Joe Root has no intention of walking away from ODI cricket at the end of the Cricket World Cup, insisting he would happily sign up for another four-year cycle.

England’s squad is loaded with 11 thirty-somethings and it would be no surprise to see several call time once the title defence is over next month – win or lose.

Moeen Ali, Chris Woakes and Ben Stokes are among those who could call it a day, the latter for a second time.

Root has none of the major fitness issues that have plagued Stokes and, at 32, time is on his side. Having found himself surplus to requirements in T20 cricket for the last four years, he sees no reason to pigeonhole himself as a Test specialist.

Questions persist over what role the 50-over game will play in an increasingly congested global schedule in the near future but with the 2027 edition already awarded to South Africa, Namibia and Zimbabwe, the showpiece event does not appear to going anywhere soon.

And Root, for one, plans to be there.

“Yeah, I’d like to go on a safari!” he said.

“I’d love to still be playing in four years’ time. The cricket landscape’s forever changing isn’t it, but I can’t see myself not being there unless I’m not good enough and guys have gone past me.

“Retire? No. I’ll get pushed before that.”

Root has already assured himself his latest page in England’s history books since arriving in India, overtaking Graham Gooch as the country’s record run-scorer at World Cups. Having passed his mark of 897 in the win over Bangladesh, Root should become the first Englishman to reach four figures before the end of the tournament.

But for now, that is a peripheral concern to the team’s wider ambitions.

“It’s got to mean something over a long period of time to hold any weight,” he said.

“It would be nice if we win a World Cup at the end of it, because we’d have two World Cups and I’d be the leading run-scorer. But, from a personal point of view, they’re all niceties. It’s got to stand for something and the only way it does is if we go on this thing, which we know we can.”

Reece Topley insisted he was just getting started on his “unfinished business” in World Cup cricket after blowing Bangladesh away with four wickets in Dharamshala.

Topley claimed four for 43 as England coasted to victory against the Tigers, making a big impression after being recalled to the side following defeat to New Zealand.

It was a welcome day in the sun for a 29-year-old who has had to endure more than his fair share of dark times due to a litany of injury problems that could easily have ended his career.

Five different stress fractures in his back left him sidelined for long periods and denied him the chance to push for a place in the triumphant 2019 campaign, while his luck got even worse on the eve of last year’s T20 tournament in Australia.

 

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The 6ft 7in left-armer had been lined up to play a key role with the ball, only to trip on a boundary sponge during a fielding drill and rupture ligaments in his left ankle. When England went on to lift the trophy at a packed MCG, it was hard for him not to imagine his own hands on the silverware.

Now he has a real chance to control his own story. With his body holding up well and his game in good order, things are finally falling into place.

“When I came out here I certainly felt like there was some sort of unfinished business with World Cups,” he said.

“Last year it was certainly an opportunity missed, I was bowling really well in the lead-up and then sort of had the rug pulled out from under my feet.

“The last-minute injury was very disappointing, but I’ve been wrapped up in cotton wool this time and it’s nice to be here. Hopefully there are more contributions because I don’t feel like I’ve sort of scratched the surface with World Cups.

“Obviously being injured and not being able to do what you are good at, what you love, is awful. Watching others take your wickets or score your runs is another horrible thing.

“But you have to ask yourself what are the choices? Do you sit around and feel sorry for yourself or do you just have to crack on and get yourself back to full fitness?”

England’s circuitous route around India sees them playing in eight different cities across nine group games – with Ahmedabad and Dharamashala already in the rearview and Delhi up next for Sunday’s game against Afghanistan.

The constant cycle of internal flights and coach transfers means rotation has been discussed, especially among the fast bowling department, but Topley has already missed enough games for a lifetime and has no desire to sit out.

He described his omission in favour of spinner Moeen Ali against New Zealand as a “take your medicine” situation, but is willing to be a workhorse if required as the competition unfolds.

“There’s a lot of chat about the schedule. To be honest, it’s one game every five days, it seems,” he said.

“I mean, county cricketers do much worse. If we play for Surrey, we’d be more tired. It’s not really an excuse for us. Sevens games is 70 overs maximum.

“In our changing room, we’ve all played county cricket, which can be quite a torrid time. You have to play a lot more regularly than this seven weeks, so I think everyone in our team can handle it pretty well.”

Dawid Malan vowed to “keep silencing people” after his century helped England get back to winning ways at the World Cup with a convincing display against Bangladesh.

Now 36, Malan has had to scrap hard for every opportunity he has had in international cricket and only inked his name into the World Cup side a matter of days before jetting out to India.

As recently as last month he was viewed as a versatile reserve batter for the tournament rather than a starter, but Jason Roy’s untimely battle with back spasms and Malan’s own player-of-the-series showing against New Zealand finally saw him nail down a spot at opener.

A false start in the tournament curtain-raiser against New Zealand put the pressure on England as defending champions, but for someone who has felt his credentials being placed under the microscope regularly Malan was well placed to stand up and be counted in Dharamshala.

He put on 115 with Jonny Bairstow (52) and 151 with Joe Root (82) on his way to 140 from 107 deliveries, three more than the final winning margin as the Tigers failed to live with a target of 365.

