Although the result didn’t go our way, it was still great to see some cricket again. The boys ended up falling 15 runs short of the target set by England. Having done really well in the warm-up matches, I wouldn’t see any reason to be concerned for the rest of the series. We missed a few opportunities and worst of all there was some misfortune with our batting in terms of dismissals. Nature of the game.
1st ODI scorecard via ESPN cricinfo.com
Australia: 9-257, Michael Clarke 61, David Warner 56.
England did a good job with their batting. Their openers set a solid foundation for the middle order, which Eoin Morgan used excellently as a platform to launch a brutal assault against our bowlers. He was directly responsible for their victory as he belted our bowlers during the last five overs of the innings. The result was 54 runs from the last 5 overs, which shifted the momentum right into England’s favour.
Brett Lee was our pick of the bowlers. What an awesome effort with the new ball. Tight figures and brilliant variation. It was a real pity he was also a part of the Morgan-attack but he certainly looks set for a good series.
Patrick Cummins showed loads of promise and whenever a youngster gets into the setup it all about learning. Look how James Pattinson’s already had some ups and downs in his career. Not necessarily low points but every now and then inexperience comes through but he’s a quick learner and is already the real deal. Patty is definitely on the same path.
Xavier Doherty struggled a bit but he had such a good summer that it would be daft to rule him out. Maybe he will be viewed as a Southern Hemisphere specialist but here’s his chance to take command. He is a bowler with a very good mind for cricket, so he’s rarely going to be unaware of what is to be expected from him. I have no doubt he will look back on this match and then come back stronger for the remainder of the series. We saw how effective Graeme Swann was to build pressure towards the end of his spell with a batch of dot balls.
The bowlers struggled in the heat of the action come the death overs, but we have Ben Hilfenhaus and Mitchell Johnson on the sidelines as well, so I hope we will see these two guys getting a chance. Hilfy was pretty good for the better part of the death bowling duties in the IPL for Chennai.
The batting came down to some misfortune. George Bailey had been working away at the singles to get himself into a good position with 29 runs until he chopped one onto his stumps. To make matters worse David Hussey misread the bounce of a short pitched delivery from Steven Finn and the ball deflected of his helmet on the top of his stumps.
Then the wrap it all up, Matthew Wade – who was just getting ready to go into entertainment mode deluxe – and Michael Clarke (61) had a terrible mix up which resulted in an unnecessary run out. Wade was the guy to walk and Clarkey was left with a big task on his shoulders. After Clarkey had played such a well composed innings and had himself in a brilliant position to start opening up the more attacking aspect of his game, the run out occurred. He also brought up his 7,000th ODI run.
It was frustrating but it was also good to see Matt Wade get out there, get settled and then play with confidence. He’s no longer viewing himself as the substitute for Brad Haddin with Tim Paine making a comeback. He’s now set on becoming Australia’s number one wicketkeeper.
Brett Lee managed to score 29 runs but England were too good for us in the end. I was hoping Binga would unleash the fury as he did against the West Indies to score his highest ODI total, but there were too few overs to play with.
I was also pleased to see David Warner play a well composed innings. His dismissal was so soft but his lack of footwork was to blame. Warner his 6 fours and 1 six and this is definitely form to gamble on that he’s in for a big series. There’s a bit more time to watch the ball come onto the bat in English conditions as well, so I really hope he can capitalise.
I still maintain my concerns about Steven Smith. As you saw in the Ashes series he was regularly troubled when he hung his bat outside of off-stump, just prodding at deliveries moving away from him. I hope he comes right this series because he is clearly in the side for his batting and not his bowling, given his lack of duties.
He came right in the IPL with some entertaining innings but he needs to step it up with competent players hanging about the fringes. I never like to single out a player but it just seems as though his role in the side is cloudy. Mitchell Marsh is looking like a young all-rounder due to make an entrance into the squad who could fill the void for Smith, but hopefully Stevo comes right this series. It’s only the first game.
England have a lot to play for. Should they find a way to win this series 5-0, then they will take the number one spot from us for the ODI rankings. However, we need to defend the title and with a really good mix of players it’s going to be an exciting series for both sides.
It wasn’t the desired result and it’s never easy to accept defeat against England in any form of the game, but they have brought their A-game and it should make for a hard fought and very entertaining series.
It’s 1-0 to England with four games to go. Some of our players have started off on the right foot so here’s to positivity for the next fixture.