This article titled “England beat Australia by four wickets in second ODI – as it happened” was written by Geoff Lemon (Australia innings) and Rob Smyth (England innings), for theguardian.com on Friday 19th January 2018 16.49 Asia/Kolkata
Here’s Vish’s report from the Gabba:
England lead the series 2-0 with three matches to play
That was a fine win for England, and a nice contrast to their victory in the first ODI. That was all about Jason Roy; this was a team effort. The series isn’t over – England were 2-0 up in South Africa two years ago and lost 3-2 – but Australia have to change something quicksmart. Bowling first might be a good place to start, because England are formidable when they bat second.
Thanks for your company; sorry I didn’t chance to read all the emails. It was just too darn exciting watching England play one-day cricket. Goodnight.
ENGLAND BEAT AUSTRALIA BY FOUR WICKETS WITH 34 BALLS TO SPARE!
44.2 overs: England 270-6 (Root 46, Woakes 35) Woakes hurries England over the line with consecutive boundaries. He played beautifully, making 39 not out from only 27 balls, and England have won emphatically. Again.
44th over: England 266-6 (Root 46, Woakes 31) Mitch Marsh comes on, a development he must be thrilled with in the circumstances. Four from the overes; five to go.
43rd over: England 262-6 (Root 45, Woakes 28) This is as close as you’ll get to a four-wicket thrashing. The most impressive thing has been the way England have completely ignored the pressure points during their run-chase. Not interested!
“Just a quick thanks for mentioning Dan in today’s OBO,” writes his father Dan. “Seeing that and people’s reactions is still moving in a positive way. We all appreciate you remembering him after all this time and of course the Ashes series and 6 Nations would have been particular highlights of his working year.”
And ours. I can imagine his facial expression at the precise nanosecond James Vince edged another drive to slip.
42nd over: England 253-6 (Root 43, Woakes 21) Woakes pulls Richardson towards long leg, where a Stoinis misfield gives England four runs. It’s been a good day for Root, who also took two for 31 from seven overs. That might be enough for a low-key Man of the Match performance, though Michael Vaughan, on BT Sport, suggests Eoin Morgan could get it for his captaincy.
41st over: England 247-6 (Root 42, Woakes 16) Woakes plays another excellent stroke, square driving Tye for three. Every time England have been under a bit of pressure, they have hit their way back into the ascendancy. It’s so impressive. England teams really aren’t hardwired to do this against Australia in Australia.
40th over: England 243-6 (Root 41, Woakes 13) So much for Chris Woakes’ defensive technique – he’s just spanked Richardson for 10 in two balls! A cracking extra cover drive was followed by a whriling pull-drive for six. The camera cuts to Eoin Morgan, who looks on like a proud father. He’s taught his kids some pretty good values.
“I was about to message you and ask what you thought the chances were of England stuffing this up,” says Richard O’Hagan. “It seems that I can jinx them merely by the power of thought nowadays.”
My favourite thing about Richard’s email was the subject: a simple, old-fashioned ‘here we go’. I’m not sure anything speaks of being English – and certainly not of being an English cricket fan – quite like a weary ‘here we go’.
39th over: England 231-6 (Root 40, Woakes 2) Tye comes back into the attack. There is a bit of reverse swing, so Root bats with due care and attention. If he goes, Australia will fancy their chances of a smash-and-grab victory.
“Hi Rob,” says Lloyd. “Bairstow isn’t ‘going to give up the gloves, or be told to give them up’? Is that really how it works? Genuine question. I understand he might not want to give them up, but if he was told by his captain/coach that he was batting up the order with someone else keeping, wouldn’t he have to lump it and do his job like a pro? Or is player power really that strong these days?”
I think it’s more the realisation that to enforce something to which he is so strongly opposed would probably diminish his game – not through suking so much as feeling uncomfortable. The same applies to Joe Root batting at No3. If I were in charge of English cricket I would show Bairstow what happened when Kumar Sangakkara gave up the gloves, and try to persuade him that he would probably add 7-10 runs to his average by being a specialist batsman. Wear him down with cold, hard, undeniable stats.
38th over: England 228-6 (Root 38, Woakes 1) Chris Woakes’ defensive technique comes in very handy: he repels the last two deliveries to be bowled by Starc, who ends with figures of 10-0-59-4.
WICKET! England 227-6 (Ali b Starc 1)
That is magnificent bowling! Moeen is knocked over by a sizzling inswinging yorker from Starc, who has dragged Australia back into the game with a brilliant final over. And he still has two balls remaining!
WICKET! England 225-5 (Buttler c Carey b Starc 42)
Buttler’s entertaining innings of 42 from 32 balls is ended by Starc, who produces a beauty from around the wicket that takes the edge en route to the keeper Carey.
37th over: England 224-4 (Root 37, Buttler 42) England are scoring at more than a run a ball, yet at now stage has the innings felt forced. They bat with formidable certainty, especially when they are chasing. They are more erratic when they are setting a target.
“Morning Rob,” says Rich Ibbetson. “Not sure if this has been discussed already this morning, but how do you see England selection for the ODI team panning out once Stokes is back? Will he have to come in for Moeen, and leave us with just 5 real bowlers, as they have done today? Having Roy, Bairstow and Hales up top together seems to work beautifully.”
I think they’ll just rotate for the next 15 months and see how everyone’s form is at the start of the World Cup. They will probably want six bowlers for that, so one of the top three might miss out. That said, things will probably change before the World Cup. Experience suggests one of today’s XI won’t make the squad, never mind the team.
36th over: England 215-4 (Root 33, Buttler 37) The last, last, last, last, last throw of the dice, with Starc returns to the attack. But it’s not happening for him or Australia. England take six low-risk runs from the over to move within 56 of victory.
35th over: England 209-4 (Root 31, Buttler 33) Travis Head returns to the attack, replacing Stoinis. Buttler strongarms a superb boundary through midwicket to bring up a rapid fifty partnership. He has 33 from 24 balls; Root, the perfect modern anchor, has 31 from 39.
“Hi Rob,” says Matt Colton. “Bairstow has the potential to be a very good Test No3 – he is the second-best bat in the Test side, can grind it out, plays all forms of bowling well, rotates the strike and runs well. Looking at the (albeit bizarre) Test squad we took to Australia Bairstow is by far the most obvious No3, if we assume that Root won’t play there. It’s also worth noting he isn’t the best wicket keeper in the squad either. We have spent a year and a half proving the theory that neither Ballance nor Vince is test number 3, without trying the far more obvious and natural selection of Bairstow there. And for all the naysayers who think he isn’t a good enough bat for a test 3, remember when they said he wasn’t good enough to bat anywhere in the one-day side?”
