|Scorecard:||England v Australia|
|Event:||ICC Champions Trophy 2013|
DateLine: 8th June 2013
By Andy Jalil at Edgbaston
In association with INVESTEC
Birmingham – A fine innings of 91 by Ian Bell enabled England to set Australia a competitive target of 270 in the opening game of Group A and that proved to be beyond them as they went down by 48 runs. They had needed to lift their game after the poor showing in their preparation for the Champions Trophy tournament. The attack needed to be sharper after India had hit it for over three hundred runs in the warm up game prior to this match and the batting in the absence of the injured captain Michael Clarke had shown inexplicable weakness to have been bowled out for 65.
Australia failed to make a good start in their response to the England innings losing the first wicket on 17 and the second on 47. Stuart Broad had David Warner edging behind the stumps as he attempted a drive playing from the crease with no foot movement in the sixth over and Shane Watson fell to Tim Bresnan when a thin edge onto his pad looped for a catch at gully.
Just as the third wicket partnership 47 was reviving the innings, Phil Hughes on 30, was trapped lbw by the off spin of Joe Root. But George Bailey kept his wicket intact as wickets began to fall at the other end. An off-cutter from Tim Bresnan accounted for Adam Voges who took a swing at it and missed.
James Anderson then achieved the milestone of picking up his 235th ODI wicket, the most by an England player, beating Darren Gough’s 234. His victim was Mitchell Marsh who sliced a catch to point and Australia were 134 for five. Two runs later in the same over Anderson found the edge of Matthew Wade’s bat. He had two for two in six balls and with that Australia had lost three for seven in 21 balls.
Bailey went on to bring up his half century from 62 balls and on 55, attempting a big drive, he was held at long-on and with that any hope that Australia may have had of achieving their target quickly faded. The eighth and ninth wickets fell within two overs and there was nothing much to come from the innings.
Earlier, Australia bowlers were unable to make an early impression on the England batting. Having decided to make first use of a fine pitch, England batsmen did not appear to be overly extended by the six bowlers they faced with both Alistair Cook and Ian Bell scoring steadily.
It wasn’t until England had made a reasonably good start that Australia broke the opening stand with Cook’s wicket for 30. With the total on 57, he drove at a ball from Shane Watson just outside off stump and got a thin edge to the wicketkeeper.
Bell, in partnership with Jonathan Trott, kept going with free stroke-play and after he had got into his 40s he unleashed a powerful pull off James Faulkner for his fourth boundary before bringing up his half century from 70 balls and England’s 100 came up simultaneously. Bell was dominating the play at that stage he square drove Mitchell Johnson for four, played a delicate late cut off Watson and then took his score to 75 with an edged pull shot in Johnson’s next over.
Trott, batting more steadily had scored 22 to that point while Bell had hit 52. The hundred of their stand soon followed with 36 being Trott’s contribution. Australia eventually got the breakthrough when Trott on 43 chased a wide ball from Mitchell Starc and Wade, behind the stumps, held the edge.
England were 168 for two in the 34th over by which stage Australia had used seven bowlers with little success. But with the second wicket stand broken England lost the momentum and three wickets were down within five overs. Bell, on 91 from 115 balls, his highest ODI runs on his home ground missed a straight ball from Faulkner and that was 189 for three. It had been an excellent innings from the Warwickshire man and was the backbone of the England innings. Without an addition to the total England lost Root for 12 in the next over when he flicked a catch to short mid-wicket off Clint McKay.
Australia had put themselves back in the game dismissing Eoin Morgan and Jos Buttler in consecutive overs. The two had fallen in a space of three balls on 212 and 213. Morgan had exposed his stumps as he moved across to hit McKay to leg and was bowled while Buttler dragged the ball from Faulkner from well outside off stump.
Despite the loss of quick wickets in the middle order, England’s total was boosted to 269 with a hard-hitting unbeaten innings of 46 from 37 balls by Ravi Bopara who added 56 in an unbroken seventh wicket stand with Bresnan.
(Article: The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author only.
Copyright © 2013 Andy Jalil)