England v Australia, 2nd ODI, Cardiff June 24, 2010

A retreating fielder and a record-breaking batsman

Bowler of the day
Stuart Broad missed out on cheap wickets against Bangladesh last month after being sent on a "strength and conditioning" programme by the ECB, which is a fancy way of saying he was dispatched to the gym. All those hours of heavy weights paid dividends today, however, as Broad made a sluggish pitch look deceptively springy with a back-bending spell of 4 for 44 in ten overs. His natural aggression was allied to a splice-jangling length, and none of Australia's batsmen looked at ease as he ripped out three wickets in his first six overs. Tim Paine may have been strangled down the leg-side, but Ricky Ponting and Michael Clarke had no qualms about their dismissals, as Broad set the tone for another energetic England performance.

Self-preservation of the day
The use of a short leg is a rarity in one-day cricket. So rare, in fact, that when Luke Wright overstepped during a feisty spell from the River Taff End, he inadvertently highlighted an anomaly in the game's new Free Hit rules. Under the provisions of Law 24.2, no fielding changes are permissible ahead of a Free Hit delivery, but that prospect left Graeme Swann under the lid feeling distinctly uneasy. He assessed the likelihood of a scorching pull clattering into his ribs (high), divided it by the chances of taking a game-changing catch (non-existent), and after a brief consultation with captain and umpires, trotted off to the boundary's edge to sit out the delivery (which, as it happens, was toe-ended to point).

Non-catch of the day
The aforementioned Free Hit was doubly unfortunate for England, seeing as they would have picked up their fourth wicket in 20 overs had it not been for Wright's faulty footwork. On 3, Cameron White fenced outside off, and snicked a low chance towards Craig Kieswetter, who responded with instincts he usually reserves for off-stump half-volleys to stretch athletically and low to his right, and cling on one-handed to a screaming catch. Seeing as White went on to anchor Australia's innings with an unbeaten 86, it had the makings of a costly error.

Catch of the day
At the age of 35 and with 347 ODI appearances under his belt already, Ricky Ponting is what you might describe as long in the tooth. But on the evidence of the catch he produced to extract Kevin Pietersen, he's a long way from becoming a liability in the field. With the legspinner Steven Smith just entering the attack, Pietersen was predictably eager to mark his territory against the rookie, and a bludgeoned leg-side four was the start of his anticipated onslaught. Ponting, however, brought himself into the firing line at short midwicket, and from the very next delivery, he launched himself upwards and backwards to snatch a one-handed chance in his fingertips.

Landmark of the day
Paul Collingwood launched his ODI career back in the summer of 2001, and was part of an England team that lost six matches out of six to Australia and Pakistan. He would not have imagined back then that he would go on to become his country's most capped player in limited-overs cricket, let alone top the run-charts in that format as well. But, having overhauled Alec Stewart's total of 170 matches during the recent tour of South Africa, Collingwood today eased past his runs tally as well. The shot that got him there was a nondescript pull to fine leg off Clint McKay, as he moved his score for the day to 33, and for his career to 4678. By the end of the match, he was sitting pretty on 4693 and was 62nd on the all-time list.

Gamebreaker of the day
Compared to the heights that he reached at the Rose Bowl on Tuesday, Eoin Morgan produced a far from fluent performance, but in the final analysis, it did not matter. Australia improved their tactics against him, in particular by cutting out the driveable half-volleys, but the target was some 40 runs below par and there wasn't any need for him to go after the game with anything like the same gusto. While he and Collingwood were chiselling away the requirement in an 83-run stand for the fourth wicket, he reached the boundary just once in his first 52 balls. His eventual dismissal for 52 from 64 left the crowd agog in silence, but with the requirement already down to three an over, England's more-than-competent tail completed the job with room to spare.

Andrew Miller is UK editor of Cricinfo.

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Olly on June 25, 2010, 10:23 GMT

    @abhinavt: Thats largely due to the fact England's injury problems, selection inconsistency and so on over the years mean most English players have played far fewer ODIs than players from other countries - there are around 60 players who have played 200+ ODIs, and not one of them is English.

    Good to see England's improvement - while its true that the Aussies bowling looks pretty harmless at the moment due to injuries, its the restriction of their (full strength) batting lineup to below-par scores that has won both matches, which bodes well for the future.

  • Anthony on June 25, 2010, 9:58 GMT

    Setting targets and bowling second are our current weak points, I've 100% confidence in our batting line up to chase down any total, but very little confidence in our bowlers getting us a result. In that respect (and with a world cup around the corner) I'm happy to see the team putting themselves into these situations when winning the toss, even if the environment dictates they should bowl first. It might mean a few harsh lessons now, but being in the firing line is the quickest way for guys like McKay to learn. Hopefully we see the success of this strategy in India.

  • Dummy4 on June 25, 2010, 7:46 GMT

    This year, England has a good chance to win the Ashes. They really played well against Australia

  • Vivek on June 25, 2010, 4:43 GMT

    Regarding Swann sitting out for the free hit...Cricinfo: can you provide more insights into it...do we have more incidents like this in the past...??

  • SAQIB on June 25, 2010, 3:10 GMT

    England has improved a lot in these two years

  • Dummy4 on June 24, 2010, 22:59 GMT

    Not looking good for our boys, Ashes just around the corner and we have lost the WT20 and now are 2 down in this series against the Poms.

  • Abhinav on June 24, 2010, 22:46 GMT

    It was surprising to know that the top run getter in ODI for England is 62nd in all-time list! I wish Collingwood to bring his country further up in the list. Great overall performance from England and good to see that Aussies, after being enjoyed the top ODI seat for ages, are now being challenged hard.

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