It was his sixth hundred in just 23 ODI appearances – the same number Sir Andrew Strauss managed in 127 caps and the explosive Alex Hales in 70 – but he still feels motivated by the struggles he has faced to find a place with England.

“I’m just hungry, hungry to play, to play well, hungry to score runs and win games of cricket,” he said.

“I’ve wanted to be part of this team for so long and it’s been impossible to break into with players that have been so good. I’m desperate to do well in this format and prove a point that I deserve to be in there.

“I feel like every series I’m under pressure. For me to keep silencing people is all I can do. If I can score as many runs as I can and help contribute to wins hopefully eventually people’s opinions might change.

“To be able to score a hundred and say that I’ve been able to score a hundred in a World Cup game for England is fantastic.”

Malan is, in many ways, an unlikely magnet for critics given his outstanding 50-over record. He boasts an average of 63.15 and a strike rate of 98.44, with exactly 1,200 runs on the board, but he is all too aware of those who remain sceptical about his ability to accelerate.

“There’s been a lot of strange narratives around over the last couple of years,” he said.

“But the majority of my cricket for England has been T20 cricket and I’ve always said, I can play it like a T20 game if you want me to. Just ask me to do what you need me to do and I’ll do it.”

Ahead of the game England had expressed concerns over the state of the outfield at the HPCA Stadium, with the loose, sandy soil composition making for uncertain conditions underfoot.

But the scale of their victory meant they were not forced to take any undue risks in the field and were able to bank the points without any scares.

“It was pretty bad. We’re pretty happy to get through that game without any injuries – both teams, I think,” said all-rounder Sam Curran.

“We don’t have to come back here. But hopefully the outfield does get better: it’s not very nice, what’s happened to it. But I thought the wicket was really good.

“Luckily, there weren’t too many balls we had to sprint after, we’re just pretty happy that no-one’s injured coming into the next game.”

An outstanding century from Dawid Malan and Reece Topley’s eye-catching return put England’s World Cup defence back on track as they hammered Bangladesh by 137 runs in Dharamshala.

The 2019 champions were bruised by a thumping loss to New Zealand in the tournament opener but banked a handsome win of their own to cap their visit to the outer ranges of the Himalayas.

Malan was the architect, rolling out a career-best 140 in 107 balls as he carried England to 364 for nine with a fourth century in his last nine innings.

At one stage they would have backed themselves to post 400, but a flurry of wickets at the back end kept them to a less flashy figure.

It was still their biggest World Cup total on foreign soil and easily enough to get the job done against outmatched opponents who were railroaded by Topley on his recall to the starting XI.

England bolstered their pace attack by swapping out spin-bowling all-rounder Moeen Ali for the 6ft 7in left-armer and it proved an inspired decision as Topley blew away the Bangladesh top order and finished with four for 43.

He took two in two balls in his opening over, clean bowled captain Shakib Al Hasan with a wonderful ball and circled back for the battling Mushfiqur Rahim.

He was the pick of the pack throughout and will take some budging from the teamsheet now.

Bangladesh lost their way entirely with the bat, ambling aimlessly to 227 all out and helping repair much of the previous damage to England’s net run-rate.

Malan was only inked into the starting XI last month, embarking on a compelling run of late summer form just as the selectors were losing faith in the form and fitness of Jason Roy.

A lethargic start against the Black Caps in Ahmedabad did not show him at his best, but the 36-year-old removed any doubt about his readiness with a wonderfully-paced knock.

His first 50 runs came in a hurry, taking just 39 balls, and, after taking 52 more to convert his half-century, he showed off some extra gears by slamming 40 off his last 16 deliveries.

Malan’s ambitious streak was evident from the outset, with two glorious sixes off Mustafizur Rahman the highlight of England’s 61-run powerplay.

The first saw him stoop low enough to engineer a slog-sweep over deep square, a shot requiring equal parts bravery and timing, and the second saw him stand tall and pull hard.

When Bangladesh retreated to spin he took a different method, rarely allowing himself to go aerial, threading his shots into gaps and pulling out a reverse sweep against the steadying hand of Shakib.

He took the lion’s share of a 115-run partnership with Jonny Bairstow (52), who had earlier joined England’s 100-cap club after a presentation from former captain Eoin Morgan and was looking solid until Shakib snuck one into his leg stump.

Malan also outscored Joe Root in the decisive third-wicket stand of 151 that kept England ticking for almost 20 overs.

Root, who emerged alone in credit against the Black Caps thanks to a well-made 77, was calm and controlled again, cutting loose only briefly to reverse ramp Mustafizur for six.

In reaching 82 he moved past Graham Gooch as England’s leading run-scorer in World Cup cricket, easing past his mark of 897.

When Malan departed in the 38th over, after unloading a torrent against Mehedi Hasan, he had left the power-hitters in the middle order a perfect platform of 266 for two.

To score 98 more for the loss of seven wickets was an underachievement, down in no small part to Sofiul Islam, who removed Jos Buttler, Root and Liam Livingstone in the space of nine deliveries.

Despite that, they already had more than enough, with Topley’s new ball showing settling the issue.

Having watched from the sidelines as England took a single wicket last time out, he doubled that tally in his first over.

His fourth delivery swung enough to take Tanzid Hasan’s outside edge and carried to second slip and his second left Najmul Shanto as he sprayed to backward point.

