Australia 230 for 4 (White 105, Clark 52) beat England 228 for 9 (Strauss 63, Watson 3-36) by six wickets
It was so far so good for Australia going into today’s day nighter in Southampton with two wins from two, whereas England, in particular in their batting, have thus far shown themselves to be utterly inept in the one day format. That would need to be put right but the pre match soundbytes coming from each camp weren’t encouraging, James Anderson complaining that England were finding it difficult to match the intensity of the Ashes, while for the Australians Brett Lee in particular was full of life and pace and enjoying letting off steam after a frustrating time during the Test Matches.
Despite their problems England chose to go into the match with an unchanged line up with meant Adil Rashid missed out again. Less surprisingly Australia also named an unchanged side. England won the toss for the third time in succession, and chose to bat on this occasion, presumably hoping just to get it out of the way.
They started off okay, Strauss in particular unleashing a flurry boundaries as England reached 40 without loss after 7 overs. After 8 overs, however, the score was 41-1. Bopara, having already hit Nathan Bracken over long on for six, tried to repeat the shot but succeeded only in spooning a leading edge over the bowler’s head to be caught by James Hopes. After 9 overs the score was 41-2 and England were right back in the groove. Matt Prior gone fourth ball pulling Mitchell Johnson straight to Hopes again this time stationed at square leg. Awe inspiring stuff from the boys in red. Captain Strauss still going strong though and the England 50 came up after 11 overs, Strauss with 37 of them. Not a bad start all in all but they would feel they had lost at least one wicket too many.
Another blow was dealt with just two balls left in the first powerplay. Owais A. Shah lbw to Johnson shuffling across his stumps and trying to whip a straight ball through midwicket. Replays showed he was unlucky as the ball might have missed off, but if you play a shot like that and miss it you’re asking for trouble. 62-3 after 15 overs. I’m saying 220 all out at this stage. Strauss might have had other ideas though bringing up his fifty with a single from the first ball of the 19th over. Just sixty balls that took with 6 fours including three from Brett Lee’s second over. He went before England could reach three figures though, clipping Hauritz to mid wicket where Michael Clarke took a good low catch and 220 was back in play. The skipper gone for 63 and Eoin Morgan in next, England 104-4 at the half way stage. The Rose Bowl crowd must have been having the time of their lives.
England had reached 127-4 after 30 overs at which point they say you double the score, so by that reckoning England could expect 254 which you wouldn’t think would be enough. But once Collingwood fell for 28 they weren’t going to get even that. Nope. 220. Some late order biffing for Luke Wright was their only hope of more. With 15 overs to go in the innings England were 145-5, but still had a powerplay to go. And, with what had become typical ineptitude, England delayed taking the powerplay for so long that by the time they did so their most potentially destructive batsmen was out and they were into the bowlers. Luke Wright caught for 9, England 6 down for less than 150. Who said they’d get 220? They’d struggle to get 200 if they lost another wicket or two quickly sitting as they were 172-6 with ten overs to go.
That became 184-7 in the middle of the powerplay which was finally taken in the 42nd over. Morgan out for 43, holing out tamely to mid off. Swann and Bresnan in together to hopefully see out the overs. If they did 220 was on. But they didn’t. Swann perished lbw for a run a ball 3. 188-8 with just Sidebottom and Anderson to come. Really poor effort this form England. Again.
Sidebottom and Bresnan got England up to 220 though the some classic tail end batting, namely slaps over the infield and edges past the keeper. 222-8 going into the final over, and they finished 228-9 as Sidebottom was caught going for a big shot from the last ball of the innings. Great partnership that of 40 runs which just about spared England’s blushes. Actually that’s a lie. 228 represents a pretty piss poor effort, as Ritchie Benaud might say. Great bowling from Shane Watson who finished with 3-36 from 8 overs.
Australia’s reply got off to a mixed start, in fact a very similar start to that which England had experienced. Anderson trapped Watson dead in front early on and in the fourteenth over his opening partner Paine was also lbw, victim of a Collingwood dibbly dobbly delivery. Australia 56-2 after 15 overs, slightly fewer runs than England but had lost one wicket less. The tedium of this match continued until the half way point, tight bowling from Tim Bresnan in particular restricting the Aussies to 95-2 after 25 overs. England remember were 104-4 so if there any spectators still awake they’d be reckoning on Australia kicking on and winning this comfortably in about third gear. England would have to take wickets.
Ten overs later they hadn’t, and it was looking like game over. 143-2 the score, Cameron White had helped himself to a leisurely 50 from 78 balls and his captain Michael Clarke was heading the same way, although he wasn’t looking in great touch and was struggling to time the ball and find the gaps. He was doing enough though and Australia entered the last 10 overs of this turgid match needing 66 to win with 8 wickets in hand.
White reached three figures in the 44th over, a great knock from 116 balls with 9 fours and 1 six and Clarke moved from 48 to 2 the very next ball, before getting out the ball after that. God get this game over with. Ferguson in next to finish things off, quickly hopefully. White couldn’t last the distance, caught for 105 so Hussey came in with Australia wanting 9 from 16 and got them with an over and a half to spare.
So, 3-0 to Australia, England were woeful on a slow pitch while Australia didn’t need to get out of third gear in their reply. Anyone paying money for this would have been seriously let down. We still have four more of these to go too. Sigh…
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