A match winning century from James Taylor, complemented by a foolproof bowling performance, gave England the first win of the ongoing ODI series against Australia. A target of 300 proved to be well beyond the reach of the Australians, who ultimately went down by a margin of 93 runs. Aaron Finch’s half century and Matthew Wade’s counter-attacking 42 proved to be too little for the cause.
England bat first, James Taylor leads top order charge
The absence of runs from the middle order had resulted in the home team losing the first two ODIs on the trot, chasing similar targets. This time, however, after deciding to bat first, the English top order – led by James Taylor, Eoin Morgan and Jason Roy – made sure that the middle muddle could safely be negotiated. Roy started things off with a hurricane knock of 67 off just 45 balls. His opening partner Alex Hales, however, played an unusual innings (9 off 31) before being dismissed by Cummins in the 10th over. A 52 run opening stand had, however, given England enough mileage by then. James Taylor, who had been guilty of not converting useful starts in the last two matches, seized this opportunity.
Taylor was cautious during the time Roy was at the crease. He came into his own after Roy’s wicket fell on the last ball of the 15th over. Even though his innings was not punctuated by towering sixes or blazing fours, Taylor managed to add the runs to the English innings at a noteworthy pace. Skipper Eoin Morgan(62 off 56) was there to support him during a 119-run stand for the 3rd wicket. Thereafter, Ben Stokes and Jonny Bairstow got starts but could not help themselves any further. Moeen Ali failed with the bat once again. However, despite the middle order not contributing yet again, the English scoreboard continued to surge forward. And it was all due to the sheet anchor innings that James Taylor was playing at the other end. He was finally dismissed, in the 50th over, but by that time his team was in the vicinity of 300.
Australia lose wickets at regular intervals, end up way short of target
It wasn’t the happiest of starts for the Australians, who lost Joe Burns in the 7th over of the chase. Thereafter, Aaron Finch and Steven Smith promised to take the innings forward, and their 42-run stand for the 3rd wicket looked promising too. However, Smith was done in by a moment of brilliance from Steven Finn who pulled off an impossible catch at short midwicket. Finch managed to get to his half century, and at 106/2 in the 22nd over, the game looked good to go in either direction. But it was big wicket of Finch in that over itself that brought Australia’s hopes crashing down.
Now, halfway through the innings, they had no set batsman at the crease who could anchor the chase for a significant length of time. George Bailey, Mitchell Marsh and Glenn Maxwell were dismissed cheaply, and the ineffective partnerships in the middle order did not help Australia. Matthew Wade attempted a single-handed resurrection of the innings, but never found any support from the other end. The tail failed to wag, and Wade was the last wicket to fall at the score of 207.
England (300/8 in 50 overs, James Taylor 101(114), Pat Cummins 2/50) beat Australia (207 all out in 44 overs, Aaron Finch 53(60), Moeen Ali 3/32) by 93 runs
Man of the Match – James Taylor