Record-breaking opener Jason Roy credited his omission from the side during last year’s Champions Trophy for his resurgence in form which peaked on Sunday as he struck the highest ever one-day international score by an England player.
Roy surpassed Alex Hales’s previous best score of 171 with a knock of 180 as England cruised to their victory target of 305 with seven balls to spare in the first clash of the five-match one-day series.
England also became the first side to successfully chase down more than 300 at the Melbourne Cricket Ground after an Aaron Finch century underpinned Australia’s total of 304-8 from their 50 overs.
Roy was dropped for England’s Champions Trophy semi-final against Pakistan after scoring just 51 runs in eight innings but was back to his explosive best and smashed 16 fours and five sixes in his 151-ball knock.
“To be out there at the MCG, win the game and make a score like that is incredibly special,” said Roy.
“It has been a while in coming. I had a tough year in 2017 and being dropped from the side gave me a bit of a kick. I recognised where I am at and where my preparation is and how to start getting ready for internationals.”
Roy’s blistering innings, during which he was supported by Test captain Joe Root who finished unbeaten on 91, halted Australia’s domination of England and went a small way to easing the pain of their Ashes humbling.
“It is extremely special, especially after our Test series,” added Roy. “It was hard and tough and I knew the guys would be quite down. It was our job to come in, lighten up the mood and bring more positivity.
“Giving them some of their own medicine was quite nice. The boys have copped a bit over the last month or so.”
Another notable contributor for England was seamer Mark Wood, who put aside a string of injury problems to bowl a vicious spell which featured the levels of pace the Test side were sorely lacking during the Ashes.
The 28-year-old dismissed opener David Warner with his fifth delivery on his way to figures of 1-49 from 10 overs, an economy rate bettered only by Moeen Ali who went for just 39 off his allocation.
Finch was the main contributor with his score of 107, while there were half-centuries for Marcus Stoinis and Mitchell Marsh, as Yorkshire quick Liam Plunkett finished with three wickets.
England started their innings in lightning fashion before the loss of Jonny Bairstow and Hales in quick succession preceded a match-defining 221-run stand between Roy and Root.
The second one-day clash takes place in Brisbane on Friday.