June 30, 2019 / 6:25 PM / 3 months ago

Cricket-Close to complete performance, says Bairstow

BIRMINGHAM, England, June 30 (Reuters) - England opener Jonny Bairstow said Sunday’s 31-run victory over previously-unbeaten India was the closest the hosts have come to a complete performance in the Cricket World Cup.

Bairstow was named man of the match after scoring 111 in England’s 337, also fielding brilliantly as India managed 306-5 in reply.

“It came together today,” Bairstow said. “The closest to a complete performance we have had. To win the toss and bat first it was important to set the platform.

“We were reacting to each ball. Having been in the IPL it has helped me play spin and how to build an innings in all conditions. The ball did bits at first, I had some inside edges and you ride your luck when you can.”

England were boosted considerably by the return of Jason Roy, who hit an aggressive 66 in a brilliant 160-run opening stand.

“It was great to be back out there and putting together another big partnership,” said Roy, who missed the last three games with a hamstring injury. “It was horrible to be out of the team but I needed to stay positive and I knew if I worked hard I would be back out on the pitch.

“I was raring to go at Lord’s but it was the smart decision not to let me play against Australia. It worked out for the best. It was great for Jonny Bairstow to go on and get a big score, he looked very good. “I felt great, I have been putting in a lot of work. India are a very strong side, they deserved to be number one in the world, but now it’s time for us to win three games and win the trophy.”

England might still have to win their final group game against New Zealand game to make the semi-finals following defeats by Sri Lanka and Australia, when Bairstow was a frustrated figure, claiming that many people wanted to see England fail.

The smile was back on Sunday, however, after the sort of performance that England had been routinely knocking out during the year coming into the tournament.

“It’s been frustrating for the guys, we know how well we can play and today we were pretty good with bat, ball and in the field,” he said.

“But there are more things we can still improve on and we have three must-win games still to come. New Zealand have been terrific so far.”

Captain Eoin Margan said the two openers had been “magnificent to watch.

“The continuation of partnerships throughout took us to a formidable total,” he said. “From 10-20 overs we got 90-odd runs and that was the winning or losing of the game. We took on the spinners and that’s the way we want to play our cricket, hopefully this kick starts it for us. It got more difficult to bat on throughout our innings so I wasn’t that worried when they were batting.”

Morgan, who failed with the bat again, caught hooking his ninth ball and out for one, also praised the England attack.

“Our bowlers bowled well - Liam Plunkett has been outstanding for us for four years, absolutely outstanding, particularly in that middle period of the innings,” he said.

“No game in this tournament is easy. Every game has been extremely tough and it will continue to be.” (Reporting by Mitch Phillips; editing by Pritha Sarkar)

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