I suppose all bets are off with the Test team, and I wouldn’t put anything past Bairstow, but are you really playing to his strengths by putting him in the top three? Either way, I don’t think he’s going to give up the gloves, or be told to give them up, so I suspect he’ll spend the rest of his career at No6/7 and end up with a Test average of 39.81 and a conversion rate of 17 per cent.
34th over: England 200-4 (Root 27, Buttler 26) Buttler reaches outside off stump to clout Richardson over midwicket for four. That brings up the 200; England are in control again after a slight wobble.
“So much of cricket is about the perception of strength – reputation – and how that feeds back into how both teams play (confidence/intimidation/apprehension/risk, etc),” says Scott Oliver. “Just as Test teams with great bowling attacks can afford to be gung-ho with the bat because they know they will always have a chance to drag it back with the ball, so the same notion, albeit differently modulated, applies with this England ODI team: the opposition’s perception of England’s batting power (which is of course based on a long list of real achievements and not simply feverish and awe-struck imaginings) causes them to take more risks, to set higher ‘par score’ figures, to over-extend themselves, and consequently to get it wrong more often. Or, as was very much the case of this England team on its way up – superbly marshalled by Morgan, granted, but essentially the result of having several brilliant attacking batting talents come along at once, and of course the selectorial vision that made that happen – they find out through this higher-risk cricket that they haven’t remotely touched the outer limits of their own potential as a team. They find the proverbial next level. And maybe the next, too.”
Yep, I completely agree with this. Steve Waugh understood it better than anyone. Trouble is: when the force is with Pakistan, they do not give a solitary one about reputation, perception or anything else.
33rd over: England 188-4 (Root 24, Buttler 20) Stoinis replaces Tye. Buttler introduces himself in the contemporary style by launching the first ball over mid-off for a one-bounce four. That was, or at least appeared to be, comically effortless. He gets four more later in the over with a top-edged hook straight over the keeper’s head. That almost went for six. I hope Buttler doesn’t take the Morgan route away from first-class and Test cricket, though I suspect that will happen.
32nd over: England 178-4 (Root 24, Buttler 10) Steve Smith continues the policy of pace at one end, with Richardson replacing Starc. It’s good captaincy from Smith, who won’t die wondering if Australia lose this game. Joe Root punches a few nice drives without piercing the field, and there are two runs from the over.
31st over: England 176-4 (Root 22, Buttler 10) Tye is pulled smoothly round the corner for by Buttler, who then fresh-airs an attempt to dump the ball out of the ground. Whatever the circumstances, this England batting line-up carry on almost robotically with their ultra-attacking game. It’s as if they don’t register the fall of wickets or pressure moments.
“Let me get this right then,” writes Mike Selvey. “You are live-blogging the Gabba from Orkney? I think that’s as leftfield as it gets.”
The weirdest thing is that they are playing on despite a blanket of snow at the Gabba. Wait, hang on.
30th over: England 169-4 (Root 19, Buttler 6) This is Starc’s eighth over. I think that’s a justified gamble. It doesn’t leave much for the death overs, but then there might not be any death overs if Australia don’t take another wicket here. Buttler, who could do with a score after a fairly barren run in ODIs, pulls breezily for two, and a handful of singles take England to within 102 of victory.
29th over: England 164-4 (Root 18, Buttler 2) One more wicket would give Australia a plentiful sniff of victory. Moeen is brilliant but unreliable and pressure can do strange things to a lower order, however talented.
“I’m not sure Morgan has quite the importance of Colly to England’s white ball stuff,” says Gary Naylor. “The Durham man raised standards in the field, showed the way with pace-off, wicket-to-wicket bowling on dead tracks, could re-establish a innings in crisis or accelerate one going well and skippered the side to a global trophy. But I’ll revise my opinion in 2019 if things go to plan.”
That’s a persuasive argument, especially as he won a white-ball trophy with England. Morgan’s biggest achievement is that he has altered DNA like nobody before him.
28th over: England 159-4 (Root 14, Buttler 1) Dear England, please don’t play silly buggers and lose this game. Love, Rob.
“You’ve got it exactly right on Morgan as a captain,” says Kevin Wilson, high-fiving me with joy and love. “I know he had a rough time in the UAE against Pakistan but don’t you just wish he went back to Middlesex and knuckled down? Given England’s middle-order woes, I’d take a 30 average from Morgan if he captained the side.”
I used to think that, but focussing exclusively on the one-day stuff has surely made him a much better captain. He’s got a doctorate in white-ball cricket.
WICKET! England 157-4 (Morgan b Starc 21)
Morgan falls, dragging Starc onto the stumps via the body. It was a useful knock, 21 from 27 balls, but England need to be careful or they could lose a game they have dominated throughout.
27th over: England 157-3 (Root 13, Morgan 21) Andrew Tye replaces Jhye Richardson and draws a leading edge from Morgan that plops short of mid-off. That’s all.
“Bairstow as keeper is a decision that needs to be challenged more,” says Mark Gillespie. “Bairstow will never be a world class Test batsman while he’s expected to keep wicket as well. He may not become that anyway, but he’s by far the most likely. I don’t understand why we haven’t yet tried Foakes behind the stumps to free up Bairstow to move into the top 5. Batting him at 5 while keeping just seems like a fudge. I sometimes get the impression that we don’t do that because of how much stock he seems to place on being keeper, but it needs to be what’s best for the team that matters. It doesn’t preclude him doing it in the future if it doesn’t help his batting and/or another keeper doesn’t make runs.”
I agree, up to a point. I’m not sure he realises how good a Test batsman he could become. Thing is, though, the emergence of Malan changes things because England no longer need a No5, which would have been Bairstow’s natural position as a specialist batsman. The number of moveable parts and contradictory imperatives make selecting a Test XI really tricky, which is one reasons why I think they should embrace rotation.
26th over: England 153-3 (Root 10, Morgan 20) Starc returns, a good move from Steve Smith, though one he might have made before Morgan rushed to 18. Morgan can be susceptible to hot hot heat, especially early in his innings. He looks comfortable enough now, and is content to take a couple of runs and see off Starc’s over.
25th over: England 150-3 (Root 9, Morgan 18) A quiet over from Head, four from it. England need 122 runs from 152 balls; Australia need seven wickets from 152 balls.
