England v Australia, NatWest series, Chester-le-Street July 7, 2012

England take series with clinical win

183

England 201 for 2 (Bell 69, Trott 64*) beat Australia 200 for 9 (Hussey 70, Clarke 43, Finn 4-37) by eight wickets
Scorecard and ball-by-ball details

With an ease that would have been quite unthinkable a few years ago, England cruised to victory over Australia in the fourth ODI in Durham, with 13 deliveries and eight wickets in hand. The result not only secured the five-match series with a game to spare but also completed England's ninth successive victory in completed one-dayers - a new record for them - and secured their seventh successive series win at home.

Steven Finn, with a devastating display of fast bowling, and Ian Bell, with an assured innings in testing conditions, were the main architects of England's victory, though Ravi Bopara, with another intelligent spell of bowling and another assured innings, and Jonathan Trott, with a typically calm innings of 64 not out also contributed. England will now consider resting players for the final game in Manchester on Tuesday, with a view to ensuring the freshness of key players for the forthcoming Test series against South Africa.

Australia might count themselves somewhat unfortunate. Not only did they lose two of their bowlers - Brett Lee and Shane Wason - to injury during the game, but by winning a disproportionately important toss, England's captain Alastair Cook forced Australia to bat in desperately testing conditions, which had eased a little by the time England began their reply. Mitchell Johnson was also forced out of the Australian team for the match with an ankle injury.

But Australia would be deluding themselves if they put this result down to poor fortune. They might reflect that some of their top-order batsmen were lacking in technique and discipline against the moving ball and that their bowlers lacked the control to exploit conditions that remained helpful. While this touring squad, already missing Michael Hussey and Pat Cummins and further weakened by the absence of Johnson, is not short of potential, it is hard to recall a weaker Australian team.

That Australia were able to set any sort of competitive total was largely due to a defiant half-century from David Hussey. Hussey made 70 from 73 balls to help his side recover from the perilous position of 96 for 6 in the 33rd over. With Brett Lee he added 70 in 13 overs for the seventh wicket, helping Australia take 71 from the final 10 overs of their innings. Against a high-class attack in such conditions, their final total of 200 was not so far under par as it might have appeared.

Finn, in particular, bowled beautifully and was twice on a hat-trick. The first occasion came in his third over - a double-wicket maiden - when he trapped David Warner and Peter Forrest leg before from successive deliveries. Warner, who laboured for 19 deliveries for his two runs, was defeated when he played horribly across a straight full delivery and umpire Nigel Llong's original 'not out' decision was over turned after England utilised the Decision Review System (DRS). Forest, tentative and half forward, was beaten for pace by one that came into the batsman just a fraction off the seam. Michael Clarke was beaten through the gate by the hat-trick delivery, but the ball bounced over the stumps. Australia were 6 for 2 in the sixth over and, by the end of their first Powerplay, had scored just 15 for 2. It was their lowest 10-over Powerplay score.

Later Finn defeated Clarke's forward push with one that nipped back, before next ball Matthew Wade was brilliantly caught by a diving Craig Kieswetter off the inside edge by one that cut back into him.

James Anderson, who delivered three maidens and, with the wicket of Lee, secured his 500th international wicket, also utilised the conditions well. But it was Finn, generating sharp pace, maintaining an immaculate line and length and finding sharp seam movement, who really shone. It was another highly impressive performance from a man who still cannot be assured of a place in England's Test team.

It might have been even better for England. Eoin Morgan, at point, squandered a relatively simple chance at point as Clarke, on 8, attempted to drive Tim Bresnan - Australia would have been 17 for 3 had the catch been taken - while replays showed that Clarke should have been given leg before on 28 when he played across a straight one from Stuart Broad. England had already utilised their one unsuccessful appeal to the DRS. Clarke was also dropped, a tough chance, on 31 at first slip by Anderson off Broad.

Hussey, too, enjoyed some fortune. He narrowly survived a strong leg before appeal before he had scored and was then dropped on 15, when Bopara spurned a tough caught and bowled chance. Bell also missed a tough chance running in from the extra cover boundary when Hussey had 29, also off the deserving Bopara.

That Australia were able to set any sort of competitive total was largely due to two decent partnerships. First Watson and Clarke added 51 in 13 overs for the third wicket, before Hussey and Lee added 70 in 13 overs for the seventh. Watson finally fell, playing on as he tried to run a delivery from off stump down to third man, and George Bailey was beaten by a beauty from Bopara that pitched middle and hit the top of off stump.

If Australia were going to claw their way back into the game, they needed to bowl well and take every half-chance. But, as it was, Hussey, at second slip, was unable to reach an edge from Bell, on 21 - the score was 36 without loss - off James Pattinson that flew for Four. Cook, playing his 50th ODI, was also reprieved on 13 when Clint McKay was unable to cling on to a tough caught and bowled chance.

Nor was the bowling as tight as it might have been. Pattinson started with a no-ball that was clipped off Bell's legs for four - a stroke that Bell repeated later in the over - while Cook produced two rasping square cuts for four as Lee's second over cost 12. Ben Hilfenhaus also donated a free-hit after over stepping and was punished for two fours in an over as he over-pitched to Bell and strayed on to Cook's legs.

Bell, making light of the awkward batting conditions, reached 50 from 72 balls with seven fours - most of them sweetly timed through cover or midwicket - to sustain his excellent run of form. Since returning to the side, Bell has scored 126, 53, 41, 75 and 69 (at an average of 72.80 and a strike-rate of 81.61) to revitalise a limited-overs career that, but for Kevin Pietersen's retirement, might have been over.

