There was no Eoin Morgan-like standout this time, but England still cruised to a comfortable four-wicket win to take a 2-0 lead in the series. From Stuart Broad’s three early wickets to an impressive Andrew Strauss half-century, to a coasting partnership from Paul Collingwood and Morgan to confirm the result, it was a thoroughly professional victory for the hosts.
On a day when Australia installed a Labor prime minister born in Wales, the nation’s cricketers laboured in Wales for no such reward. Cameron White ground out one of his least attractive half-centuries to drive Australia to 239 for 7 but that was never going to be enough on a surface that, while a little slow, was no minefield.
The Australian batsmen struggled to time the ball and their innings was full of thick edges and jarring woody clunks. As in Southampton, Shane Watson the only man who struck the ball cleanly but when he departed for 57, they were sent into a holding pattern from which they never really emerged.
It left their newish attack with too few runs to defend – not that the bowlers helped themselves. Clint McKay, who was included ahead of Josh Hazlewood, sent down two no-balls in his first over and Strauss murdered the free hits, with an uncharacteristically muscular six back over the bowler’s head and a four driven over wide mid off.
Those efforts helped Strauss find his touch and he moved briskly to a half-century at exactly a run a ball, before he was caught and bowled off a leading edge to Nathan Hauritz for 51. He had combined with Kevin Pietersen for a 68-run second-wicket stand that set the tone for the rest of the chase.
Pietersen played within himself but still managed 33 off 38, having seen nothing threatening from McKay, Doug Bollinger and James Hopes. He pounced on anything short and found the boundary four times before he fell to a stunning catch from Ricky Ponting, who leapt off the ground at midwicket, flung his right hand high above his head and plucked a wicket for Steven Smith.
Ponting’s celebration was muted. He knew that further miracles were required with so few runs to defend, and when Morgan and Collingwood settled in to a steady rhythm the result was all but decided. There was one special moment for Collingwood, who with a single to fine leg passed Alec Stewart to become England’s all-time leading run scorer in one-day internationals.
Collingwood departed for 48 and Morgan for 52, both to Bollinger, but any sniff Australia were given was quickly snuffed out. England’s allrounders Tim Bresnan and Graeme Swann saw them over the line with 28 balls to spare and Swann brought up the win with a six over mid off.
The result will make it very difficult for Australia to come back and win the series, and on the evidence of the first two games it’s their batsmen who need to lift the most. The bowlers are still learning at international level, but an experienced batting group has failed to set a big enough target in either match.
The early wickets from Broad, who celebrated his 24th birthday in style, set the Australians back significantly. When Tim Paine tickled a legside catch to Craig Kieswetter, it made Broad the youngest man to reach 100 ODI wickets for England. His next two breakthroughs were much more convincing.
Ponting was on 13 when he received a lovely cross-seam ball that bounced more than he anticipated and a thick edge was accepted by Kieswetter. Michael Clarke (1) was the victim of a well-laid plan when Strauss brought in a short leg, Broad duly dug in a bouncer, and Clarke could do nothing but prod a catch to Swann under the helmet.
White and Smith steadied the innings but, for men who are renowned as power hitters, battled to find the boundary. There was one slog-swept six from White off Swann but apart from that, neither man went after the spinners. Even when the late batting Powerplay arrived they could only scrounge 33 from it.
Smith made 41 and White saw the innings through to its conclusion with an unbeaten 86 from 98 balls, but it was reminiscent of Clarke’s scratchy anchoring role in the first game. What they really need is for Watson to bat through until the late overs.
He began with three fours in the first over and looked in form until, for the second time in three days, he was caught off a top edge. From that moment on, England were on top. They can wrap up the series in Manchester on Sunday.
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Post InfoThis entry was posted on Friday, June 25th, 2010 and is filed under Cricket, General.
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