|Scorecard:||Australia v England|
|Event:||England in Australia 2013/14|
DateLine: 12th January 2014
By Andy Jalil at the MCG.
In association with INVESTEC.
Melbourne – A monumental innings of 121 off 128 balls from Aaron Finch who put on a record opening stand for a One-day International between Australia and England, of 163 with David Warner, saw Australia inflict a comprehensive six wicket defeat on the tourists with 4.2 overs to spare, in the opening game of the five-match series,
Set a target of 270 to win Australia got off to a blistering start from the powerful batting of Finch and Warner. Unperturbed at being dropped on 8, Finch went on with aggressive strokeplay. He brought up Australia’s fifty at the rate of a-run-a-ball with a scorching straight drive off Tim Bresnan who had replaced Boyd Rankin after the latter had conceded 29 from just four overs.
At the other end Ben Stokes had come on for Chris Jordan whose five overs had been hit for 24 with his last ball being sent for six straight over the sightscreen by Warner. Finch had enjoyed more of the strike to the extent that he was on 38 from 33 balls when Warner had faced just 16 balls for 9 in Australia’s 50.
Finch reached his half century when Stokes was unable to stop a powerful straight drive with his foot and deflected it to the boundary. Warner, getting more of the strike also began to pile on the runs and Australia’s hundred came up from 103 balls. That was followed by Warner’s half century but on 65 from 72 balls, he stepped out and hit Joe Root high to long-on where Stokes took the catch and the first wicket had fallen in the 28th over.
Warner had earlier been given out on 22, caught behind off Stokes but replays showed clearly that the ball had bounced before the wicketkeeper had held it and the batsman, who had walked off as far as the boundary line, was called back. Shane Watson lasted two balls before Jordan, returning for a second spell, bowled him with one that moved away a little to hit the off stump.
Finch added 72 from 65 balls with Michael Clarke before he finally departed slicing his drive for a catch at third man, by then he had taken his side to 237 for three and ten runs later Clarke was held for a rapid 43 from 42 balls.
Earlier, Alastair Cook’s dreadful form on this tour continued with yet another failure. If he had hopes of starting afresh in the one-dayers after his abject batting in the Ashes, he would be utterly disappointed with this sort of start. He struck the second ball of the day to the point boundary and two balls later got a thin edge as he went half forward to a ball from Clint Mckay.
It didn’t take Australia long to strike again with the wicket of Root. He struggled in facing as many as 23 balls for just 3 runs. The ball that trapped him lbw in the seventh over was straight enough but Root asked for a review which, not surprisingly, went against him.
Ian Bell meanwhile scored steadily. He got into the thirties with a reverse sweep off Xavier Doherty and in the following over he lifted Maxwell for six with a slog/sweep which took him to 38. But in attempting the same shot off the left-arm spinner Doherty he was bowled having put on 40 with Gary Ballance. It brought Eoin Morgan to the crease who hit the second six of the England innings and his next four took him to 24, in as many balls, bringing up England’s 100 from 146 balls.
Morgan and Ballance added 83 for the fourth wicket and soon after driving Mckay to extra cover for the last of his five boundaries, he reached his half century. He fell on 50 from 51 balls when his drive was held at cover. Six overs later, with England on 173, Ravi Bopara was caught behind off his gloves for 17.
Ben Stokes, hit a quick 21 off 20 balls and in going for a big leg side shot he missed the ball from James Faulkner. Australia finally claimed Ballance’s wicket shortly after he had been dropped on 74 off Mckay. Doherty, at third man made good ground to get both hands on the ball but failed to hold on to it.
Two balls later a swing to leg brought Ballance the last of his six fours but the next ball saw him caught. This time Doherty, fielding in the same position made no mistake and it gave Mckay his third wicket. An unbroken 41-run stand for the eighth wicket between Jos Butler and Bresnan took England to 269.
(Article: The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author only.
Copyright © 2013 Andy Jalil)