Trott and Bopara, unhurried and untroubled by a weakened attack, added 65 in 15 overs without breaking sweat to take England to victory.

George Dobell is a senior correspondent at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Meety on July 10, 2012, 10:37 GMT

    @CricketingStargazer - the way I read what you are saying is this - you can't judge a player by a couple of games (correct - at least IMO), but Oz look a shambles (which based on 3 games IMO is the opposite of the first part of your comment)! I would not be writing off a side based on 3 games, particularly as it has performed well in the format over the last 18mths. As far as Doherty is concerned there are several things to note 1) Doherty's overall E/R is 4.7, 2) His E/R against Eng is 4.7, 3) His E/R in 2 games this series is 5.1. Nothing in any of that suggests he has been "tucked into", particularly as Swann's E/R is 4.5 & is highly rated. As for MJ, you are classifying him as a weakness, yet he has a world class ODI career record (admit his test form IMO makes him lucky to be in our top 12 bowlers in Tests). Regarding Cummins, the kid is a massive talent & has achieved more than 99% of 19yo have done, however I agree 100% his career could go down (or up), too early to call.

  • proudcricketfan on July 10, 2012, 8:11 GMT

    treat to watch aussies getting smashed...they simply couldn't recover from the loss of the legends i.e. hayden,gilchrist,ponting.mcgrath & warne....

  • CricketingStargazer on July 10, 2012, 7:07 GMT

    @Meety, the point is that assessing players on the bais of a 4 match tour and saying "yeah or nay" to them having a career at this level is ridiculous. Right now, based purely on these matches, one would say that the Australian batting is a shambles and that the bowling resources thin. You would have said the same about England after the ODIs in India and Tests in Pakistan. I can't assess Matthew Wade based on the littel that I have seen. I can't assess Cummins either. Cummins, based on what others have done before him at this age might become a great star, or fade away in 2 years (as did Johnson and Phil Hughes). If I had to take a bet I would bet on Warner going more down the Hughes route as he is found out by bowlers rather than continuing to be destructive. What is worrying (unless you are English) is seeing players like Mitch Johnson who have baggage being re-cycled constantly: he's a weakness. I never expected to see Doherty back & you saw how the England batsmen tucked in to him

  • Meety on July 10, 2012, 2:43 GMT

    @Green_How - well said, (I disagree but well said). I doubt there are many players to have ever struck fear into an opposing player in cricket, the fearful player probably wasn't up to International standard. FYI - Ferguson v England, he has an ave over 50 in ODIs. Now I know 9 games is not a great sample size, & the 3 not outs certainly help, but given his S/R was 92.67, I would suggest he certainly wasn't playing for averages, (ps: his ave in England is over 60!!!) Also re: Voges, he has only played England once with an 80 not out. Now would these 2 players have changed the result? Nobody could say for sure, but I believe they are good ODI batsmen with great stats, it would suggest better totals. @CricketingStargazer - not sure what your point is, I would take your Bresnan quote as proof that you can't write a player off over a small sample size of matches. As for "4 best keeper batsmen in the world" - I guess I know who said that, & it is not worth repeating for credibility sake!

  • Green_How on July 9, 2012, 12:16 GMT

    @Meety ok point taken, perhaps i am being a little harsh, especially on Wade who looked good stood up to the aussie seamers. I maintain my other point tho, i still think there are no aussies out there who could have taimed this England attack bowling the way it is. While Mike Hussey is still a very good player, his record in England is not exactly floorless and he is hardly the future, the other 3 you mention have limited experience at the top level of international cricket, especially big game experience in English conditions and are not names that instantly strike fear to the hearts of England fans.

  • Sudu_putha on July 9, 2012, 10:09 GMT

    aUSSIES GETTING SMASHED.....LOL

  • CricketingStargazer on July 9, 2012, 9:57 GMT

    @Meety, things can change very fast. How many people remember Tim Bresnan's debut? He took - I recall - 0-25 in 2 overs as Sri Lanka chased down 330 in 37 overs. No one seriously expected to see him again because he looked out of his depth. And before the 2010 Ashes, he was regarded as being a serious weak link in the attack who would never have been selected if other bowlers had been fit. Of course, injuries let him into the Ashes XI and the rest is history... Having read the opinion of one Australian poster that Australia had the best 4 wicket-keepers in world cricket, I was interested to see Wade perform and. so far, have seen only flashes of what he is capable of, as has been the case with Warner (I guess that the smart money was always going to be that bowlers would start to find him out, the way that Phil Hughes was rumbled). Right now the batting looks a shambles, but then 4 months ago you'd have said that of England; it doesn't take much for things to change radically.

  • 5wombats on July 9, 2012, 9:51 GMT

    @Bruisers on (July 08 2012, 12:00 PM GMT) Nonsense. What do you have - a crystal ball?

  • Meety on July 9, 2012, 0:33 GMT

    @Green_How - "...The likes of .... Wade are not good enough and unlikely to ever will be..." - absolute rubbish. Wade has a dismissal rate as a keeper - superior to Kiesweitter, he has a test ave a shade under 40, (with a match winning ton to his name already), is only 24 & has batted already in 6 different positions in 20 games. "...i really don't think there is any aussie batsmen, that is not here, that could take on this relentless bowling attack..." obviously you had forgotten about MHussey, but apart from him, we have 2 other batsmen with 40+ ODI stats (Voges & Ferguson), & technically a 3rd one in Cooper with a 50+ ODI ave. Enjoy the series win, England deserve it, but making sweeping statements on a sample base of 3 games is folly!

  • Cricketfan101 on July 8, 2012, 20:48 GMT

    What is peter forest doing in odi squad with a sr 67

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