24th over: England 146-3 (Root 8, Morgan 15) Morgan plays a remarkable stroke, picking Richardson up for a lazy six over deep backward square. I know Morgan’s form fluctuates wildly these days but when he’s in form he’s quite exhilarating. He should get more credit; you could argue (politely) that he’s the most important white-ball cricketer England have ever had.
23rd over: England 138-3 (Root 7, Morgan 8) Travis Head replaces Stoinis and almost picks up the wicket of Morgan, who slices a cut fractionally short of Warner at backward point. The ball runs away for four, and a hearty pull brings him a second boundary later in the over. Incidentally, look at this innings from Morgan in the final of the T10 league last year.
22nd over: England 129-3 (Root 6, Morgan 0) Eoin Morgan, beaten for pace, inside edges his first ball back onto the pad. This is a very impressive debut from Richardson, who has figures of 5-1-17-2.
“While you’ve been coming to terms with ‘cognitive dissonance’, I think I’ve found the truest meaning in the phrase ‘The agony, the ecstasy’,” says Matt Dony. “Waking up and checking the score during the Test series was, more often than not, a painful chore. My phone was not my friend. Many wintery mornings started off in a funk. Now, though, I can pick up my phone and wonder what combination of batsmen will win it for England today? Which bowler wreaked the most damage? Who will frustrate Australian bowlers the most? It’s great. This must be what it felt like to be Australian for so long.”
Hold that thought for a few overs, eh.
WICKET! England 129-3 (Bairstow c Warner b Richardson 60)
Another one for Richardson! Bairstow slaps a drive straight to extra cover, where David Warner takes a comfortable catch. Australia are back in the match.
21st over: England 124-2 (Bairstow 60, Root 1) Stoinis’s slower short ball beats Bairstow for lack of pace. The wicket has changed the mood slightly, with a bit of a spring in Australia’s step. They need more wickets though, ideally eight of them.
“Morning Rob,” says Matt Emerson. “Given that all bets are off when it comes to the Test team would it be worth a go putting Bairstow up to open in Tests? He’s got a better technique than most of the others we’ve tried and you could drop Cook to three as you’ve suggested and Vince to five/six, which is where it feels like he belongs.”
I think that would be too much. Remember his dismissal to the second new ball at Sydney, for example. That said, he’s so talented and resourceful that it’s not beyond him. If Bairstow is going to stay as keeper, which seems likely, I wouldn’t have him any higher than No5.
20th over: England 119-2 (Bairstow 58, Root 0) “How is it possible we never looked like winning a Test and never look like losing an ODI vs pretty much the same opposition?” says Tom Morgan. “Either bald or seven wigs the Spanish would say (if they followed both formats of cricket).”
The short answer is confidence, though there’s a lot more to it than that. Having England’s best ever ODI captain helps.
WICKET! England 119-2 (Hales b Richardson 57)
The pacy Jhye Richardson replaces Mitchell Starc. Man better know it’s hot out there – and that heat has led to a wicket! Hales, hurried by a delivery that also cramps him for room, drags the ball back onto the stumps to end an excellent innings of 57. That’s Richardson’s first ODI wicket, a lovely moment for any young player. At 21, he looks a seriously exciting find.
19th over: England 119-1 (Bairstow 58, Hales 57) Marcus Stoinis replaces Aaron Finch nand is milked for three runs. Australia, who started with furious intent, look pretty downbeat.
18th over: England 116-1 (Bairstow 57, Hales 54) England are cruising. They need 155 from 32 overs, and that’s drinks.
“Dan Lucas had (“had” – isn’t it ridiculous to write that word of such a young man) a treasure trove of knowledge about loads of stuff that doesn’t matter… by virtue of which, of course, it does,” says Gary Naylor. “He held an opinion on all of it, that he would argue, day and night, with the kind of passion that reminded me of happy days in halls of residence. And – how I miss this – he’d do it all with a smile, a wry word or two and a generosity of spirit that the world can ill-afford to have lost in these grim-faced, keyboard-mashing, humourless times.”
You know, that’s a great point. The once noble art of argument has become a tedious, point-scoring exercise. With Dan, it was usually fun.
17th over: England 109-1 (Bairstow 52, Hales 53) Now Hales reaches his fifty, swinging Finch sweetly over long-on for six. This is a masterclass in businesslike punishment. Australia are desperate for a wicket and briefly consider a review when Bairstow survives an LBW appeal after missing a sweep. It was missing leg.null
16th over: England 101-1 (Bairstow 52, Hales 46) Mitchell Starc returns to the attack, a move that is both desperate and sensible. Bairstow smokes him back over his head for four to reach a storming half-century from 41 balls. Right here, right now, he looks a helluva one-day opener. It’s not all bish-bosh, either; he is one of the world’s best runners between the wickets.
“Loving this England one-day team, slightly deflated by the Test performances of late, especially away from home,” says Dave Besley. “Any ideas on having consistently good performances over all 3 formats? (Of course, I understand if you knew the magical answer, you’d be working for an International team and not doing the OBO).”
I would definitely try split coaches. It didn’t work in 2013, because Ashley Giles got the dregs for the white-ball teams, but things have changed since then: there is less crossover between the teams and a greater emphasis on limited-overs cricket.
15th over: England 93-1 (Bairstow 46, Hales 44) “While I am ever glad of your word pictures I do wish I was watching this,” says Ian Copestake. “I have cathartic needs that only the evidence of my eyes can assuage.”
Copestake, you need to be nicer to me.
14th over: England 91-1 (Bairstow 46, Hales 42) Australia need wickets if they are to have any chance of winning this game. I’d be tempted to get Starc back for a couple of overs. Hales survives a run-out referral after stealing a second run to third man.
13th over: England 85-1 (Bairstow 45, Hales 37) Australia turn to another part-time spinner, Aaron Finch. Actually, that description is unfair: he’s not a spinner, he’s a slow bowler. Honk. His first over goes for seven, with Bairstow heaving a boundary over midwicket. Bairstow’s average is the 11th highest in ODI history. He wasn’t even in the team six months ago!
12th over: England 78-1 (Bairstow 39, Hales 36) Bairstow is duped by Tye’s slower ball but gets enough on it to clear mid-off and get three runs. He ends the other with a boundary, blasting a back cut to the fence. This is hilarious. This is England. I haven’t a clue what I’m watching. At the 2007 World Cup, in a de facto quarter-final against South Africa, England were nine for none after seven overs. Now look at them.
“Pretty sure nobody else in Piura, Peru is following you at 03:20am,” says David Murphy. “Any other ridiculous places or times on offer from your army of fans?”
