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ENG vs AUS: 1st ODI, Review- Bowlers and middle-order help England carve comprehensive triumph

England went 1-0 up in the five-match series.

Moeen Ali of England
Moeen Ali of England. (Photo by Jordan Mansfield/Getty Images)

Going ahead into the match at the Kennington Oval, Australia were in with the daunting task of not only winning the match but also salvaging their lost pride. Tim Paine never captained the national team in limited-overs cricket and he was in with the responsibility of binding the team together. The Men in Yellow were up against England, who slumped versus Scotland in Edinburgh.

The match wasn’t a high scoring one. Nevertheless, it entertained the audience as both teams strained tooth and nail to overturn their rivals. The middle order came to the party for Australia and rescued them from a precarious position to shepherded them to respectability. The Barmy Army had a roller coaster ride as well, but a couple of resilient knocks helped them breach the target of 215 with six overs to spare.

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Maxwell shines, but Australia stutter

Paine and Co won the toss and elected to bat first. Aaron Finch and Travis Head commenced proceedings, but the latter perished early to David Willey. It was a massive blow for the visitors as Head was one of their centurions in one of the practice matches. Shaun Marsh joined Finch and got the innings back on track. To their agony, all their good work was undone when both were dismissed in quick succession.

Finch tried to break free and gave his wicket away to Moeen Ali. The same bowler completely foxed Marsh and rattled his woodwork. From what looked like a strong comeback, the Aussies were back to square one. The onus was on Marcus Stoinis, another of the century-makers in the warm-ups, and the captain himself to arrest the slump.

Horror of horrors, both went back to the hut by the 20th over and the team was in utter disarray. Ali jolted them with another body blow when he picked up his third wicket in the form of Paine when the right-hander played a rather forgettable reverse-sweep. Stoinis mistimed a cut shot from Adil Rashid and edged the leather into Jos Buttler’s webbings.

Glenn Maxwell has been a recipient of a fair amount of brickbats and he answered them appropriately with a knock of 62. He didn’t tread an unflinching approach and pulled his team out of the rabbit hole. His partnership of 84 with Ashton Agar, who notched 40 runs, helped Paine’s men scamper to 214, however, were bowled out inside 50 overs. Liam Plunkett cleaned up the lower order with 3 scalps.

Root and Morgan pile on visitor’s agony

The run chase wasn’t going to be difficult for the power-packed batting of the No.1 ranked ODI team. Nevertheless, the Aussies weren’t ready to drop the gun. Billy Stanlake charged in and nipped out Jason Roy with a corker that cannoned into the stumps. Alex Hales was the next man to succumb as Michael Neser picked up his maiden ODI wicket. With the early wickets, England had their backs pushed to the walls.

The host was dealt with a body blow when Johnny Bairstow, who became the first Englishman, the other night, to rack three consecutive tons in ODIs, was got rid of by Kane Richardson. Root and Morgan are among their more experienced heads and were needed to drag their team out of the pits. The duo didn’t play any shot out of anger and compiled a match-winning stand of 115 runs from 129 balls.

They scored half-centuries and set the platform for the run-chase. On the other hand, the Aussies were in dire requisite of a wicket as the contest was gradually slipping out of their grasp. Tye, eventually broke the partnership as Morgan under-edged the ball to Paine behind the wickets. The pacer reignited Australia’s hope when he pinned Jos Buttler in his very next over.

England lost Root in the very next over to Stanlake and all of a sudden, from a position of strength, they seemed to stumble at the finishing line. Moeen and Willey’s partnership of 34 runs came as a breather for Morgan’s troops as it got them within touching distance of the victory. The bearded-beast perished to a runout, but Willey held his nerves and scored 35 runs to take his team 1-0 up in the series.

Brief Scores

Australia: 214 runs from 47 overs; (Glenn Maxwell 62, Ashton Agar 40; Moeen Ali 3/43, Liam Plunkett 3/42)

England: 218/7 from 44 overs; (Eoin Morgan 69, Joe Root 50; Andrew Tye 2/42, Billy Stanlake 2/44)

England beat Australia by three wickets

Player of the Match: Moeen Ali

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