen Ali has taken more ODI wickets at Old Trafford than any other spinner, with his eight scalps at the venue coming at an average of 13.5. 

James Vince will replace Jason Roy at the top of the order for England's Cricket World Cup match against Afghanistan on Tuesday, captain Eoin Morgan has confirmed.

The England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) announced on Monday Roy had suffered a hamstring tear and will miss the forthcoming game at Old Trafford and Friday's encounter versus Sri Lanka at Headingley.

Asked at a pre-match news conference whether Hampshire batsman Vince would step in as an opener, Morgan replied: "Yes, he is replacing Jason."

Morgan confirmed he will be able to play in Manchester after a back spasm prevented him from batting in last Friday's eight-wicket win over West Indies and he remains similarly confident over Roy's prospects in the tournament.

Next Tuesday's showdown with Australia at Lord's represents the next time at which the Surrey man might be available.

"I certainly believe Jason will play again in this tournament," he said.

"He's going to be assessed continuously over the next few weeks.

"Absolutely [I think he will play again] - if not Australia then the following game."

Having won three of their four matches, hosts England lie fourth in the round-robin standings, with the top four from the 10-team group progressing to the semi-finals.

Jason Roy will miss England's next two Cricket World Cup matches after an MRI scan confirmed the opening batsman has sustained a hamstring tear.

Roy pulled up while fielding during England's eight-wicket win over West Indies last week and must now sit out Tuesday's fixture against Afghanistan at Old Trafford and Friday's Headingley clash with Sri Lanka.

In a statement, the England and Wales cricket board said Roy "will be reassessed on an ongoing basis this week".

There is better news regarding captain Eoin Morgan, who similarly did not bat against the Windies after suffering a back spasm.

Morgan's condition has "settled down" and he will be monitored before a decision is made on his involvement in the Afghanistan match.

James Vince is poised to replace Roy in the England XI, with all-rounder Moeen Ali an alternative option at the top of the order.

The Surrey batsman bludgeoned a stunning 153 as England thrashed Bangladesh by 106 runs in Cardiff in their third outing of the competition, having opened his campaign with a half-century versus South Africa.

A best-case scenario for the hosts would see Roy return for next week's showdown with Australia at Lord's and he is likely to enjoy every chance to make a full recovery as any player replaced can only return to a World Cup squad in the event of one of their team-mates also pulling up injured.

With Alex Hales out of contention, Joe Denly would appear the most likely replacement for Roy if England are forced to go down that route.

Having won three of their four matches, England sit fourth in the points table.

South Africa may have to win all of their remaining group-stage matches to earn a place in the Cricket World Cup semi-finals and Faf du Plessis' side face two tricky challenges this week.

The Proteas lost their first three games at this tournament, belatedly getting a point on the board with a washout against West Indies before picking up their first win thanks to a comfortable triumph over Afghanistan last week.

But things certainly do not get any easier for South Africa over the coming seven days, as they take on an unbeaten New Zealand and a mercurial Pakistan, who desperately need a win themselves following Sunday's resounding defeat to fierce rivals India.

Virat Kohli's side look the strongest all-round outfit in the competition and they should pick up another victory against Afghanistan, who also face hosts England in a tough week for the only team yet to claim a point.

 

FIXTURES

Monday 17 June:  West Indies v Bangladesh (Taunton) - 1030 BST start

Tuesday 18 June:  England v Afghanistan (Old Trafford) - 1030

Wednesday 19 June:  New Zealand v South Africa (Edgbaston) - 1030

Thursday 20 June:  Australia v Bangladesh (Trent Bridge) - 1030

Friday 21 June:  England v Sri Lanka (Headingley) - 1030

Saturday 22 June:  India v Afghanistan (the Rose Bowl) - 1030, West Indies v New Zealand (Old Trafford) - 1330

Sunday 23 June:  Pakistan v South Africa (Lord's) - 1030

 

THE WEEK'S BIG GAME

With over half their matches played and only three points to their name, South Africa can ill-afford any slip-ups. Their first assignment of the week comes against the Black Caps on Wednesday, in a repeat of the thrilling semi-final from four years ago that saw New Zealand squeeze through. If the Proteas can dish out a first defeat of the tournament to Kane Williamson's side, they will go into Sunday's clash against an erratic Pakistan with renewed hope of securing a top-four finish.

