Root: We will aim to repeat perfect game

Ross McLean
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PROLIFIC batsman Joe Root has urged England to replicate their monumental display from the first one-day international (ODI) against New Zealand when the two sides do battle at the Kia Oval today.

Records tumbled as England racked up their highest ever ODI total of 408-9 before routing the tourists for 198, inflicting their heftiest victory margin –210 runs – on a rival side.

Root scored his fifth ODI century at Edgbaston on Tuesday, which was later eclipsed by the power-hitting of Jos Buttler, as England relentlessly pummelled a beleaguered Black Caps bowling unit.

England’s style and adventure proved a refreshing contrast from their performances at the World Cup, and Root insists they have no intention of abandoning their new-found swagger.

“The way we played there [Edgbaston] was pretty much the perfect performance,” said the 24-year-old. “I suppose our challenge now is to try and do that more consistently.

“We’ve shown we can do it, and that’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’re committed to being very aggressive and we’ll take that into every match.”

While caretaker England boss Paul Farbrace is set to name an unchanged team, New Zealand counterpart Mike Hesson is expected to shuffle his pack in a bid to level the five-match series.

Seamer Tim Southee, who has taken 131 ODI wickets for his country, is a prime candidate for a recall after being rested for the opening clash following the two-Test showdown between the two sides.

The 26-year-old could replace fellow fast bowler Mitchell McClenaghan, who is playing domestic T20 Blast cricket for Middlesex this summer, after the left-armer conceded 93 runs from 10 overs at Birmingham.

While the manner of Tuesday’s performance has done much to buoy a previously fractured view of England’s one-day capabilities, Root fully expects a wounded New Zealand to retaliate.

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

New Zealand will be keen to avoid a third successive ODI defeat following Tuesday’s obliteration and their World Cup final woe against Australia in March, something they have not experienced since 2013. The tourists can take heart from memories of their last visit to the Kia Oval for an ODI in 2008 – a tetchy and controversial clash which they eventually won by a single wicket.

Temperatures rose when then England captain Paul Collingwood refused to withdraw his appeal after New Zealand batsman Grant Elliott was run out following a collision with bowler Ryan Sidebotham.