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England captain Jos Buttler says Jason Roy was 'back to his best' during ODI hundred against South Africa

Jason Roy had gone 14 innings without an international fifty before hitting a hundred against South Africa in Bloemfontein; Roy's ton in vain as England slip 1-0 down in three-match series - watch second ODI live on Sky Sports Cricket from 7.30am on Sunday (8am start)

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Watch the best moments from England opener Jason Roy's 79-ball century against South Africa in Bloemfontein

Jason Roy was a man under pressure.

His lack of runs and the heavy scoring of others - Alex Hales and Will Jacks to name but two - had raised the prospect of the opener missing this autumn's 50-over World Cup in India after being axed from last year's T20 version in Australia.

However, after 14 international innings without a fifty, plus plenty of struggles in domestic white-ball cricket, Roy crashed a 79-ball century against South Africa on Friday in a score of 113 from 91 deliveries, an innings which featured 11 fours and four sixes.

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England were not at their best in Bloemfontein, slumping from 196-3 to 271 all out having been set 299 to win the first of three ODIs, but skipper Jos Buttler said Roy had hit peak form.

Speaking about Roy after his side's 27-run defeat at Mangaung Oval, Buttler said: "It was a phenomenal innings full of personality and courage, some fantastic shots.

"He looked completely back to his best - and I'm delighted to see him back to his best, he's worked really hard to get there.

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The best of the action from the first ODI in Bloemfontein, where South Africa beat England by 27 runs

"He has been through a tough time. That can happen to everyone in cricket, we all go through those tough periods. Having the strength of character to come out and play in the fashion he did and really impose himself was fantastic to see."

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Roy: It's been a horrible year

Speaking on Saturday, Roy said he was "overcome with a few emotions" after scoring his century and only had limited sleep.

The 32-year-old said: "I actually didn't sleep that well - I had about five hours. I woke up really well, though, it was the best five hours' sleep I've had. I was a bit overcome with a few emotions as it's been a turbulent few months, a horrible year.

"(The hundred celebration) had a little bit of anger around it all just because I set everything to the back of my mind, locked a few things away in a cupboard and went out and played the way I have played throughout my career.

"I was frustrated I hadn't got to that mindset earlier but it was a very nice feeling.

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Check out the moment Roy clinched his 11th one-day international hundred for England

"I've played a lot of games in my career, been around for a while now and even after a bad year you can get forgotten quite quickly.

"It's a case of keeping pushing, keeping this environment going, because it's a huge year ahead for us in 50-over cricket. I've got to keep scoring runs and just building this team to the place where we were at back in 2019."

'Roy looked more composed and balanced'

The list of players queuing up to take Roy's spot was long and included Hales, Jacks, Dawid Malan, Phil Salt, Jonny Bairstow (when fit) and perhaps even Zak Crawley.

Sky Sports Cricket's Michael Atherton said: "Roy needed this performance.

Jason Roy roars after scoring ODI century against South Africa (Getty Images)
Image: Sky Sports' Michael Atherton said Roy looked 'composed and balanced' during his ton at Mangaung Oval

"All cricketers will say they don't read the papers, they don't listen to what's going on, but every cricketer knows when they're under the microscope - you can't get away from it.

"He just looked more composed, more balanced to me than we've seen him. He played some beautiful shots, played as well as we've seen him play for a long time.

"His reaction after getting that hundred told you all you needed to know about the importance of the innings."

Why was Roy struggling?

Atherton's fellow Sky Sports Cricket expert and former England captain Nasser Hussain added: "Sometimes your strength can be your weakness. He strikes me as someone who goes even harder when he is out of nick.

"He got out by playing out in front but that is how he plays anyway. When he plays well, he plays out in front.

"When you are out of nick and you get tense and angry, you go with a hard bottom hand and we saw him drag the ball onto his stumps, nick it.

"He can learn a lot from the calmness and composure he showed [in that hundred]."

Watch the second ODI between South Africa and England live on Sky Sports Cricket from 7.30am on Sunday (first ball at 8am). The third and final game takes place on Wednesday with coverage beginning at 10.30am on Sky Sports Cricket (11am first ball).

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