11th over: England 68-1 (Bairstow 31, Hales 35) Bairstow plants the front dog and wallops a sweep shot for four off Head. This is tremendous batting. BIFF! BANG! BONG! MO FARAH SIGN! Bairstow has quietly taken his ODI average to a whopping 49.33; it was 32 at the start of the last English summer.
“Let me second your post on Dan Lucas, Rob,” says Guy Hornsby. “It still seems utterly bewildering that he’s not here. He’d be sharing our bafflement about how England are dominating Australia with the white ball, excoriating the ECB’s wonky logic over Ben Stokes, and posting YouTube videos to late-90s indie bands to illustrate the power of a Hales leg-side ramp. What an unfair world this is sometimes.”
10th over: England 60-1 (Bairstow 25, Hales 33) When Tye drops short, Bairstow smashes a boundary over the head of backward point. That defeat to Pakistan in the semi-final of the Champions Trophy is getting more irritating by the day. I don’t know if England can ensure they get fast pitches for next year’s World Cup. But they should do everything they can, because on good batting tracks they are the best team in the world.
9th over: England 56-1 (Bairstow 21, Hales 33) Bairstow, on the walk, survives an LBW appeal from Head. It was a decent shout but there were far too many variables for Smith to review. The technology suggests it would have bounced over the top. A rubbish delivery is then dragged round the corner for four by Bairstow, continuing England’s brilliant, businesslike start.
8th over: England 49-1 (Bairstow 12, Hales 33) The white-ball specialist Andrew Tye comes into the attack. A good start – five dot balls – is tarnished when Hales slams the last delivery between extra cover and mid on for four.
“As a follow up to Andrew Benton’s question (over 4), could you shed light on why Ben Stokes is charged with a serious crime and is eligible to play, but Ben Duckett tips a drink over someone and gets fined and banned for a series and a half?” says Richard. “It’s just anti-Northants bias isn’t it?!”
Can I phone a friend?
7th over: England 45-1 (Bairstow 12, Hales 29) Australia must regret coming into this match without a specialist spinner. Steve Smith has already turned to the part-time offspin of Travis Head, a fair gamble during the Powerplay. Hales muscles his first ball to the cover boundary and sweeps his fourth over short fine leg for four more. England are batting with such cold-eyed authority.
6th over: England 36-1 (Bairstow 12, Hales 20) Four more for Hales, pumped through the covers off Richardson. You need Batman fight graphics for this England batting line-up. BOFF! KAPOW! ZOK! FETCHTHAT! A thick edge goes well wide of the only slip for a single.
5th over: England 29-1 (Bairstow 12, Hales 15) Many felt England should have played three openers during the Ashes. They’re doing that in this series – but three openers means something completely different in one-day cricket, and the No3 Hales is off to a flyer. He pings Starc through backward point for his third boundary before rotating the strike. That allows Bairstow to hit consecutive fours with a hearty clout through the covers and a pristine drive through extra cover. Starc responds with a cracking short ball that follows Bairstow and thumps him in the left breast as he tries to sway out the way.
“Afternoon Rob,” says Phil Withall. “The dismissal of Roy has just reinforced the difference between watching the Test team and the one-day side. In Tests, when an important batsman falls, I get nervous about impending collapse. With the 50-over lot I just shrug and think there’s still a lot more to come. I’m enjoying this new development rather a lot.”
I suspect that, at least unconsciously, the teams react that way as well.
4th over: England 16-1 (Bairstow 4, Hales 10) Another good over from Richardson, who is bowling a challenging full length at impressive speed. One from it.
“Could you kindly shed light on why Ben Stokes has now been charged he’s eligible to play, but when he wasn’t charged he wasn’t eligible?” says Andrew Benton. “Makes no sense to me.”
I don’t think it’s as black and white as that, particularly in an age of social-media witch hunts. This piece, from Cricinfo’s Andrew Miller, sums it up well.
3rd over: England 15-1 (Bairstow 4, Hales 9) Hales gets off the mark with a boundary, flogging a Starc bouncer over midwicket, and he gets another with a scythe through point off a low full toss. The start to this innings has been a fascinating slugfest, with neither team putting their gloves up.
2nd over: England 6-1 (Bairstow 4, Hales 0) Jonny Bairstow gets off the mark with an emphatic cover drive for four off the debutant Jhye Richardson. He tries to drive the next delivery, which beats him for pace, takes the inside edge and misses the stumps by a whisker. That’s an impressive start from Richardson, whose pace has already reached 90mph/145kph.
1st over: England 2-1 (Bairstow 0, Hales 0) Starc is swinging the new ball, which is always good news for Australia.
WICKET! England 2-1 (Roy c Finch b Starc 2)
Mitchell Starc strikes with his fourth ball! This is great cricket from Australia. They had a short midwicket especially for Jason Roy, who clipped an inswinger straight to him. After smashing 180 on Sunday, Roy lasted four balls today.
“Nice pattern emerging as an Englishman watching this series,” says Brian Withington. “Have a sleep whilst Finch gets a hundred then wake to enjoy everything else.”
Yeah, but if he does it a third time he gets to keep us.
Yesterday would have been the 32nd birthday of the OBO’s Dan Lucas. We all miss him terribly. I really want to know what he thought of Twin Peaks, and hear him rant about James Vince’s batting. His loved ones are continuing to raise funds for JDRF, which is dedicated to Type 1 Diabetes research; if you are feeling charitable, this link is for you.
Thanks Geoff, morning everyone. Time was, being ripped from happy sleep at 6am to cover an England ODI made a man growl with dissatisfaction. Not now. It’s a pleasure to watch this England team. Not only are they brilliant and entertaining; they’re also educational. For the first time in my life, I think I understand what ‘cognitive dissonance’ means. After decades of watching mostly mediocre England teams, there is now the jarring sensation of expecting them to beat Australia in Australia. Not hoping against hope; not praying against prayer; expecting.
They need 271 to win at the Gabba after another streetwise performance in the field. Australia never really threatened to get away, despite another century from Aaron Finch. Since the last World Cup England have won six and tied one of the seven games in which they’ve been asked to chase between 250 and 300. A win today would leave them 2-0 up with three to play, on the brink of a first ever bilateral ODI series win in Australia*. And it would probably further our understanding of cognitive dissonance.
* There have only been a handful of bilateral series. England did win triangular/quadrangular tournaments in 1986-87 (twice) and, ridiculously, 2006-07.
England will chase 271 to win
Australia was… not good. That’s all you can say there. Some terrific bowling from England to stop them getting away, some difficulty timing the ball from the home side. Mitch Marsh dragged the pace down through the middle when sent out to speed things up. Cam White struggled late. Aaron Finch was supposed to be the anchor but was out trying to lift the rate. Travis Head looked all at sea. Only Alex Carey really hit the ball well from the get-go.