Shakib survived despite misreading the hat-trick ball but was soon undone by something even better, beaten on the outside edge by one that held its line and clipped the top of off.

When Chris Woakes nicked off Mehidy Hasan Miraz it was hard to see a way back from 49 for four and they never really attempted to tackle the spiralling required rate.

Liton Das (76) and Mushfiqur (51) made England work before Woakes and Topley returned to add to their hauls, but the sense of any danger had long disappeared.

Livingstone countered his first-ball dismissal with the bat by producing a first-ball wicket of his own and Adil Rashid opened his account in his 16th over of the tournament.

Bangladesh’s passivity saw them survive almost until the end, but Mark Wood and Sam Curran hit the stumps late on to wrap things up.

Dawid Malan’s superb century did the hard work for England as they racked up 364 for nine against Bangladesh in Dharamshala, a game they hope can kickstart their World Cup defence after a sticky start.

Malan reeled off a perfectly paced 140 in 107 balls at the top of the order, a career-best knock from a man who only inked his name in the first-choice XI a matter of days before the squad was finalised, to give his side their highest ever World Cup total away from home.

The 36-year-old, frequently an afterthought in England’s white-ball revolution but now a leading man in his own right, shared stands of 115 and 151 with Jonny Bairstow (52) and Joe Root (82) as the reigning champions recovered some of their swagger following a nine-wicket thrashing by New Zealand in the tournament opener.

At one stage, with a power-packed middle order queuing up in the dugout, they looked ready to shoot for 400 but their over-exuberance allowed Bangladesh to find a way back in the closing stages.

England lost five for 27 at one stage, but still walked away with a new record total at the HPCA Stadium, with Malan overtaking Indian superstar Virat Kohli’s 127 as the biggest individual score at the ground.

He paced his run perfectly, scoring his first fifty off 39 balls in the powerplay, taking 53 more to convert his half-century and then smashing 40 off his last 16 as he cut loose. With 16 fours and five sixes, it was an eloquent response to critics who worry about his ability as an aggressor.

For Bairstow there was a fifty to mark his 100th ODI cap, handed over in person by his former captain Eoin Morgan in the team huddle, while Root made his second telling contribution in as many games.

He was alone in emerging in credit from the thrashing in Ahmedabad, making a measured 77, and here moved past Graham Gooch’s mark of 897 runs in World Cup cricket.

Liam Livingstone unleashed a six-hitting spree the last time he visited the Himalayan city of Dharamshala and believes it could be the perfect place for England to put their World Cup campaign back on track.

The reigning champions had a stuttering start to their title defence, thrashed by nine wickets after a timid performance in the curtain-raiser against New Zealand, and will be eyeing a much-improved performance against Bangladesh on Tuesday.

The game takes place at the picturesque HPCA Stadium, framed against the backdrop of the Dhauladhar mountain range and sitting 1,500 metres above sea level.

The altitude provides a boost for big-hitting batters, with the ball travelling further in the thinner air, and Livingstone had a chance to test the theory in the IPL earlier this year. He smashed 94 in just 48 balls for Punjab Kings, launching nine sixes along the way.

And, after labouring to an under-par 282 against the Black Caps in their opener, there could not be a better venue for England to rediscover their power-hitting mojo.

“It’s an incredible ground and an incredible place to bat if it’s anything like it was that day,” said Livingstone.

“Conditions here should suit us and the boys are really excited. We want to get over what happened the other day and almost go twice as hard. We want to put on a really good show and get things kickstarted in this tournament.

“Because of the altitude the ball just flies really well here. You can feel it, it makes you more confident to take on the boundaries.

“They aren’t that big anyway and the altitude just makes it better with the power we’ve got in our line-up. It certainly helps as a batter, standing there knowing you can take the fielders on.

“It’s the kind of place you can really set up the back end of the innings and score highly. Personally, I’ve got good memories here and hopefully I can repeat it.”

Despite the remote nature of Dharamshala, an area better known for its proximity to the Dalai Lama’s residence just 10km away in McLeod Ganj, Livingstone is not the only squad member to have played here.

Sam Curran and Jos Buttler have also passed through on IPL duty, while Buttler, Joe Root and Chris Woakes all played in England’s first ever international at the venue in 2013.

England beat India on that occasion, taking seven wickets with fast bowlers, and they are likely to be tempted by an extra seamer this time.

Left-armer Reece Topley was unlucky to miss out against New Zealand and heads the queue to come in, while Gus Atkinson and David Willey also stand by with Moeen Ali’s spot vulnerable.

“It’s a good pitch, with good pace and carry and it can nip around,” Livingstone said.

“It’s probably as English a pitch as there is out here and will probably suit us more than many grounds around the country. Hopefully that can play in our favour.”

The one change England would most like to make, bringing Ben Stokes back in to bolster their middle order, is unlikely to happen as he continues to struggle with a hip problem.

Without him the onus will fall on others to fashion a fitting response to their loss in Ahmedabad and Livingstone insists they are ready to oblige.

He was part of the team that lost to Ireland in the group stages of last year’s T20 World Cup and went on to lift the trophy and is unfazed a single setback.

“There’s no point looking back and regretting. We could have lost by one run or the way we did, either way, we move on,” he said.

“One game doesn’t define a tournament and if you’re going to lose a game like that you’d probably rather it was the first one.

