Tuesday, September 8, 11pm AEST, Old Trafford, Watch on Gem
ODI 1: Australia won by 59 runs
ODI 2: Australia won by 64 runs
DESPITE getting comprehensively whacked by the English in the Ashes, the Aussies ($1.63 with Sportsbet) have their cricket back on track in the short form of the game, storming to a 2-0 lead, with a chance to wrap up the five match series at Old Trafford tomorrow night.
The Poms ($2.23 with CrownBet.com) are still seething from an incident in the second ODI, after New Zealand-born English all rounder Ben Stokes was controversially given out for obstructing the field.
Stokes appeared to deliberately get in the way of a ball thrown at the stumps by seamer Mitchell Starc and was duly given out by the third umpire.
It was the first time in one day international history a player had been given out in this fashion and prompted outcry in the English press – and from Irish-born Pommy captain Eoin Morgan
The dismissal, which occurred during Australia’s cruisy 64 run win at Lords on Saturday, left Morgan seething, the captain saying he would have withdrawn his appeal if the English were fielding.
“You don’t have time to think,” Morgan said.
“It was a natural reaction to avoid the ball.
“Mitchell Starc was about five yards away from Ben Stokes.
“The decision was made.
“My interpretation of it was that his reaction wasn’t deliberate.
“I feel that the ball was thrown so fast that you can only react in a way that defends yourself and he put his hand up to protect himself and followed the ball.
“Certainly I think it would have been a lot different if we were fielding.
Morgan says Stokes was acting in self defence – something Law 37 allows for if obstructing the field is necessary to preserve player safety.
But Australian captain Steve Smith says he was never going to withdraw the appeal.
“I was just saying he was out of his ground and he put his hand in the way of the stumps,” Smith said.
“I put it into perspective I guess, I said ‘it’s the same as me coming back for a two and turning around and putting my hand out.’
“It just looked worse because it went back to the bowler and it all happened so quickly.
“I think that’s the same thing.
“I think if you look at it, from what I saw, the ball was going towards the stumps and it wasn’t even going to hit him.
“He’s put his hand out to stop the ball.”
The dismissal occurred at 4/141 in the 26th over, with the Poms chasing a hefty 310 to win after early rain had reduced each innings by an over.
The Aussies enjoyed a sterling performance from the middle order, led, once again, by Smith, who rattled off 70 from 87 balls.
George Bailey tapped 54 from 72, Glenn Maxwell a typically lightning quick 49 off 38 pills and Shane Watson, who has just retired from Test cricket, hit a run a ball 39.
But it was the power hitting of Mitch Marsh that has people raving.
The all rounder brought out the long stick, smashing the Poms all over the park in scoring 64 off 31 balls, the innings featuring seven boundaries and three brutal sixes, helping inflate the total.
Stokes was the best of the English bowlers with 3/60 off his nine, while Steve Finn bagged 2/55, while Moeen Ali’s spin copped plenty of stick, his 1/68 off eight overs coming at 8.5 runs per.
In reply, it was always going to be a tough chase, but the English started brightly, with Jason Roy (31 off 32) and Alex Hales (18 off 20) looking good early.
James Taylor also went nicely, reeling off a slowish 43 off 47, but it was Morgan who held the keys for the Poms.
His 85 off 87 balls underlined how talented he is, a knock which featured four fours and four sixes.
But, once Stokes was dismissed for 10, the English really struggled to hold up the other end, only Liam Plunkett, with a flourishing 24 off 12 balls, provided any further resistance. No one else reached double figures for England.
Pat Cummins was the man with the rock for Australia, snaring 4/56, including the vital wicket of Morgan, while Maxwell backed up his lusty batting with 2/44.
Devastating for the Australians was an injury to swashbuckling opener David Warner, who had to retire on one after copping one on the thumb, leaving him with a fracture that has ended his tour – and put him in jeopardy for the upcoming series against Bangladesh.
The Aussies, though, have plenty of top order fire power to draw upon, with Twenty 20 captain Aaron Finch called in to the squad to replace the gun opener, who has flown home.
Warner is expected to miss four to six weeks with the injury, courtesy of a brutish delivery from Finn.
To compound injury woes, Watson suffered a calf injury and has flown home for the summer and versatile fast bowling all rounder Nathan Coulter-Nile has done his hammy. He too is on the plane back to Australia.
