Published: 21:45, 11 September 2020
| Updated: 21:47, 11 September 2020
Sam Billings scored his maiden One-Day International hundred for England against Australia on Friday night.
The Kent captain came in at Old Trafford with his team in trouble at 57-4, chasing Australia’s 294-9 but ensured England took the game deep before holing out off the final ball of the match for a magnificent 118.
After a relatively slow start, Billings quickly found his feet and shared a 113-run partnership with Jonny Bairstow.
Producing his usual repertoire of reverse sweeps and crisp straight-bat shots, Billings scored his hundred in 101 balls.
Despite making his ODI debut in 2015, it was only Billings’ 18th appearance as he’s often been left carrying the drinks for England.
“I’m pleased I got my first hundred but in a losing cause it’s always mixed feelings,” said Billings.
“It’s one of the hardest teams to get into in team sport at the moment. In terms of frustration I think I’ve put too much pressure on myself when I’ve come into the games in the past myself.
“I’ve gone back to enjoying it and playing the way I do at Kent, taking the pressure off myself when these opportunities arise.
“For me it’s nice to put these performances together. I played nice against Ireland (earlier this summer) so hopefully I can kick on and keep putting scores on the board.”
England captain Eoin Morgan admitted 29-year-old Billings has had limited chances but was glad that he’d made what could be a breakthrough innings on the international stage.
“Sam’s opportunities over the last four years have been extremely limited and sporadic at times,” said Moragan. “But he comes in and still shows hunger and desire in his training.
“He got an opportunity when Joe Denly was injured in the Ireland series and he came in and got a score. To get his maiden one-day hundred here is outstanding, it shows a lot of resilience and character.
“When Ben Stokes is missing at number six he leaves a big hole with the ball and the bat. We tend to have a lot of places vying for places who play in the fop four at their county so batting at five and six is an area we need to improve our strength in depth and Sam has added to that.”
The second One-Day International between England and Australia is at Old Trafford on Sunday.