“You can lose games and win a World Cup, we’ve shown that before. The one thing this group does well when we’ve lost a game of cricket is double down on our aggressive approach and we’ve got a chance to do that on Tuesday.”

Mark Wood has warned England not to rely on their injured “Messiah” Ben Stokes to ride to the rescue after a punishing start to their World Cup defence.

The 2019 champions were roundly thrashed by New Zealand in the tournament opener in Ahmedabad, going down by nine wickets as Devon Conway and Rachin Ravindra shared an unbroken stand of 273.

Stokes, the hero of the Lord’s final four years ago and newly back in the ODI fold after reversing his retirement, missed out with a left hip problem and cut a frustrated figure as he watched on from the dugout.

Details of the Test captain’s fitness are sparse but he has struggled with a longstanding left knee problem in recent years and has already been ruled out as a bowling option in the World Cup to ease the load on his body.

England would love to welcome him back for Tuesday’s clash against Bangladesh in the Himalayan city of Dharamasala, but there is no guarantee he will be cleared for action.

Whether or not he makes it, Wood wants the rest of the squad to take their own responsibility for turning things around.

“It’s not all just about ‘the Messiah’ Stokesy coming back and him doing everything. I don’t want to put too much pressure on him,” said his Durham team-mate.

“He’s not Superman. He’s been through tough situations. Other people have to stand up as well. He’s obviously one of our best players, if not our best player, but all the lads have to stand up as well.”

Wood offered an uncertain update on Stokes’ current status, but England have already made it clear they will not gamble so early in their six-week stay.

“I don’t know (how he is), but he’s got strapping round his leg, which is helping,” said Wood.

“He’ll have to get in the nets and see if the strapping does its job and allows him to move how he wants. It’s not just about batting, it’s in the field too.

“Obviously we want Stokesy back – he’s a huge player. We’ll just have to assess with the medical team. It’s not up to me.”

Former captain Eoin Morgan, the man who masterminded England’s white-ball revolution and lifted the World Cup at Lord’s four years ago, emphasised the influential role Stokes still has to play – on and off the field.

“Ben Stokes’ return will be key. The difference he makes is invaluable and there is no measure on the impact he has in a changing room,” Morgan said.

“He believes he can achieve anything from any sort of circumstances and has backed that up in match-winning performances. He breeds confidence and belief. After a defeat like that, he will no doubt be speaking in that changing room.

“His words hold a lot of weight because they are backed up by performance. He will have had a great view of the whole game and hopefully he’ll be back on the field as soon as possible.”

Wood, meanwhile, has plenty to consider after he was put to the sword by Conway and Ravindra. Playing his first ODI since March he sent down five wicketless overs for 55 and was thrashed for seven fours and two pulled sixes.

He missed the recent home series against New Zealand due to a sore heel but he insisted the only pain he felt after Thursday’s game was psychological.

“I’m a bit battered mentally, from watching the ball going over my head a lot of times, but physically I feel OK,” he said.

“It’s fine to let it hurt but then we’ll refocus on the next game. We’ll move on pretty quickly. We want to keep this trophy, to prove people wrong. There’ll be question marks now but, as a group, we believe in each other.”

England’s World Cup defence began with a punishing nine-wicket defeat in Ahmedabad as New Zealand helped themselves to a slice of revenge four years in the making.

Organisers scheduled a repeat of the 2019 final to kick off this year’s tournament, but rather than a nail-biter to match the tension of that Lord’s classic, they had to settle for a thoroughly one-sided affair.

England needed a super over and a boundary countback to get their hands on the trophy last time around, but two majestic hundreds from Devon Conway and Rachin Ravindra meant the Black Caps romped home in the rerun with almost 14 overs to spare.

Conway finished 152 not out while his Wellington team-mate Ravindra reeled off an unbeaten 123 – more than double his previous ODI best.

The absence of Ben Stokes with a hip injury robbed the reigning champions of some middle-order firepower but their score of 282 for nine was nowhere near enough to constrain an outstanding Kiwi chase.

Where England relied on a composed innings of 77 from Joe Root, who managed four boundaries and a six while a series of unforced errors unfolded around him, Conway and Ravindra cut loose under lights.

Empty seats in the 134,000-capacity Narendra Modi Stadium could be tallied in the tens of thousands but the fans who did show up witnessed a remarkable stand of 273.

The pair came together in the second over after Sam Curran strangled Will Young down leg for a golden duck and proceeded to pile on 30 fours and eight sixes in a major statement of intent.

England, meanwhile, were chaotic with the bat, lethargic with the ball and sloppy in the field.

Put in to bat first they relied on Root to spare the blushes of his mis-firing top-order team-mates.

Dawid Malan was first to go for a scratchy 14, caught behind flashing hard at the impressive Matt Henry.

Jonny Bairstow (33) enjoyed a smoother start – including a flicked six off Trent Boult from the second ball of the day – but he offered a tame catch off Mitchell Santner just as he looked to take control.

Harry Brook, deputising for Stokes, also burned brightly and briefly. He clattered two fours and a six off Ravindra as he dropped three successive deliveries short, then lifted the next one straight down Conway’s throat at deep midwicket.

When Moeen Ali lost his off stump hacking across the line at Glenn Phillips, England had slipped to 118 for four, but a stand of 70 between Root and Buttler (43) offered some stability.

