Australia's bowlers simply too good

Stephen Lamb

January 23, 2003

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England were torn apart by Australia's excellent bowlers in the first final of the VB series in Sydney. On a lively pitch, the tourists were reduced to 117 from 41 overs, with only Paul Collingwood providing significant resistance. Appropriately Shane Warne found a beauty to dismiss Collingwood with the last ball of his spell in his final one-day international at the SCG.

The pace was set - in every sense - by Brett Lee, who reached speeds of 93 mph after Nasser Hussain won the toss and chose to bat. There was nothing Marcus Trescothick could do to avoid a sharply lifting ball that brushed his glove on the way through to Adam Gilchrist.

Another Lee lifter accounted for Nick Knight, who would have been run out earlier had Brad Hogg hit the stumps as Knight attempted a sharp single into the covers. Gilchrist took his second catch as Knight fended uncertainly to leg.

Hussain had scored just a single when an excellent in-swinger from Brad Williams induced an inside edge on to the England captain's stumps. Alec Stewart, after a positive start, was unfortunate to get the end of his bat on to a ball from Williams that looped up for another Gilchrist catch.

Michael Vaughan and Paul Collingwood began a rescue attempt before Vaughan, after driving both Lee and Williams to the rope, became the first of two quick wickets for Andy Bichel, adjudged lbw after being hit on the knee roll. Two balls later Ian Blackwell had gone for another duck, sparring outside the off stump for Ricky Ponting to pouch the catch at second slip.

Warne produced an absolute snorter to send back Collingwood, who had resisted stoutly for 43 when he came down the pitch and was left stranded by a sharply turning leg-spinner. Warne, who had announced his retirement from one-day internationals 24 hours earlier, received a rapturous reception from the SCG crowd as he finished his spell with an England scalp.

Ronnie Irani swung Lee to Bichel at mid-on before Jimmy Anderson and Matthew Hoggard provided Gilchrist with his fourth and fifth catches of the innings, both off Bichel, and England had been blown away by a bowling masterclass.

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