This England performance did not surprise me. The power and skill levels of this team, allied with a fearless approach, make them absolutely devastating and they have the ability to bully the opposition, just like the great Australian sides of the past.
After 20 overs of a one-dayer the Australians would be bullying you into submission. England did that on Tuesday to Pakistan. They have a style, spirit and ruthlessness out in the middle that can completely demoralise bowlers when they are presented with such brilliant batting conditions.
The problem with this kind of performance is that expectations go up. I have said for while that this is England’s greatest group of one-day players. But they have to back that up by winning tournaments and key moments in big games.
They had that opportunity in the World Twenty20 final and came up just short. They do not want to be a team who get to finals and lose. South Africa were a brilliant one-day side for years, but did not win a World Cup. Do not waste it all.
Alex Hales was under immense pressure but made the full use of being at his home venue, on a pitch he knows how to play on and against a fielding side who did not seem to want to get him out.
I have a huge amount of respect for someone who performs under pressure. It is a phenomenal achievement to break the England one-day batting record after struggling in the spotlight for weeks.
It just proves to me he has the game and mental edge for top-level cricket. I simply want to see him bring that free-spirit approach we have seen on a regular basis in one-day cricket into the Test game. He needs to free himself up and play his attacking shots. If you live by the sword, occasionally you will die by it. If he commits to the strokes more in Test cricket he will have his good days.
I may be biased, but I have watched a lot of cricket since the 1980s and I do not remember a better England player across all formats than Joe Root.
To score five fifties on the trot in one-day cricket is really hard given the risks you have to take. But Joe makes it look so effortless. It is because he practises so hard. He drills himself in the nets playing high-risk shots, making them come naturally when he is out in the middle. It is hard work and dedication to focused practice. It allows him to perform on a consistent basis. It is a pleasure to watch. When he goes out to the middle you feel he is already on 20 or 30 before he has faced a ball. It looks like he has worked out the opposition and what they are trying to do while sitting on the balcony watching others bat. That is so important in one-day cricket.
Jos Buttler’s ball striking has been so confident ever since he smashed his 46-ball hundred in Dubai last year. That gave him belief after losing his Test place.
On Tuesday evening we saw Eoin Morgan hit the ball just as cleanly and perhaps that will click him into life as well after a poor run. I have not seen Morgan destroy an attack like that for a long time. That is a fantastic sign for the team.
Put simply, this England are as good as you get. You can tick off every discipline and facet required to be a top-quality side. They have it all. They have depth in batting, good combinations of hitters and stylish batsmen, six or seven bowling options with a leggie and an off-spinner.
They have two high-quality fast bowlers, backed up by Chris Woakes and Ben Stokes, who have all the tricks. They are also an excellent fielding unit.
Hales and Adil Rashid are the only ones I would not rate at eight out of 10 for fielding. They are six out of 10.
Then you look at the players not in the team. Guys such as Sam Billings, Ben Duckett, Liam Dawson, David Willey, Jonny Bairstow, the Curran brothers and James Vince. Make it count and win us a tournament.