Root had unleashed a trademark reverse ramp for six off Boult early in his stay, but for the most part he played conservatively rather than looking dominate. Measured against the rest of his side, it was a cut above. Measured against the opposition, it was not enough.

He departed in the 42nd over, nutmegging and yorking himself in one swift movement as he tried to reverse sweep Phillips.

Chris Woakes set the tone for a chastening reply, kicking off with a half-volley that Conway gratefully stroked through cover and shipping 10 from his opening over.

Young’s cheap exit raised English spirits, however briefly, when he grazed a leg-side loosener from Curran into Buttler’s gloves but that merely brought the match-winners together.

Ravindra, promoted to number three for the first time in his ODI career, made an early target of Woakes as the experienced seamer served up a sequence of gentle four balls.

When England sought to reclaim control through the blunt pace of Wood, it only made things worse.

Conway drove his first ball straight past him for four before Ravindra peeled off a pair of lovely strokes, a swivel pull that raced flat through the night sky for six and a perfectly-timed punch through point on top of the bounce.

Wood looked rattled as he continued to crank up his speeds only for the ball to disappear with regularity, Conway eagerly showing off his prowess against the quick stuff.

By the end of the 10-over powerplay the Kiwis had roared to 81 for one, a clear 30 past England’s score at the same stage.

Ravindra had Moeen in his sights now, clubbing him for six in each of his first two overs, and even the arrival of Adil Rashid’s leg-spin could not slow things down.

Stokes emerged from the dugout to deliver some words of encouragement at the first drinks break but, even at that stage, it seemed too late.

The required rate continued to come down as both men reached celebrated centuries, Conway first over the line but Ravindra one ball quicker in just 82.

The closing stages of the chase were a procession, with runs flowing at will and a weary England side barely able to contain them before the finishing touches came off the second ball of the 37th over.

Joe Root rose to the occasion as England kicked off their World Cup defence by posting 282 for nine against New Zealand in a tightly-fought tournament opener in Ahmedabad.

The competition got under way with a repeat of the 2019 final, featuring 11 survivors from that classic encounter, but only a small proportion of the 134,000 seats at the cavernous Narendra Modi Stadium were filled to witness the clash.

Root, England’s top run-scorer four years ago, banished a run of indifferent form to carve out 77 from 86 balls and the reigning champions would have been lost without his class and composure at number three.

With Ben Stokes’ hip injury leaving a conspicuous gap in the middle order, England’s top order was swept aside all too easily.

Dawid Malan never came to terms with conditions after England were sent in to bat, Jonny Bairstow and Stokes’ deputy Harry Brook both gave away promising starts and Moeen Ali’s promotion to five was a gambit that blew up quickly.

England did not really settle until Root was joined by captain Jos Buttler in a fifth-wicket stand of 70, but when the latter was prised out by the impressive Matt Henry the pressure was back on.

Root accumulated calmly as the mistakes piled up around him, scoring four boundaries and one jaw-dropping reverse ramp for six, but he could not steer the innings home and was bowled through his legs with more than eight overs left.

Bairstow got the 48-match tournament off and running in style when he flicked Trent Boult’s second ball for a nonchalant six over square leg, but there was enough assistance in the pitch to ensure bat did not dominate for long.

Malan, newly installed as England’s first choice opener after usurping Jason Roy, eked out 14 in 24 deliveries before edging Henry behind attempted to hit his way into touch.

Bairstow (33) enjoyed a smoother start but just as he looked to be asserting himself, he failed to commit to a checked drive and lifted a gentle catch down the ground.

Root produced his party piece when he switched his hands to Boult and flipped him over the wicketkeeper’s head and into the stands and when Brook went after Rachin Ravindra’s first over the momentum appeared to be shifting.

Three successive drag downs disappeared for four, four, six but Brook succumbed looking for more of the same, picking out Devon Conway as he patrolled the midwicket boundary.

Moeen was sent in next, ahead of schedule, but lost his off stump to an ugly hack at Glenn Phillips.

Root and Buttler stabilised things through the middle overs, picking their moments to attack, but New Zealand stuck to the task. Henry returned to pick up Buttler’s edge for 43, leaving Root with plenty still to do at 188 for five.

A first hundred since the last World Cup would have done the trick but Root got his angles wrong as he aimed a reverse sweep at Phillips, yorking and nutmegging himself in the same act.

All-rounders Liam Livingstone (20) and Sam Curran (14) came and went before a 30-run cameo from the last-wicket pair of Mark Wood and Adil Rashid added some gloss to the English effort.

The World Cup gets under way on Thursday with the status of one-day internationals dwindling as Twenty20 continues to take precedence.

England have played fewer ODIs heading into this tournament than for any World Cup in almost 30 years and here, the PA news agency looks at the changing nature of the international calendar.

Has the ODI bubble burst?

The first two World Cups, in 1975 and 1979, were played with ODIs barely yet an established format – the first fixture took place on January 5, 1971 but only 53 were played all decade outside of those tournaments.

Post-1979, England’s 42 ODIs in the four-year cycle leading up to this World Cup marks their third-lowest total and their fewest since the 1996 tournament, when they had played only 38 in between World Cups. They played 40 leading up to 1983.