Should be a formality for England, but we’ll see if today’s batting struggles extend to both sides. Australia has no specialist spinner, and England’s spinners took five of the seven wickets to fall to bowlers. The other two also fell to a bowler, but via Woakes’ run-outs. He was terrific today. Rob Smyth will be terrific too, and I’ll leave you in his capable hands for the chase. Farewell.
WICKET! Tye run out 8 (Woakes)
50th over: Australia 270-9 (White 15) The wicket falls first ball. Woakes bowls White a perfect yorker which can only be dug out for one. In comes AJ Tye, and slaps two runs to the midwicket gap. Misses the next short ball, then gets a low full toss and powers it down the ground for six! Final ball, another short one, another attempt to scramle the single, and this time White is backing up well enough to make it down to the striker’s end, but Woakes goes by hand this time, picks up the ball, spins, and throws down the non-striker’s stumps to run out Tye. A fitting end for a struggling innings.
WICKET! Starc c Roy b Woakes 3
No mistake this time. Same ball, same shot, difference side of the ground in the shade, and Roy hangs on.
49th over: Australia 261-7 (White 14, Starc 3) White nails a pull shot, but straight to the man in the deep. Starc can only find singles as well. Finally Starc tries to launch a length ball from Wood, it goes straight to Root at deep midwicket, but he’s in bad position and drops the catch. Doesn’t really amtter, you wouldn’t think, aside from the bowler’s figures. Root was looking straight into the sun. Saves the four, though.
48th over: Australia 255-6 (White 11, Starc 0) Three overs left. Australia need about 20 from each of them. Woakes is bowling, and Carey can only jab a single to midwicket. White comes across to the off side, trying a pick-up shot, but misses. Doing the right thing moving, but can’t connect. Then backs away to leg, but Woakes goes wide of off, and there’s no connection. Then the fateful jab to leg, Carey takes off for the run, and Woakes is fleeter by foot. Starc can’t score from the last two balls. One run from the over.
WICKET! Carey run out 27 (Woakes)
Goooooooolazooooo! Golazo! Qué patada increíble. Woakes with the shot and it’s in the top corner. He tied down Cameron White, the batsmen scrambled or a single from a back-foot defensive shot, Woakes took the kick in his follow through, and hit the stumps from short midwicket before Carey could get home. Terrific skills.
47th over: Australia 254-6 (White 11, Carey 26) No one can time it on this pitch. Carey and White both get short balls from Wood, but both are dragged away for singles rather than punted into the stands. Slow-ball bouncer from Wood beats Carey entirely,as the bowler takes a tumble. Carey charges the last and slogs, but deep midwicket is there. Six from the over, after White started with a brace to cover.
46th over: Australia 248-6 (White 7, Carey 24) White goes the reverse again, but England know their man and have a short third in place. Only a single. Carey drops to one knee and pounds Rashid out through deep mid for four! Lovely shot, good attack and it split the gap perfectly. Got to go, so Carey motors for the single to point next ball. White awaits, charges the ball, but can only find cover. Another dot. Then a single to long-off. Needs to set sail. Carey does! Down on one knee again, this time over cover for four! Rashid gave that more width, fearing his leg-side play, but Carey has all the options.
45th over: Australia 237-6 (White 5, Carey 15) Mark Wood back on, staying back of a length. Carey blocks one, then punches a run to cover. White gloves a run to third man. England are right on top here – four singles from the over, 30 balls to go, and it’s gonna take an explosion for Australia to get a competitive score.
44th over: Australia 233-6 (White 3, Carey 13) That’s more like it, Alex Carey! Smacks the sweep shot square for four, then goes with more nuance fine on the same shot for four more. Takes a single, and Cam White nearly nails the reverse for four, but Buttler gets a boot one it and keeps it to one. Rashid adds a wide that Carey has the presence of mind to watch go by, then adds a single, and it’s another costly Rashid over, this time worth 12.
43rd over: Australia 221-6 (White 2, Carey 3) Ok, Carey is going to make me look silly. Defends, miscues, finds the field, defends. Plunkett can’t believe he’s bowled the 43rd over of an ODI, and had it cost a single and a wide. Looking grim for Australia.
“What is it about 50-over cricket that seems to bring out the ‘failings’ of Australian batsman? There seems to be a more vulnerable side to them that isn’t on display in the Tests. Or is it the varied use of the England bowling attack?”
Australia hasn’t produced a lot of players in recent times who can score from just about any delivery. And who can find the boundary whenever required. England has. Travis Head at his best is like that, but hasn’t been. Glenn Maxwell is like that, but isn’t playing. David Warner was like that, but has come down the gears, and ditto Steve Smith.
42nd over: Australia 219-6 (White 2, Carey 2) So, Alex Carey from South Australia prepares to face his debutant ball. Always a nerve-wracking occasion. Luckily he’s worn the right outfit. One-day cap 223, and 15 List A games to his name beforee today. The left-hander punches a run first ball behind point. Can be super destructive, and eight overs can be enough. He made a hundred in 17 overs for the Adelaide Strikers the other night. Again, only three from this over.
WICKET! Stoinis c Buttler b Rashid 4
Lovely ball from Rashid. Flight, turn, and as Stoinis lunges forward it takes the outside edge through to the keeper. A big threat defused.
41st over: Australia 216-5 (Stoinis 4, White 1) So, tough ask for Cameron White. Three years out of the side, bumped down the order today, then asked to come in with 10 overs left and make a difference. England swarming here, ten overs left and just past 200 on the board, with two new men at the crease. Even 300 could be tough from here. White has to not panic and play himself in. There’s a touch of panic as he gets off the mark though, a real Morse Code run: dot, dot, dash. Stoinis is slow to respond and would have been in strife with a better throw, but makes his ground. Two singles and a wide from the over.
WICKET! Finch c Roy b Plunkett 106
A wicket is next. Just as they fell back to back in Melbourne, so do Marsh and Finch fall here. His weak spot, Finch, the lofted smear to mid-on or mid-off. This one goes to the former, a big drive at easily catchable height, and again Finch makes three fingers but can’t go big beyond it.
40th over: Australia 213-4 (Finch 106, Stoinis 3) The big-hitting Stoinis to the crease. What’s next?
