Root fit for England’s opening ODI against Australia

Joe Root carrying drinks

Root carried out 12th-man duties during England’s warm-up match on Thursday

England batsman Joe Root is fit to play in Sunday’s first one-day international against Australia in Melbourne after recovering from a viral illness.

The 27-year-old Test captain, who was taken to hospital with gastroenteritis on the final day of the fifth Ashes Test in Sydney, missed Thursday’s warm-up win over a Cricket Australia XI.

Limited overs captain Eoin Morgan said: “Joe should be fit to play.

“He’s a versatile player who can score in any strike-rate that is required.”

Root has scored 4,000 ODI runs at an average of 50 with a strike-rate of 87.05 runs per 100 balls faced.

“He’s extremely important,” Morgan added. “He’s been a fantastic leader within the group and, on top of that, there’s the weight of runs he’s scored and the manner that he’s scored them.”

No further clues were given as to the starting XI for the first of five ODI matches, although Morgan did hint that all three openers – Jonny Bairstow, Jason Roy and Alex Hales – could feature.

“Our batting has been our strength over the last couple of years and we don’t want to compromise that, so it’ll be a case of picking our strongest six, plus an all-rounder possibly, or an extra seamer,” said Morgan.

The match starts at 03:20 GMT in Melbourne.


England (from): J Bairstow, J Roy, A Hales, J Root, E Morgan (c), J Buttler (wkt) M Ali, C Woakes, A Rashid, L Plunkett, M Wood, S Billings, J Ball, T Curran, D Malan, D Willey.

Australia (from): S Smith (c), P Cummins, A Finch, T Head, M Marsh, T Paine (wkt), J Richardson, M Starc, M Stoinis, A Tye, D Warner, C White, A Zampa.

Umpires: C Gaffaney (NZ), S Fry (Aus)

Third umpire: S Ravi (Ind)

Match referee: R Madugalle (SL)

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