Eoin Morgan believes England’s one-day international record-breakers may yet have a world-first total of 500 within their capabilities after their near miss against Australia at Trent Bridge.
Captain Morgan admits he simply does not know if England may soon be able to better the new all-time high of 481 for six with which they overwhelmed their Ashes rivals on the way to a series-sealing victory by 242 runs.
After he himself also set a national record for the fastest ever half-century, from 21 balls, and became England’s highest ODI runscorer to boot, he spoke of collective pride at so easily surpassing the previous chart-topping 444 for three his team made against Pakistan on this same ground two years ago.
Alex Hales (147), Jonny Bairstow (139) and fellow opener Jason Roy (82) established an unprecedented run-rate against Australia – and with Morgan then smashing 67 off 30 balls, the prized 500 briefly looked achievable.
Spinners Adil Rashid and Moeen Ali then shared seven wickets in Australia’s 239 all out.
Asked if England are perhaps on the verge of achieving things he would once have thought impossible, Morgan said: “I think (we’re) definitely very close.
“In the position we found ourselves today, with six overs to go, we’d have never imagined – certainly after that game against Pakistan – that we’d come close, pass, maybe stare down the barrel of scoring 500.
“It’s a very proud day for us. The sky’s the limit with these guys.”
It was no surprise that Australia’s reply crumbled under such pressure, but Morgan was delighted England never loosened their grip.
Their previous highest total lasted less than two years as a world record, and Morgan already wonders whether this one will live any longer.
“The honest answer is I don’t know,” he said.
“We don’t know where the game will be this time next year, but certainly we are putting ourselves in the best position if we continue to challenge each other.”
Morgan rues falling short of 500, but nothing else about a famous day.
“It is an opportunity missed, but I’m very proud of what we achieved today,” the Irishman added.
“I think this is definitely the best performance by a stretch.
“This is certainly the best period of my career, and the proudest as well.”
For Morgan’s opposite number Tim Paine, it was an unenviable experience to watch his young attack dispatched to all parts after he had put England in.
“We just ran into some guys who are absolutely red-hot at the moment,” he said.
Paine was passed fit here after recovering from stitches above his lip after being hit in the face while wicketkeeping in the second ODI in Cardiff.
He added: “I thought I had some headaches in the last game, after the 25th over, when I got hit in the head.
“But I had a few more out there today.
“I’ve been playing cricket since I was a kid, and that’s the hardest day’s cricket I’ve ever had in my life.
“Everything we tried did not work.”