WICKET! Marsh st Buttler b Rashid 36
Marsh charges, misses, and it’s simple. He doesn’t even try to get back. Although maybe he could have if he had dived, because Jos Buttler missed the bails on his first swipe. Had to knock them off with a second attempt. Buttler was only being so casual because Marsh was stranded, but maybe if the batsman had really scrambled… anyway, he’s gone.
39th over: Australia 208-3 (Finch 104, Marsh 36) Finch wants to go here, looking for the big shots, but Plunkett is defeating him nicely, mixing up pace and width so Finch can’t time the ball away. Gets a couple, then one, and Marsh is trying a spine-contorting pull shot that he drags over midwicket for four. You know when they describe strokeplay as effortless? That was the opposite.
Century! Aaron Finch 100 from 104 balls
38th over: Australia 200-3 (Finch 101, Marsh 32) Rashid makes Finch wait, finding the field twice to start the over, but from the third ball Finch squeezes it out through square leg, runs the first hard, and belts back for the second run at full stretch. Celebrates in understated fashion. Back to back hundreds to Aaron Finch, and his 10th career ODI ton. That takes him level with another barrel-chested opener, Matthew Hayden, and leaves only four Australian batsmen ahead of him on the centuries list: Warner, Gilchrist, Mark Waugh, and Ponting. Not bad company.
37th over: Australia 195-3 (Finch 98, Marsh 30) Marsh gives it the full Sharapova again, but again can’t enhance his performance enough to find the boundary with his pull shot against Woakes. Two runs and a leg bye! In the 37th over. Very shortly, something has got to give.
36th over: Australia 192-3 (Finch 97, Marsh 29) Rashid to Finch. A couple of singles, then the Australian opener is down on one knee, slamming the sweep shot through backward square for four! Two men in the deep there, and neither could stop it. He’s a boundary away from another century, and keeps the strike with a late single.
35th over: Australia 185-3 (Finch 91, Marsh 28) Woakes to continue after drinks, to Finch and Marsh. Singles, then Marsh is beaten on the outside edge, looking for a big drive. Then a block. The ball rolls back a bit, and Marsh blocks it with his bat again towards the bowler, then jokingly mimes at picking it up. Woakes feigns an appeal to the square leg umpire. An impromptu parody of the Under 19 World Cup, with that dismissal for obstructing the field that people have bee talking about this week. Four from the over.
34th over: Australia 181-3 (Finch 89, Marsh 26) Ah, here we go. Adil Rashid is back in the attack. He’s been swung around to the Stanley Street End, Michael Clarke noting on the telly that the boundaries are a bit bigger from this end, affording him some more protection. Went for a couple of sixes in his abortive first spell earlier. Lands a couple alright here, and gets away with a low full toss punched for a single. Rashid half saves a brutal drive that goes back through his legs from Marsh, and just takes enough heat off it to stop it going for four down the ground, as long-off comes around. Seven from the over in ones and twos. Drinks.
33rd over: Australia 174-3 (Finch 86, Marsh 22) Just can’t get going against Woakes. Slower ball bouncers, a wide, a couple of singles, and when Marsh tries a big pull shot he lets out an Australian Open grunt of effort, but still can’t time it and only drags a run to the deep. Three singles and the wide from the over.
32nd over: Australia 170-3 (Finch 85, Marsh 20) Root with another good over, three singles from it. England have used three spinners today, Australia don’t have a specialist spinner. And they have to start lifting this run rate, hoving around 5.3.
31st over: Australia 167-3 (Finch 84, Marsh 18) Wood continuing at the body, but this time the Australians have his measure, Finch glancing a couple, Marsh glancing three when he gets on strike. Six runs from the over.
30th over: Australia 161-3 (Finch 81, Marsh 15) He’s playing the spinners well now, Finch. Backs away again, gives himself the width, and carves Root through point for another four. That wasn’t even that short, and would have clean bowled him had he missed. high stakes stuff, but Finch has his eye in now, and the chance of another hundred on the cards. Seven from the over with some singles. 20 overs to go. Run rate near 5.5.
29th over: Australia 154-3 (Finch 75, Marsh 14) Macbeth, ye shall be king till Mark Wood shall come to Dunsinane. Here he comes, and its’ so nearly a good over, pinning both batsmen down with sharp stuff at the body. But the last ball slips too short, and Marsh pounds away the pull for four as Wood curses.
28th over: Australia 149-3 (Finch 74, Marsh 10) Mitch Marsh working the singles alright, which hasn’t traditionally been part of his game. He also takes advatnage of a Root short ball to slap it through point for four. Another eight-run over. They’ll need plenty of those.
“So, erm, did Steve Smith just miss one on his pads?” asks Sam on email. “That’s weird. Is Lucifer also putting his coat and gloves on? What a strange thing to happen.” It did happen. The ball turned a bit.
I wonder how Australia’s no-spinner policy will look by about 9pm tonight.
27th over: Australia 141-3 (Finch 72, Marsh 4) Single, single, then Moeen bowls a touch short and Finch is back away, crouching, and powering this through point for four. Savage cut-slash-drive-whateveryoulike. A couple more singles, and eight from the over will please Australia.
26th over: Australia 133-3 (Finch 66, Marsh 2) Root keeps on turning the screws. Even when the ball slips and he bowls a beamer, he sends down the free hit slower, and gets bite as it lands. Mitch Marsh aims an unholy hoick at it over midwicket, and gets nothing, hit on the body. Four from the seven-ball over including the penalty run.
“At the risk of sounding really silly if this match goes pear shaped, this is almost too easy at the moment. An expert white ball team slowly but surely outplaying a behind-the-times side. As a long suffering England fan , I say, enjoy the good times while they last.” That’s all that one can do in life, Sachin Paul.
25th over: Australia 129-3 (Finch 64, Marsh 1) So nearly a run out! Moeen to Finch, flicks the ball square and wants the second run. Finch knows that he’s pretty brisk, but the ball goes to the non-striker’s end, and Marsh is a much more ponderous runner. Nor does Marsh essay the dive, which might have gained him precious ground. But it’s the classic split-screen scenario: in one frame, Marsh is out and the bails are on. In the next, the wicket is broken and the bat is in. So he has to be not out, and so the third umpire rules. Three singles follow.
24th over: Australia 124-3 (Finch 60, Marsh 0) Mitchell Marsh promoted, which is interesting. Cam White can hit big and can bat long with the rest of them, and Marsh isn’t usually the fastest starter. So whether they want stability or to lift the run rate, I can’t see the value of the change from the pre-game team sheet. We shall see.