The picture is similar for the other leading ODI nations, with India’s 66 ODIs also their third-lowest in a World Cup cycle in that time and exceeding the four-year periods up to 1996 (63) and 1983 (27).

Australia’s 44 is their lowest excluding the 1970s tournaments, with 64 leading up to the 1983 World Cup and at least 75 on every other occasion since.

The four-year cycle was briefly broken by a switch to even-numbered years in the 1990s. There were five years between the tournaments in 1987 and 1992 and only three up to 1999, when the regular pattern was re-established.

Twenty20 vision

The decline of the 50-over game has been brought about by the rise of the shortest format and this cycle is the first time T20 internationals have made up the largest share of England’s fixtures.

With 68 games, excluding those abandoned without a ball bowled, T20 accounts for 40.8 per cent of England’s games since the 50-over World Cup final against New Zealand on July 14, 2019.

They have played 58 Tests in that time (34.3 per cent) and only 42 ODIs (24.9 per cent), the lowest share of England’s fixtures for the latter format since the years leading up to the 1975 World Cup when they played 50 Tests to 17 ODIs.

T20 was only introduced for the first time in 2005 and made up just 2.8 per cent of England’s games between the 2003 and 2007 World Cups. That had jumped to 20.4 per cent in the next cycle and has doubled in the years since.

Feeling the squeeze

With all three formats battling for their place in the calendar, something has to give.

Ben Stokes, the hero of England’s 2019 World Cup win, shockingly announced his retirement from the format last year with a warning that “there is too much cricket rammed in for people to play all three formats now”.

He has returned for this World Cup – but as a specialist batter, with knee problems inhibiting his bowling – but his prolonged absence hinted at a wider trend.

Eight of the 2019 World Cup-winning squad also appear in the group this time around – captain Jos Buttler, Stokes, Joe Root, Jonny Bairstow, Moeen Ali, Adil Rashid, Chris Woakes and Mark Wood.

They had played an average of 74.1 per cent of England’s games between the 2015 and 2019 tournaments, with Rashid at 94.3 per cent, but none have even reached that average mark in the years since.

Moeen’s 73.8 per cent is the leading figure, with the average down to 48.8. Wood has played just 19 per cent, below even Stokes’ 31 per cent.

Joe Root’s hopes of a final World Cup warm-up were ruined by the rain as England’s first Metro Bank ODI against Ireland was abandoned without a ball bowled.

With the first-choice squad all rested ahead of next week’s departure for India, Root requested to be added to the team for the series opener at his home ground of Headingley.

He had endured four lean matches against New Zealand and was keen to find some rhythm before the tournament but persistent showers washed the match out at 4.50pm, more than four hours after the scheduled start.

The umpires were unhappy with saturated areas on the outfield, which were seen as a potential safety concern, while there were also worries about the bowlers’ run-ups.

England are casting an eye towards their white-ball future this week against Ireland, but first-time skipper Zak Crawley is thankful to have the vastly-experienced Joe Root by his side for the series opener at Headingley.

With England’s World Cup defence just around the corner – they depart for India next week and begin the tournament on October 5 – Root is the only member of the first-choice squad taking on the Irish.

He asked to be added to the squad for Wednesday’s first ODI at his home ground, targeting one more innings to find the form that eluded him in the recent matches against New Zealand.

And the outing should prove mutually beneficial, with Root bringing 162 caps and a decade of experience to a squad that is conspicuously callow. The remaining 12 players have just 38 one-day appearances between them at international level, with four uncapped newcomers and three more who have turned out exactly once.

Crawley himself is barely any further along, with his three ODIs coming two summers ago as a result of Covid withdrawals, and he is more than happy to have the old, familiar face of his first Test captain on hand.

“I love spending time with Rooty. To have him in the side as a batsman and former captain is going to be tremendously useful for me and the team,” he said.

“It’s great having him here. Especially so for me as captain, because I can lean on him for that kind of stuff. I played under him for a long time and stood next to him at slip when he was Test captain. It’s great to have him in the team and I will look to him. He’s a great cricket brain and experienced guy.

“No-one works harder than Joe, that’s why he’s the best. We all try to emulate him as much as we can. He’s a great person to learn from and a role model for us all. I hope he gets what he needs from it too.”

What Root really needs, after scoring 39 scratchy runs in four innings against the Black Caps, is a chance to feel bat on ball and relocate his timing before jetting off to India. Crawley, for one, expects nothing less.

“If anyone has forgotten how good he is, that’s their fault,” he said. “He’s just using it to find some rhythm – he’s a big rhythm player.”

Root is one of 11 in the World Cup squad who are over 30 and one of eight who won the trophy on home soil four years ago. It has been apparent for some time that a changing of the guard is likely to occur sooner rather than later, with Jason Roy’s last-minute removal in favour of Harry Brook a further reminder that the torch will soon be handed over.

For Crawley and those at his side, the next three games could well be the gateway to future opportunities.

“We’re trying to get this group to become the main team one day,” he said.

“We’re looking at the future and trying to emulate those guys above by doing the same things, playing the same positive way and trying to copy them as much as possible. I’ve just got to concentrate on getting runs this week. If I don’t get any runs then that makes it hard to do that.

“Hopefully I just perform well this week and what comes from there comes from there.”

