It had been 678 days since England had Jofra Archer at their disposal and, it seemed, almost as long since they had seen Jason Roy at his finest.Here in Bloemfontein, twin waits were finally over, but a day that started with Archer's return to play and included Roy's resounding return to form in the form of an 11th international century finished in loss as South Africa won in an exciting finish to the First One-Day International.Rassie van der Dussen scored another century, and Roy responded with 113 off 91 balls. However, the Proteas were restricted to 298 for 7, suggesting that they did not fully capitalise on the flat Mangaung Oval pitch. At 146 The visitors appeared to be well in control of the chase with no losses and again at 196 for three South Africa, but Anrich Nortje's wonderfully hostile spell altered the tide. As seized a 1-0 lead in a series that is crucial for their ambitions of qualifying automatically for this year's World Cup, England flubbed their lines and fell 28 runs short of victory. Even before he became Nortje's fourth and last victim, Archer's homecoming was not what he had hoped for, with statistics of one-for-81, his most costly in ODI cricket. However, after spending so much time apart, both he and England must have the patience for the long game. Roy felt far more in immediate danger than anyone else.The 32-year-old was dropped from England's T20 team prior to last year's World Cup victory due to a protracted dry spell, but his ODI performances, notably a century in the Netherlands in July, presented significantly less cause for concern. The Surrey hitter, though, arrived in South Africa with real doubts about his spot at the top of the order for the first time since claiming it as his own since opportunities to serve reminders of his skill in this format were few and far between.However, Roy was off the mark three deliveries into his series, the ball slicing off the middle of the bat and past midwicket for four, giving you the impression that this may just be Roy's day.
What came next was a knock that was played with great pace and a sense for picking moments that can only come from having done this job for so long. It was equal parts composed and aggressive.At the conclusion of the powerplay, Aiden Markram attempted to smuggle in an over of occasional off-spin but was blasted for six. When the topic of a hundred-partnership with Dawid Malan came up, Nortje was also hooked high over the ropes. The subsequent free shot after Tabraiz Shamsi's infringement travelled in the same direction.When Malan (59), Ben Duckett, and Harry Brook all fell in quick succession after Roy had accelerated into the nineties, Roy's momentum was momentarily put on stop. Harry Brook's debut LBW catch for zero was one of three for the team. outstanding Sisandra Magala.After scoring his century off just 79 balls, Roy let out a frantic uppercut celebration that nearly dislocated his shoulder.It was an innings that could not have come at a better time with nine months till the World Cup with competitors lining up and playing well in the various franchise leagues across the globe. However, looking back, England still might have used more.In addition to his October trip to India, Archer also hopes to return for a Test match and play in an Ashes series in the near future, assuming all goes as planned.
It was not not to get carried away after seeing the 26-year-old return to competitive cricket with a wicket maiden in his first over for MI Cape Town earlier this month. Buttler and Matthew Mott had both sought to contain expectations, and Archer had proclaimed himself just 80 percent fit.But in the end, Archer's initial five-over period was just fine, maintaining continuous high-eighties tempo without nearly dipping below the 90 mph threshold that denotes pure express tempo.It was a significant advantage that Archer completed so many overs on his comeback, but by the end it had become somewhat of a grind: his first international wicket in over two years came in his penultimate over, after the previous one had featured two no-balls and cost twenty.Instead, Sam Curran, the T20 World Cup player of the tournament from late last year, picked up where he left off while playing for England. He took three for 35 in nine overs and made the first breakthrough by dismissing Temba Bavuma (36) with a spectacular diving catch after the Proteas skipper had won the toss and started the powerplay well with Quinton de Kock.The fact that Curran's firing seemed like the moment English ambitions vanished in the future is a reflection of his stature now. Nobody is quite sure why he sliced at the last ball of Kagiso Rabada's spell, feathering behind, but the game was over at eight down with 33 still needed.
South Africa Vs England: Jason Roy Century And Jofra Archer Return Not Enough To Stop Opening Defeat
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