From an Aaron Finch inspired run chase in the first game at the MCG to a Clint McKay and James Faulkner finishing overs bowling masterclass at the Adelaide Oval, Australia dominated the One Day Series to record a 4-1 win over a down and out England. With only an ODI series against Pakistan in the UAE in October and a proposed triangular series against India and England before the World Cup next year, the NSP (National Selection Panel) surely have settled on the bulk of their World Cup squad. Finch had the biggest question mark given his International career record in this format but has surely cemented his opening spot alongside Warner with a breakout series.
Shaun Marsh showed his class again and will compete for the number 3 slot with S.R.Watson. Neither’s fitness guarantee’s them a spot and both could be major contributors or totally left out. Clarke at 4 and Bailey at 5 are certainties. Maxwell has 6 at the moment, he is doing the job with bat and ball as well as being outstanding in the field. Haddin is a lock for keeper. Doherty does enough to be kept as the main spinner, despite Nathan Lyon’s impressive white ball form ever since his debut. Faulkner is arguably our best short form player now. McKay and Johnson are our pace spearheads, could Harris and Siddle be called up for an important event like a World Cup? Or will Coulter-Nile, Richardson or A.McDermott be favoured?
Australia successfully chasing down England’s 7/269 in Game 1 at the MCG for the loss of just 4 wickets kept the Ashes dominance going while also striking a huge ODI mental blow. An opening partnership of 163 between Finch and Warner confirmed the win early in the piece. Finch scored the first ton in an ODI at the MCG by a Victorian. If only he could hit a red ball as well as he hits a white one.
It was the second game at the Gabba that elevated Tasmanian James Faulkner to hero status. Faulkner had already scored a match-winning century in an ODI in India in October. But at 9/244 chasing an English total of 8/300, the young all-rounder belted an unbeaten 69 off 47 balls, including 3 fours and 5 sixes to lead his country to a 2-0 lead. Breathtaking to watch.
Game 3 at the SCG and Australia wrapped up the series with a comprehensive 7 wicket win. Warner and Marsh both made 71 as the home team chased down England’s 9/243 with ease. The 4th game saw England make 8/316 at the WACA and for the first (and only) time in the series this proved too much for Australia, who despite a second ton to Aaron Finch for the series (108 off 111 balls) were all out for 259. Australia batted first on Australia Day at the Adelaide Oval and could only muster 9/217, which should not have been enough. George Bailey top scoring with 56. England looked in total control as Joe Root and Eoin Morgan looked to be doing it easily in their 4th wicket partnership but their dismissals started a collapse that the Poms could not stop and perhaps typified their summer. All out for 212, Clint McKay (3/36) and James Faulkner (2/37) superb with the ball in the latter overs.
Australia look in good shape heading in the World Cup next February, but the lack of 50 over games is a concern. Our neighbours over the Tasman will rate themselves highly too, the Black Caps have just smashed India 3-0 (with a tie) after 4 games of their 5 game series in the Shaky Isles. New Zealand have some of the most exciting young players with both bat and ball on the planet and playing in home conditions they should go far into the tournament.
While the 10 full member nations automatically qualify and Ireland and Afghanistan confirmed their places last year, the last two spots in the 14 team World Cup were finalised today at the conclusion of the qualifying tournament being held in New Zealand. The United Arab Emirates and Scotland have made it through by virtue of finishing as the top two teams in the Super Six round. Neither team has been particulary strong in the second tier of 50 over cricket in recent years but have peaked at the right time. It will be Scotland’s 3rd World Cup after appearances at the 1999 and 2007 editions, while the UAE’s only previous appearance came in 1996, mainly notable for their captain (and only UAE local player) Sultan Zarawani facing South Africa’s Allan Donald with just a broad brimmed hat on. This was the result http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YomHBEA92gg
The Emirates have a few more local players these days added to their mix of sub-continental ex-pats. Hong Kong and a rapidly improving young Papua New Guinean team finished 3rd and 4th and as a result earn ODI status for the next four years. Kenya, who finished 5th (and were semi-finalists at the 2003 World Cup), the Netherlands and Canada are the big losers, losing their ODI status and much of their funding from the ICC.
Very good crowds and even better TV ratings for the Australia v England ODI series shows the format still has a role. TV executives still like a format that is played over 8 hours and can be loaded with commercial breaks. The relevance of most series is still a problem. The World Cup will be huge. Bring it on.
1st ODI at the MCG
England 7/269 (GS Ballance 79, EJG Morgan 50, CJ McKay 3/44) lost to
Australia 4/270 (AJ Finch 121, DA Warner 65)
2nd ODI at the ‘Gabba
England 8/300 (EJG Morgan 106, IR Bell 68, GJ Maxwell 2/31, NM Coulter-Nile 2/55) lost to
Australia 9/301 (JP Faulkner 69*, SE Marsh 55, GJ Maxwell 54)
3rd ODI at the SCG
England 9/243 (EJG Morgan 54, TT Bresnan 41*, NM Coulter-Nile 3/47, JP Faulkner 2/35) lost to
Australia 3/244 (DA Warner 71, SE Marsh 71)
4th ODI at the WACA
England 8/316 (JC Buttler 71, BA Stokes 70, JP Faulkner 4/67) def.
Australia 259 (AJ Finch 108, BA Stokes 4/38)
5th ODI at the Adelaide Oval
Australia 9/217 (GJ Bailey 56, SE Marsh 36, SCJ Broad 3/31, BA Stokes 3/43) def.
England 212 (JE Root 55, CJ McKay 3/36, JP Faulkner 2/37)
Australia win the series 4-1