Crawley admitted to feeling “shocked” when head coach Matthew Mott invited him to be captain, a rapid promotion for someone who was angling for nothing more ambitious than a place on the teamsheet.

But it reflects a growing feeling that he is one of the players who will lead English cricket forward in the years to come. When Root resigned from Test duty last year there was a lack of viable alternatives in the next generation, with successor Ben Stokes not only the best choice but the only one.

Ollie Pope has since been installed as his vice-captain in the red-ball format and Crawley has now joined his old childhood rival on the fast-track. He still remembers captaining his school Tonbridge against Pope’s Cranleigh side.

“It was a good game but they beat us. Popey got 100, obviously,” he recalled.

“So I’ve captained growing up and I’ve captained a few times for Kent, but that’s the extent of my experience. The good thing Baz McCullum has done, and Stokesy, is they’ve encouraged everyone to speak up.

“You feel very comfortable speaking up in the dressing room. More people have come out of the woodwork and led from the front, there’s leaders everywhere you look and that’s a good sign.

“I remember Shane Warne saying you should always think like a captain when you’re playing, I’ve done that since I was a kid.”

Joe Root picked up the baton with an unbeaten fifty after Zak Crawley hit 73 to help England’s lead move beyond the 250 mark by tea on day three of the final Ashes Test.

Crawley had walked off at lunch on 71 not out but could only add two more runs to his total before he nicked off to Pat Cummins, bringing a stellar series to an end with a final total of 480 runs.

England captain Ben Stokes followed him back to the pavilion when he picked out Cummins off Todd Murphy to join Ben Duckett in departing for 42.

When Harry Brook edged Josh Hazlewood behind for seven at the Kia Oval, the hosts were on the verge of throwing away a strong morning session where 130 runs were scored for the loss of one wicket.

Root ensured that would not be the case and reached tea on 61 not out after receiving support from Jonny Bairstow, unbeaten on 34, to guide England to 265 for four, a lead of 253 at the end of another run-fuelled afternoon session.

After Australia were all out for 295 from the last ball of day two, Crawley and Duckett walked out to glorious sunshine in south London with a 12-run deficit to wipe out.

England took six balls to move into a lead with Crawley beginning his final innings of the series in the same vein he started this Ashes at Edgbaston, crunching his first delivery through cover for four.

Mitchell Starc was on the receiving end this time and his opening two overs went for 22 runs, more than the 21 Australia had ground out during a pedestrian first hour on Friday.

It continued the culture clash between the two teams as Duckett clipped and cut away for four with ease to put on a fifty stand with Crawley inside nine overs.

Australia did finally make the breakthrough after nearly 90 minutes of play with Starc striking in the first over of his second spell when Duckett’s booming drive got the faintest of edges and, despite an initial not out call, Cummins’ review showed a spike on UltraEdge and the England opener departed for 42.

Stokes entered the fray at three, after Moeen Ali was absent from the field on day two due to his groin injury, but it quickly turned into the Crawley show.

Three runs off a Cummins misfield at mid-off saw Crawley reach his half-century off 61 balls before he swept Murphy for consecutive fours to bring up the fifty partnership before lunch.

Crawley took guard at the start of the afternoon session on 71 but there would be no Ashes hundred on this occasion after he nicked off two runs later, but with his place at the top of the run-scoring charts established.

Root encountered trouble during the early stages of his innings, wearing one on his body before he survived a tight lbw appeal against Hazlewood, with an Australia review showing it was umpire’s call on impact.

It would prove decisive with Root’s trademark ramp shot brought out to hit Mitch Marsh for six and a pull for four off Starc brought up another fifty partnership for England.

At the other end, Stokes had mixed aggression with patience alongside a degree of luck with Starc only able to stumble over the boundary rope after taking a catch at fine leg straight after lunch.

Stokes’ next attempted big shot did prove his downfall though with Cummins picked out at mid-on to give Murphy his first wicket of the day.

Brook followed for seven, although only after smashing Murphy back over his head for six.

Root had already reached fifty by this point but dropped anchor after the arrival of Yorkshire team-mate Bairstow at the crease.

England wicketkeeper Bairstow was happy to adopt the role of counter-punching, smacking five fours to march off for tea on 34 not out with the hosts’ advantage now beyond the 250-mark.

Australia slammed on the brakes on the second morning of the final Ashes Test, shutting England’s bowlers out before a stunning catch from Joe Root lifted spirits at the Kia Oval.

The home side were bowled out for a thrill-a-minute 283 on day one, scoring at a frantic pace but burning out in less than 55 overs, with the tourists grinding their way to 115 for two in reply.

Australia, 2-1 up and with the urn already retained, were more than happy to block their way through the first session and shored their position up with some low-risk cricket which takes them one step closer to a first series win on these shores since 2001.

Resuming on 61 for one, they scraped together just 54 runs in 26 overs. Usman Khawaja was still in place at lunch, moving to 47 not out off 152 deliveries, but Marnus Labuschagne was dismissed for nine after chewing through 82 balls.

England had been probing away without success until the pace of Mark Wood finally drew a mistake, Labuschagne edging behind for what should have been a regulation take for wicketkeeper Jonny Bairstow.

But he remained static, leaving Root to fling himself into action at first slip and snap up a brilliant one-handed take to his left.

