During their Aussie assault, England smashed a total of 41 boundaries, and a staggering 21 sixes – the second-most ever in an ODI innings, behind only the 22 New Zealand hit against the West Indies at Queenstown in 2014.
The hosts brought up their 300 in the 34th over, their 400 in the 43rd, and passed that previous best of theirs against Pakistan with some 27 deliveries still to be bowled. With Alex Hales – on 143 at the time – and captain Eoin Morgan – having just hit England’s quickest ever ODI fifty, off 21 balls – at the crease, 500 was very much the target.
As such, a score of 481 will never again feel so anti-climactic. Is it only a matter of time before a team, quite possibly this team, hit 500 in an ODI?
“Two or three years ago, I’d have never thought we’d get so quickly to this stage, where 500 is possible,” said Sky Sports’ Nasser Hussain. “To be perfectly honest, England will be a little disappointed they didn’t get it today, as remarkable as that sounds – it was a great opportunity.
“What took me by surprise was just how simple they made it look. It was a great lesson in batting, relying on their technique, not overhitting. England got that score because they didn’t slog, as opposed to the other way round.”
England will perhaps feel disappointed to fall short of the 500 mark as record breaking is becoming a growing trend with this team. As well as beating Jos Buttler’s 22-ball fifty, scored in that 444-game against Pakistan, Morgan went past Ian Bell as England’s leading ODI run-scorer with his rapid 67.
Jonny Bairstow (139 off 92) smashed a fourth ODI century in his last six innings, though he couldn’t quite beat Jason Roy’s highest-ever ODI score of 180 for England, nor could Hales (147 off 92) reclaim the throne from the man who surpassed his 171 from two years ago – it was just the second time there have been two centuries reached in fewer than 70 balls in the same ODI innings.
In the history of the game, there have been only 19 instances of team’s scoring 400 plus, with seven of them coming since the start of the 2015 Cricket World Cup – England have been responsible for three of them.
And of England’s top 10 ODI totals, only two were scored prior to 2015, with the other eight made during their three-year ascent to No 1 in the ICC World Rankings – 391 against Bangladesh in 2005 and 363 against Pakistan in 1992, both at Trent Bridge, being the exceptions.
There’s a recurring theme here. England’s highest successful run chase of 350 was also achieved in the Midlands. If that magic 500 mark is ever reached, it could well be England who are the ones to do it, and Trent Bridge that plays host.
Reflecting how it quickly went pear-shaped for the Australian bowlers – as many as eight used – the pear-shaped proportions of the ground certainly helped England’s cause, providing a very close cover boundary for the right-hander from the Pavilion End.
“England, or India, would be the ones that have the best chance of getting 500,” added Hussain. “But the venue is key. You’d imagine it would have to be at Trent Bridge, or Johannesburg (at altitude).
“Jonny Bairstow was able to just check-drive sixes over extra cover, while Alex Hales comfortably top-edged a six over the same boundary from the other end.
“These guys are so strong now that I can see 500 happening. I give them all the credit – you can put it down to grounds, pitches, bat size but these batsmen now are phenomenal athletes – and they deserve all the plaudits that come their way.”
Backing up Hussain’s point, Nottingham has been responsible for five totals of more than 400 in List A cricket, with the next best being Johannesburg’s four.
One of those four at The Wanderers was the first instance(s) of 400 being scored in a one-day international, South Africa’s stunning successful chase of 434 against Australia in 2006.
Rumour has is Jacques Kallis comically remarked at the midway point of that Johannesburg thriller, “Guys, I think we’ve done a good job, I think Australia are 15 runs short.”
England certainly weren’t 15 runs short – series win clinched with two to play with another record broken, their largest winning margin in ODIs of 242 runs. The next target, 500!