Centurion Jason Roy shrugged off the disappointment of falling agonisingly short of a major international milestone after the explosive opener fired England to a series-clinching six-wicket win over Sri Lanka at the Kia Oval.
Roy smashed 162 as England completed their second-highest successful one-day run-chase as the hosts reached a revised target of 308 in the 41st over and with 11 balls to spare. Sri Lanka had earlier posted 305-5 in the rain-affected clash.
The 25-year-old Surrey right-hander fell just five runs short of Robin Smith’s record one-day international score for England of 167 not out against Australia in 1993, although the majesty of Roy’s innings dwarfed the disappointment of failing to make history.
“I was only aware [of the record] when I walked into the changing room and I saw it on the TV,” said Roy. “I didn’t care because winning was the most important thing.
“To contribute in a big way like that is extremely special. I’ll never forget that. A lot of hard work has been put in and we reap the rewards. These are very exciting times for English cricket.”
Victory gave England an unassailable 2-0 lead in a series which concludes with a clash in Cardiff on Saturday, while it also represented a third series win in five since their disastrous World Cup campaign last year.
While Roy’s heroics were the standout contribution last night, Joe Root also chipped in with a half-century in what would have been a highly improbable run-chase for an England side not so long ago.