STANDINGS

1. Australia - 8pts from 5 games, Net Run Rate +0.812
2. New Zealand - 7pts from 4 games, NRR +2.163
3. India - 7pts from 4 games, NRR +1.029
4. England - 6pts from 4 games, NRR +1.557
5. Sri Lanka - 4pts from 5 games, NRR -1.778
6. West Indies - 3pts from 4 games, NRR +0.666
7. South Africa - 3pts from 5 games, NRR -0.208
8. Bangladesh - 3pts from 4 games, NRR -0.714
9. Pakistan - 3pts from 5 games, NRR -1.933
10. Afghanistan - 0pts from 4 games, NRR -1.638

 

LEADING RUN-SCORERS

1: Aaron Finch (Aus) - 343
2: Rohit Sharma (Ind) - 319
3: David Warner (Aus) - 281

 

LEADING WICKET-TAKERS

=1: Mohammad Amir (Pak), Mitchell Starc (Aus) - 13
2: Pat Cummins (Aus) - 11

Australia captain Aaron Finch smashed 153 against Sri Lanka at The Oval to record the joint-highest score of the 2019 Cricket World Cup.

Finch, who has also made the most runs in this tournament having accrued 343 in five innings, blasted five sixes and another 15 fours in a 132-ball knock as Australia piled on the runs.

The opener was eventually dismissed when he skied a slower ball from Isuru Udana straight into the air to give Dimuth Karunaratne a simple catch at cover.

That total meant the Australian emulated England opener Jason Roy's World Cup knock against Bangladesh one week ago, while Finch also equalled his own best ODI score having made an unbeaten 153 against Pakistan in the United Arab Emirates in March.

Finch had put on 80 with David Warner (26) in their opening stand before he combined in a third-wicket partnership worth 173 alongside Steve Smith (73), with Australia moving beyond 300 in the 45th over.

West Indies all-rounder Carlos Brathwaite has been found guilty of breaching the International Cricket Council's code of conduct after showing dissent in Friday's defeat to England.

The all-rounder was given out caught behind off the bowling of Jofra Archer in the 44th over of West Indies' innings during the Cricket World Cup fixture in Southampton.

Brathwaite was clearly disappointed to be dismissed for 14 as his side were bowled out for 212, a total England easily overhauled with eight wickets and 101 deliveries to spare.

As well as an official reprimand, the 30-year-old received one demerit point for a level one breach. He accepted the sanction handed down by match referee David Boon, meaning a formal hearing was not required.

Players face suspension if they receive four or more demerit points within a two-year period.

West Indies are next in action in the tournament on Monday, as they take on Bangladesh at Taunton.

It was supposed to be the tournament for the entertainers to deliver a summer of sizzling sixes. Instead, it continues to be the quiet man from Sheffield who plots the way for England's potential success at the Cricket World Cup.

Joe Root added another century – this one unbeaten – to take his tally to 279 runs and make himself the leading scorer in the competition on his own terms. 

Finessed strokes, dancing feet, precision play. In a team filled with bravado with the bat, it is a hark back to yesteryear that saw him become the first English player to hit three hundreds in World Cups.

"He is the glue that holds everything together," said captain Eoin Morgan after the eight-wicket triumph over West Indies at the Rose Bowl on Friday, an impressive chase of 213 completed with almost 17 overs remaining.

"He never seems to go at less than a run a ball. You look up, he is going at more than a run a ball and it is exceptional to watch, so to see him come out and be in this form is brilliant."

This is not just an individual endeavour, though; a third hundred partnership so far in the tournament delivered alongside emergency number three Chris Woakes, after an earlier 95-stand with Jonny Bairstow – having been forced to open the batting following Jason Roy's unfortunate injury.

West Indies bore the brunt on this occasion, as they've done on multiple occasions before. Root has four centuries against them in ODIs - no other England batsman has more than two.

"He's a quality player," reflected West Indies captain Jason Holder. "He got off to a really good start, kept up with the momentum and played really well. Credit must be given to him."

And Root continues to shine, when needed to, with the ball as well. 

A pitch that surprised Morgan with the amount of spin on show saw him turn to Root's part-time off-breaks and the skipper was rewarded with two wickets, including the break-up of a major partnership.

"Typically he's got a golden arm and does take wickets, which is great," Morgan reflected with a smile that hid the pain of a back spasm that also forced him from the field.

"I kept speaking to Jos [Buttler] because I can't get an indication unless the ball beats the bat as to how much it's turning, but Jos kept saying, 'It is turning more than we think here, it might be worth a go.'

"So we spoke about it for a couple of overs and went with it for one, possibly two [overs], but he started brilliantly."

After a week of rain interruptions, the Cricket World Cup needed one of its shining lights to break through the gloom. And as the sun began to beat down on Hampshire, Root continued to leave his nation dreaming of maiden glory.

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