New Zealand v England: England challenged to stay aggressive with the bat in T20

England's Jason Roy. (AP Photo/Rick Rycroft)
England's Jason Roy. (AP Photo/Rick Rycroft)
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Jason Roy says England’s batsmen have “a bee in their bonnet” after two lacklustre outings against Australia.

The tourists went into today’s Twenty20 against New Zealand having been summarily dispatched by Australia in Hobart and Melbourne, where the bowlers were left defending slender scores of 155 and 137.

There is more at stake than pride or a point to prove, though, with the tri-series format lending a competitive edge often absent from international T20s – which frequently show up apologetically at the end of tours and sit in stark contrast to glitzy domestic tournaments.

With Australia already assured of their place in the Auckland final later this month only one of England or the Black Caps can join them, and Roy insists there is a hunger in the camp to give a better account of themselves ahead of the match at Wellington’s Westpac Stadium which began at 6am.

“We’ve under-performed as a team and because of that we’ve got a bee in our bonnet,” said the opener.

“It’s not just about being aggressive and hitting the ball out of the park, it’s recognising we have got the firepower and being smarter with it.

It’s not just about being aggressive and hitting the ball out of the park, it’s recognising we have got the firepower and being smarter with it.

Jason Roy

“Playing aggressive cricket, an aggressive brand and all that, that’s not just what we’re about. In the past we’ve played a lot smarter cricket. It’s been hugely frustrating because of the line-up we’ve got.”

James Vince was again expected to replace captain Eoin Morgan, who has been sidelined with a groin injury.

Morgan was ruled out at the MCG on Saturday and did not bat in the nets during England’s pre-game practice session at Basin Reserve – a clear sign that he is not yet pain free..

There is, of course, another high-profile, longer-term absentee from the England XI: Ben Stokes. He has not been seen in England colours for almost five months, following a late night incident which culminated in a police investigation and a charge of affray. The ECB had initially pencilled this fixture in as a possible comeback date for its box office all-rounder, who will instead spend his Tuesday in Bristol Magistrates’ Court. More should be known after his appearance about his future legal commitments and likely availability.