WICKET! Head c&b Root 7
Well, he never looked comfortable in this innings, and it ends uncomfortably. Cramped for room as Root targets his body, bit of a nothing push at the ball, and lobs it back to the bowler. Root is on fire, 2 for 9 in his third over.
23rd over: Australia 119-2 (Finch 55, Head 7) Plunkett carrying on, and Head gets a couple of twos by working them through midwicket. But he keeps finding the field from his other shots, and he’s sputtering on 7 from 17.
22nd over: Australia 115-2 (Finch 55, Head 3) Root to continue. Head nearly plays onto his stumps, a big drive into his back boot as he dropped into a crouch. Two singles from the over. England getting back on top.
21st over: Australia 113-2 (Finch 54, Head 2) England getting back on top, an over worth three runs from Plunkett, as Head gets off the mark by punching two through cover.
20th over: Australia 110-2 (Finch 53, Head 0) A lot rests with Finch now, with both Australia’s most senior players gone. The leadership duo and the most experienced in Warner and Smith. Travis Head to the crease. Root’s introduction to the bowling crease pays huge dividends.
WICKET! Smith lbw Root 18
Both reviews burned now! Smith tries to play round his front pad and work the ball to leg, Root gets some turn to strike his pad in line. The review always looked optimistic, but Smith asked Finch if it was turning enough to miss leg, and as Finch yo’d probably find it hard to tell your captain no. The review shows it hitting between middle and leg, though umpire’s call for height. It looked out live, if I were the non-striker.
Very bad review from England, half-century for Finch
19th over: Australia 108-1 (Finch 52, Smith 17) A shocker from England really. Ok, there were two noises as the ball missed Smith’s inside edge and hit both pads on the way through to the keeper. But England were so excited about the prospect of actually dismissing Smith that they were willing to go for anything. The ball clearly misses the inside edge on one reply, but we still go through the rigmarole of Hot Spot and Snicko and the rest just to reach the obvious conclusion. Australia’s pair work some singles and a two, and Finch raises his fifty from 51 balls.
18th over: Australia 102-1 (Finch 49, Smith 15) Better milking this over from Finch. He goes to the leg side repeatedly with the turn of Moeen Ali, for a couple of twos and then a one. Smith takes a single. These middle-over accumulations suit the captain.
17th over: Australia 96-1 (Finch 44, Smith 14) Finch is having a real stop-start day. Spends some time in the doldrums, then catches a leading breeze. He’s becalmed against Rashid in this over, four dot balls and then a single after Smith works a run first ball. The run rate is still only 5.65.
16th over: Australia 94-1 (Finch 43, Smith 13) Another corker from Moeen, three singles from it in the end. Another appeal for a catch down leg, but that ball just brushed Finch’s pad, which saved the bowler from conceding a wide.
15th over: Australia 91-1 (Finch 42, Smith 11) Adil Rashid goes for his second six in seven balls. This time it’s Smith, advancing as he loves to do, and lofting this ball straight. The field was up there, but long-on immediately is dropped back, and Smith contentedly takes the single to that position. Big appeal next as Rashid’s googly comes back and beats Finch, but might have been just missing leg stump, and HawkEye has it as umpire’s call. England don’t review. A couple of singles follow.
14th over: Australia 82-1 (Finch 41, Smith 3) Fire and ice. Moeen drills down another accurate over of off-breaks, conceding three singles.
13th over: Australia 79-1 (Finch 40, Smith 1) Adil Rashid on, and nearly bowls Finch round his legs! Smith takes a single first ball of the over, then Finch spars at one down leg side, it beats his pad and turns back enough to hit the keeper but not leg stump. Wide, but nearly a wicket. Is Finch rattled? Um, no, as Rashid overpitches and Finch takes the ACE line alllll the way downtown. That was Harlem to the Staten Island ferry, the ball was still going up as it crossed the rope, I reckon, and it hit the second tier of the Gabba grandstand before bouncing back into the first. What a strike. Finishes off the over with another two through square.
12th over: Australia 69-1 (Finch 32, Smith 0) A couple of singles and a brace from the Moeen over before Warner’s wicket. Steve Smith to the crease, a player who has been astronomical in Tests but so far only very good in ODIs. There’s no question that Virat Kohli is miles ahead of him (and anyone else) in this discipline. Can he continue the Summer of Smith today? Not immediately, with a leg bye keeping him on nought.
WICKET! Warner c Root b Moeen 35
Lovely bowling from Mo! He’s speared a few balls in at Warner, then this one he tosses up and rips. Warner hasn’t adjusted, and is playing from the crease, only prodding at that delivery as it comes down. Morgan has been adventurous enough to install a slip, and the outside edge comes directly to Root in that position. Fine play from England, and the first strike.
11th over: Australia 64-0 (Warner 32, Finch 31) Finch to Plunkett, and just clears mid-on. Woakes was standing just inside the fielding circle, and Finch’s attempt at the lofted drive became more of a drag. It cleared the fingertips and away for four.
10th over: Australia 56-0 (Warner 30, Finch 26) Moeen Ali on his way for his first over. Does well, ties down Finch for a few balls, and in the end gives up only a couple of singles. Good start.
“Geoff, from an Aussie to all your English readers, who are so excited by England’s ODI performance, I say only this: Four – Nil. To quote Metallica – Nothing Else Matters.” Well, John Phaceas, I would say the World Cup matters, and this contest is a key part of both teams’ preparation.
9th over: Australia 54-0 (Warner 29, Finch 25) Plunkett for his first over. A single for Finch behind square, then Warner steals two very cheeky runs. Expert cat burglar level there, as Finch came out of his crease, the throw hit the non-striker’s stumps, then ricocheted into a gap at midwicket for the left-hander. Warner was alive not just to the chance of an overthrow, but got back legs pumping for the second. Gets off strike next ball, Finch glances a four, then a single. The 50 partnership is up.
8th over: Australia 45-0 (Warner 26, Finch 19) Finally another boundary for Finch, who was tied down last over, as Woakes gives him a short enough length and Finch can help the pull shot on its way. Woakes comes back well though, keeping Finch to a single, before Warner finds the field three times in a row.
7th over: Australia 40-0 (Warner 26, Finch 14) Mark Wood really pulling things back here. Makes Finch defend once… twice… three times! Finally Finch gets a single. Warner says, none of this, we need runs. So he plonks his front foot down and drills a length ball back down the ground for four! Wood predictably goes shorter, and Warner goes back on his stumps and pulls four more. A great over becomes a poor one in the blink of an eye.
