Believe it or not, Australia have just played England in a 5 match ODI series. And won. Not many people this side of the world noticed. And rightly so. I’ve banged on before about cricket scheduling and the need for more context in ODI’s and the need for them to be played before the Tests as an entrée. I won’t do that here, this turned out to be a very good series, albeit rain affected.
Only ODI, Scotland v Australia, Raeburn Place, Edinburgh
Australia 3/362 (SE Marsh 151, AJ Finch 148, SR Watson 37, I Wardlaw 2/69) def.
Scotland 162 (MW Machan 39, MG Johnson 4/36, JP Faulkner 2/32, Fawad Ahmed 1/39)
Yes this match had full ODI status. No TV coverage even on pay TV in Australia which was disappointing. Scotland struggle against teams like Ireland and the Netherlands so it was always going to be a battle against Australia. In the absence of an omitted David Warner, our new opening pair of Shaun Marsh and Aaron Finch put on a new Australian ODI opening partnership of 246, eclipsing the previous record set by Marsh’s old man Geoff and David Boon of 212 against India in Jaipur in 1986/87. No doubt Swampy and Boonie faced far superior bowling and drank many more cans after their effort 27 years ago. For Finch it was his first ODI ton, ending up with 148 off 114 balls including 16 fours and 7 sixes. Marsh made his highest ODI score of 151 off 151 balls, with 16 fours and 5 sixes. Despite the opposition, surely a good confidence boost for the new opening pair. In reply Scotland offered little resistance and were bowled out for just 162. Mitchell Johnson boosted his career wicket tally and maybe his confidence with 4/36 off 10 overs, while Fawad Ahmed took 1/39 off 10 overs on his One Day International debut.
1st ODI, England v Australia, Headingly, Leeds
Match Abandoned without a ball bowled
2nd ODI, England v Australia, Old Trafford, Manchester
Australia 7/315 (MJ Clarke 105, GJ Bailey 82, AJ Finch 45, SR Watson 38, WB Rankin 2/49, RS Bopara 2/57, ST Finn 2/68) def.
England 227 (JC Buttler 75, KP Pieterson 60, EJG Morgan 54, CJ McKay 3/47, MG Johnson 2/36)
Michael Clarke batting at his very best in this game, well supported by George Bailey, who after a slow start once again showed his ability to rapidly accelerate when well set. Finch looked set for another big score before a soft dismissal against the very innocuous off-spin of James Tredwell. The best of the “English” bowlers was Boyd Rankin, the tall right arm quick generating good pace and bounce in taking 2/49 off his 10 overs. Rankin played 37 ODI’s for his native Ireland, including their famous victory over England at Bangalore in the 2011 World Cup before deciding to throw his lot in with England in an attempt to play Test cricket. I will rant about what England and the ICC are doing to Irish cricket at another time. England made a positive move in opening with Pieterson who played a typical KP knock but received little top order support as McKay and Johnson bowled tightly and took regular wickets. England skipper Eoin Morgan, another Irish export nudged and flicked his way to 54 while wicket-keeper Jos Buttler was impressive with his 75 at number 7.Even more impressive when a Cricinfo search revealed he was born in Somerset. Australia 1-0 up.
3rd ODI, England v Australia, Edgbaston, Birmingham
England 3/59 (IJL Trott 28*, AC Voges 1/3, MG Johnson 1/20)
Match abandoned due to rain
4th ODI, England v Australia, Sophia Gardens, Cardiff
Australia 227 (GJ Bailey 87, MS Wade 36, AC Voges 30, JS Tredwell 3/53, WB Rankin 2/31, ST Finn 2/43) lost to
England 7/231 (JC Buttler 65*, MA Carberry 63, EJG Morgan 53, CJ McKay 4/39, NM Coulter-Nile 1/34)
This match started poorly for the visitors with Aaron Finch dismissed first ball of the game as the visitors then slumped to 4/57. A 5th wicket partnership of 67 between Bailey and Voges and a 6th wicket stand of 83 between Bailey and Wade helped post a respectable score. Bailey once again started slowly but increased the tempo as the situation demanded. He plays the Mike Hussey role well. Somehow James Tredwell took 3 wickets, Boyd Rankin again the best of the England bowlers with 2/31 off his 10 overs, well and truly putting his name up for the trip to Australia for the Ashes in a few months time. The Poms chase down Australia’s score but not before a collapse via a hat-trick to Clint McKay. And not a Brett Lee-dismissing-three-Kenyan- middle-order-batsmen type hat-trick as the Victorian claimed the scalps of Pieterson, Trott and Root, three very good players, though it must be said the pitch offered good movement for the seamers. West Australian Nathan Coulter-Nile was impressive on his ODI debut with 1/34 but it wasn’t enough as England squared the series 1-all with this 3 wicket win.
5th ODI, England v Australia, The Rose Bowl, Southampton
Australia 298 (SR Watson 143, MJ Clarke 75, BA Stokes 5/61, CJ Jordan 3/51, WB Rankin 1/26) def.
England 249 (RS Bopara 62, JC Buttler 42, JP Faulkner 3/38, MG Johnson 2/21, Fawad Ahmed 1/51)
For the second time in this English summer, Shane Watson gave us a fifth match of the series special. This time the series result was up for grabs. Watto batted beautifully on a flat pitch that he has batted on many times in his stints with Hampshire in the County Championship. Smashing the ball straight back down the ground and pulling anything slightly short. Clarke worked the ball around and played the perfect foil to his ‘mate’ in a match winning partnership. English debutant Chris Jordan was impressive and sharp with the ball. The 24 year old is another great prospect from that great English breeding ground of Barbados. Born and bred in that Carribean nation, at 18 Jordan went to Dulwich College in England on a cricket scholarship. After an unsuccessful stint with Surrey, Jordan returned home and represented his native Barbados in the West Indian First Class competition before being signed by Sussex. He immediately qualified for England due to taking plenty of wickets for Sussex and an English grandmother. Another win for what is increasingly becoming the World XI. But matters of qualification didn’t worry the Australians as they bowled out ‘England’ for 249 to record a 49 run win and a 2-1 series win. James Faulkner took 3/38 as he continues to show his bowling can adapt to any format of the game, while Mitch Johnson was super impressive with 2/21 off 10 overs. Fawad Ahmed took the final wicket but leaked runs.
Plenty of positives for our ODI team as we build for the 2015 World Cup. Bailey has established himself as a star one-day batsman, Clarke and Watson continue to do well in this form, Clint McKay is as good a one-day bowler as anyone in the world, Faulkner’s skill and competitiveness makes him a must for selection and Coulter-Nile shows promise. Marsh and Finch show signs but need to do more to shore up their spots, ditto for Voges whose left arm spin is very handy as Clarke’s bad back seemingly doesn’t allow him to bowl much anymore.
Next up for Australia is a one off Twenty20 International and 7 ODI’s in India against the hosts. Totally meaningless but no doubt hugely revenue raising. David Warner still hasn’t been picked, while Fawad Ahmed and Josh Hazelwood have been omitted. In the biggest change, Matthew Wade has been dumped as keeper with Brad Haddin being brought back into the ODI team. Shaun Marsh is out for the tour after injuring his hamstring (again) in the 4th ODI. He can’t afford to keep breaking down. Xavier Doherty and Moises Henriques return.
Australian Squad for October Indian Tour: Clarke (C), Bailey (VC), Finch, Hughes, Watson, Voges, Haddin, Maxwell, Henriques, Doherty, Faulkner, McKay, Johnson, Coulter-Nile.