Labuschagne appeared to be unhappy at the fading light levels as he skulked towards the pavilion, but Root’s reactions suggested the thick, grey clouds that lingered over the ground were not too bad.

The arrival of Steve Smith, who reached 13 not out at lunch, picked up Australia’s rate, as he drove James Anderson for consecutive fours to ease past Labuschagne’s score in a fraction of the time.

Anderson endured another demoralising session, wheeling away through a couple of tidy but joyless spells in handy conditions.

The seamer, who turns 41 on Sunday, has picked up just four wickets in four matches this summer and cannot seem to find the edge of the bat despite building up a steady rhythm.

Stuart Broad was the pick of the attack in a first hour that saw just 13 runs off the bat as well as eight byes.

He had Labuschagne playing and missing, went up for an lbw appeal and saw a flick round the corner land a yard in front of leg gully, but ultimately found himself frustrated by the policy of calculated defence.

Khawaja played his role with aplomb, relentlessly eating up time at the crease in bowler-friendly conditions and ending the morning’s play with a rare flourish as he pinged Wood off his pads to the square-leg boundary.

Zak Crawley produced an instant Ashes classic as England seized control of the must-win fourth Test with a barnstorming display on day two at Emirates Old Trafford.

Crawley crashed and smashed his way to 189 runs from 182 balls as the hosts bullied Australia with a heavy dose of ‘Bazball’ bravado.

After bowling the tourists out for 317 with two early wickets, England wiped out the deficit in just 55 overs and finished 67 ahead on 384 for four.

The speed of their assault was motivated partially by the threat of bad weather over the weekend and Crawley was the ideal man to lead the way. He unloaded 21 fours and three sixes, repaying the rock-solid faith Ben Stokes and Brendon McCullum have shown him.

The 25-year-old’s inconsistency has attracted criticism and he arrived at the crease with an underpowered Test average of 28.65. But he has a maverick quality that appeals to the current regime and could not have picked a better stage to spread his wings with a fourth ton.

At 2-1 down with two to play England have no option but to win this game, regardless of the coming rain, and Crawley has given them every chance.

Moeen Ali (54) and Joe Root (84) offered lively support, with Harry Brook and Stokes unbeaten overnight.

England were into their work swiftly, James Anderson removing Pat Cummins with the first ball of the morning and Chris Woakes completing a well-deserved five-for to end the innings.

Crawley started as he meant to go on, brushing the first ball of the innings off his hip for four, and refused to let Ben Duckett’s third-over dismissal knock him off course.

He weathered a couple of early scares, edging inches in front of slip on 12 and given out lbw on 20 before successfully calling for DRS, but held his nerve to reach the lunch break intact.

Moeen’s promotion to number three came with low expectations – not least from himself – but he proved a perfect ally, sharing the burden with a flurry of four boundaries in eight deliveries.

From a promising foundation of 61 for one, England proceeded to play two outrageous hours of adrenaline-fuelled cricket in the afternoon session. In the space of 25 overs they scored 178 runs, with a run-rate of 7.12 that would not have been unacceptable in a T20.

Crawley was a conundrum Australia simply could not crack. A couple of inside edges skated dangerously close to his stumps and more than one thick outside edge climbed over the cordon, but even his errors raced through to the ropes.

When he did find his timing, he looked imperious. He showed Cameron Green the full face of his bat as he stroked elegantly down the ground, walked across his stumps to open up fine-leg and drove through cover with style.

He even made sure to hammer home Australia’s folly in leaving out a specialist spinner. When part-timer Travis Head took a turn, Crawley reverse swept his first ball for four and then stooped to launch the follow-up into the stands.

Moeen fell for 54, well caught at midwicket by Usman Khawaja to give Mitchell Starc a second success, but a partnership of 121 represented a job well done.

Crawley and Root ensured the momentum did not go with him, the latter immediately negating Australia short-ball tactics with some expertly judged hooks.

A delicious cover drive took Crawley within one blow his hundred and he got there off just 93 balls with a lobbed cut shot that is unlikely to be found in any coaching manual. The crowd roared him on, but the reaction on the balcony, from team-mates who have repeatedly rallied to his defence in the lean times, was even more telling.

Root ensured the fun kept coming, dipping into his bag of tricks to reverse ramp Mitchell Marsh over for six. The tea interval did little to revive the away side’s flagging spirits, Cummins unable to rouse his side by word or deed.

He gave himself a four-over burst at the start of the evening and shipped 30 including back-to-back straight fours that took Crawley to 150. At one stage Cummins attempted to review an lbw appeal that had hit Root’s bat, making the signal with comic timing as the umpire signalled no-ball. When England picked up three overthrows for some sloppy backing up at the bowler’s end, it was no surprise to find the captain was the culprit.

England took the lead in fitting style, Crawley stepping inside the line and blazing Marsh high over wide long-on for six. The quickest double hundred in Ashes history was beckoning when Crawley came to an abrupt end, dragging a short ball from Green back into his stumps.

He walked off to a well-earned ovation, having restated the mercurial skills which have made him a mainstay of the Bazball era.

Root was well placed to follow him to a ton but found himself bowled by one that shot through low from Josh Hazlewood. Brook and Stokes put on a calm 33 before stumps but more fireworks are likely as England look to move things forward on day three.

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