6th over: Australia 31-0 (Warner 18, Finch 13) Spectators wearing replica baggy greens, get in the sea. Finch runs a single to fine leg, Warner gets a full ball and utterly pounds Woakes down the ground. That shot made a rifle crack, dead straight down the pitch. Woakes dials his length back and Warner can only stab a dot ball back to close the over. So this pair hitting some nice shots, but Australia hasn’t yet got away. Five an over with the field restrictions in place.
5th over: Australia 26-0 (Warner 14, Finch 12) Now it’s Finch’s turn to tip and run a single. Punches to mid-on and a quarter of a chance for him to be run out, but the throw goes to the striker’s end instead. If you’re keeping an eye on the Australian Open in Melbourne, where it’s 39.7 degrees with a max of 42 coming, the good news is it’s not so pad in Brisbane. Just over 30 now, with a high of 32. So, plenty hot, but not as ridiculous for elite sport. Warner punches off the back foor through point, splits the field there, and though Jason Roy puts in a great chase and dive, the back of his hand has touched the rope as he flicks the ball back, so four runs are awarded after all.
4th over: Australia 21-0 (Warner 10, Finch 11) Ooof, Warner skews a single away in the air but gets a run behind point. Finch is settling in for the long haul, is the indication, as he leaves and defends a few balls from Woakes. Happy to wait for the ones that suit him, and when he plays like that, Finch tends to make hundreds. Just saying. Only two from the over, good comeback.
3rd over: Australia 19-0 (Warner 9, Finch 10) Wood to Warner, still banging away toward the left-hander’s hip, and Warner is able to swivel-pull a couple of runs, then glance a single. Another short ball for Finch, it’s a better one, but he absolutely creams that for four! It was airborne and on slow-mo looked a chance for Hales at midwicket, but Finch hit the ball so hard that it was past Hales before he even had time to put his hand up. Nowhere near it in the end, and Hot Spot shows that coming perfectly out of the exact middle of the sweet spot. Impressive. Tops off the over with another two through square leg.
“You can say the Aussie team looks ‘bits and pieces’ but let’s face it Geoff, you must have that feeling in your tummy like all English fans that this false hope of a English resurrection is about to be dashed.” As a lifelong Australian and an impartial observer of cricket, Neil Brandom, it is my melancholy duty to inform you that your thesis is awry.
2nd over: Australia 10-0 (Warner 6, Finch 4) Chris Woakes to open the bowling from the other end, and also starts with a dot as Warner bunts one off his thigh. A beauty next ball rips past the outside edge as Warner prods uncertainly. Good lift and nice carry with the new shiny white pill. Woakes has the bartender’s towel hanging out of his trousers, and serves up another that sears past Warner’s back-foot prod. Woakes just laughs. Warner stabs to mid-on and bolts with the shot, and this time Finch responds. He’s glad he did, as he gets a nice friendly short ball and pounds it to the midwicket fence. Thanks for that. Good contest so far.
1st over: Australia 5-0 (Warner 5, Finch 0) Heeeere we go. The gold-clad duo make their way to the middle. The sun shines bright on the Gabba. Mark Wood is ready with his 100-metre sprint take-off. Warner blocks the first ball, but the second is fast and short. His shot is a bit more reflex than planned, but he gets enough on the hook to lift it over square leg and away for four. Fielding restrictions in place, so swing and swing hard. Almost a run-out on the next ball, as Warner punches to cover and hares off, but Finch sends him back. Could have been trouble if he’d made it another yard down the pitch. Finally pinches a single to point, and Finch is hit on the thigh pad from the last ball.
“In Brisbane!” writes an excited Alex Coe. “But sadly about to disappear into meetings all day. Without even a phone to surreptitiously check the scores. It would great if Aus could be bowled out for, say, 73 by the time I get clear. Could you arrange?”
Let me fire up the chair. Kevin Pietersen is giving batting demos in the middle, as his complex relationship with Brisbane continues to evolve.
“I’m following England play from work in Bangkok,” emails Simon Nazer. “Unfortunately, my boss is Australian. I’ve had months of running commentaries from him about England’s continual Ashes failure – including email updates when I’ve been out of the country. May I kindly ask for another trouncing ODI win today and a reminder to Chris that England can play cricket sometimes? Thanks Geoff.”
I’ll exercise every option within my power, from the chair in my living room. It’s a very powerful chair.
Australia win the toss and will bat
Steve Smith calls correctly. And there’s an update to the expected team listed below, which has been revised, but if you haven’t refreshed your page – Cameron White is in, and Adam Zampa is out.
Talk to me
As ever, the OBO needs you. Your thoughts, hopes fears, desires. Get me on Twitter @GeoffLemonSport, or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
No spinner! This is interesting. Australia relying heavily on the two seaming all-rounders, will go in with Cameron White in the top order, and Carey batting down at eight. So a long batting line-up, but a lot of seam-up bowling. Pat Cummins was already due for a rest before Hazlewood got sick, so Jhye Richardson is in to join his Perth Scorchers teammate AJ Tye, and it’s an inexperienced specialist trio for Australia. Not too sure about this combo, it all looks kind of bits-and-pieces.
Unchanged for England.
A lot of the intrigue for Australia is about team line-ups. Glenn Maxwell isn’t in the squad. Cameron White is, but couldn’t get a game the first time round due to the preference for Travis Head, Mitchell Marsh and Marcus Stoinis in a middle order packed with all-rounders. Where’s ya bowling, Cam? Josh Hazlewood is sick with a virus, and won’t play. Tim Paine is sick too, so South Australia keeper Alex Carey gets his first Australian cap in any format. He’s fresh off a hundred in the Big Bash a couple of days ago, so he’ll be confident. Steve Smith and David Warner have been sick as well, but will apparently play lacking any reports otherwise. Of course we’ll fill you in soon…
England will likely go unchanged after a barnstorming win at the MCG, chasing down 304 with overs and wickets aplenty to spare.
Hello, halo, halloa, aloha. You know what’s better than the first One-Day International? The second One-Day International. Because now, in Brisbane, the plot lines are in motion, the narratives are forming, and it’s up to the players on the field to confirm them or divert them somewhere crazy and new. England is probably the best ODI team in the world at the moment, though India would make that a close contest. Australia is neither of those, and has been rusty for a couple of years despite often featuring a star-studded team sheet. These games are important, because Australia doesn’t play a ton of one-day cricket before the World Cup which is now only a year and a few months away, mid-2019 in England. So this series is a proper hit-out against a quality team, and a chance for certain players to stake their claims or be cast aside.
Geoff will be here shortly. Here’s some team news to catch up on in the meantime:
guardian.co.uk © Guardian News & Media Limited 2010