There will be at least three new faces in the Aussies side, and the English will make at least one change as well, with wicket keeper batsman Jos Buttler – who made a duck – rested for the rest of the summer. Jonny Bairstow has the call up to cover his omission from the squad.
England: Eoin Morgan (captain), Moeen Ali, Jonny Bairstow (wicket keeper), Sam Billings, Steven Finn, Alex Hales, Liam Plunkett, Adil Rashid, Jason Roy, Ben Stokes, James Taylor, David Willey, Chris Woakes, Mark Wood
Australia: Steve Smith (captain), Ashton Agar, George Bailey, Joe Burns, Patrick Cummins, Aaron Finch, Peter Handscomb, John Hastings, Mitchell Marsh, Glenn Maxwell, James Pattinson, Mitchell Starc, Marcus Stoinis, Matthew Wade (wicket keeper)
Match result: England wins ($2.23 with CrownBet.com)
Team for most sixes: England ($2.10 with Sportsbet.com)
It appears England are quite good at Test cricket, but not so much this one day stuff. The Poms can’t get an early wicket to save themselves. Unbelievably, in their last seven one dayers against Australia and New Zealand, there has only been one game where they’ve taken more than two wickets inside the first 25 overs. Something’s got to give and we’re going to back them to turn it around against an unsettled Aussie line up. We like their openers too. Hales smashes it and JJ Roy has plenty of pluck. While we think Finch will fit seamlessly into the opening slot vacated by the injured Warner, we reckon the kid Joe Burns is due for a failure, so we’re going to go with the English pair to set a solid opening platform against what is a fearsome Australian bowling line up. Call us crazy, but, given the upheaval the Aussies have had to endure thanks to a trio of injuries to key players, we reckon the Poms can make a series out of this by pinching game three and keeping their faint hopes alive.
Top run scorer tips
Bit of a left field pick, considering the fact he only averages a tick over 18 in one day internationals, but we know that he is scorned by the decision by the Australians to appeal against him for obstructing the ball and we think that might just spur him into action. That average is flat out woeful for a player of his talent and really vindicates the English infamously leaving him out of that disappointing World Cup squad. It’s time to turn it around, Benny Boy, and we reckon he has the ability and the temperament to do tp score in this one, despite the looming figure of his uber talented captain Morgan.
Finch will probably think he was stiff not to be included in the initial squad for the tour of England, but his body just wasn’t quite ready after struggling with injury since the World Cup. Now fully fit, he will be jumping out of his skin to show his worth. Finch is a like for like replacement for the injured Warner at the top of the innings. While he’s not quite the slayer Warner is, he certainly has a barrage of shots that can rip a game away from his opposition inside 10 overs. If he gets going, the ground won’t be big enough. Having played his recent cricket with County side Yorkshire, Finch will have the intricate local knowledge his team mates have honed over the past two months, making him a tough proposition for the English seamers. Finch has six one day international hundreds to his name and we reckon he’s a massive chance to hammer home Australia’s one day dominance with a huge return to the international stage.
Top wicket taker tips
Steven Finn with ($4.33 with sportsbet.com.au)
We can’t decide whether we like or hate this guy, but one thing we do know is that on his day he is capable of tearing a batting line up apart. Has plenty of height, which helps him extract prodigious bounce, even out of the most tame deck. Doesn’t necessarily have the grunt often required to be a genuine fast bowler and has sometimes been on the outer of the English line up, but we think his spot should be secure after busting up Warner, nabbing the wickets of Burns and Maxwell in game two and bowled with decent economy in game one.
Pat Cummins ($3.75 with sportsbet.com.au)
We’ve said we love this bloke before and his effort to bag four wickets in the victory at Lord’s only enhances that admiration. This kid could be anything. Is all hustle and bustle when he hits the wicket and he sends down absolute rockets. His ability o produce gaudy wicket taking efforts makes him vital to this Australian line up. Loves a big bag and already has six wickets in this series. If he doesn’t get rested, which the Australians probably won’t do now that that Coulter-Nile has been sent home with injury, he is a prime candidate to take the most wickets. Doesn’t get the new rock at the moment, but that really doesn’t seam to matter. He’s grabbing the rock whenever its available and making the most of his opportunity to impress fans and the selectors alike, after a wretched tun with injury had curtailed his career.
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