England v Australia, Champions Trophy, Group A, Edgbaston June 8, 2013

Bell's groundwork sets up Anderson record


England 269 for 6 (Bell 91, Bopara 46*, Trott 43) beat Australia 221 for 9 (Bailey 55, Faulkner 54*, Anderson 3-30) by 48 runs
Scorecard and ball-by-ball details

England and Australia locked horns for the first time this summer and Edgbaston, basking in golden sunshine for its 100th international match, was able to celebrate the start of the sequence with an emphatic England victory. The Champions Trophy tie - or Ashes prelim, if you prefer - fell to England by 48 runs.

Until England took control, it was a cagey, tactical affair - for the neutral perhaps the least enthralling match in the tournament so far. But who knows, it might be that England have already made an impact on the Ashes summer.

Australia had imagined that a powerful statement in the Champions Trophy might be a catalyst, but their performance was limp, their captain Michael Clarke is injured, and their hold on the Champions Trophy - as ESPNcricinfo's ball-by-ball commentary put it "the last trinket on Australia's mantelpiece" - is now in danger of falling into the fireplace.

For much of the day the Edgbaston crowd was able to soak up the pleasurable sight of two of its own proceeding calmly along, although it was only when victory was achieved that confidence reigned that Ian Bell and Jonathan Trott, as two Warwickshire batsmen should, had perfectly assessed batting requirements.

When Trott was caught at the wicket for 43 from 56 balls, chasing a wide one delivered around the wicket by the left-armer, Mitchell Starc, England's second-wicket pair had put on 111 in 22 overs and uncertainty hung around the ground about whether their programmed approach, on a day when Alastair Cook's decision to bat first was a straightforward one, would yield the desired outcome.

Bell departed four overs later, his 91 occupying 115 balls, as James Faulkner bowled him with a straight ball which kept a little low, a fact the batsman communicated somewhat theatrically by falling to his knees after his stumps were broken. He has seemed slightly out of sorts in recent months, but this proved to be a match-winning innings of consummate judgment.

Bell's contribution was neat and discerning, studded by occasionally pleasing drives, Trott occupied himself diligently in that self-absorbed way of his, his innings containing a solitary boundary.

He was shaken out of his cocoon of contentment only once when he seemed entirely taken aback to find Australia's keeper, Matthew Wade, raging at him after the pair got in a tangle as Wade chased an inaccurate return. A few minutes later, having contemplated the mix up, he allowed himself a slightly disturbing smile.

England's plan was to take advantage of the last 15 overs, beginning with the batting Powerplay. But batting Powerplays are not often to England's tastes. It is as if they are contrary to the national character, resented for artificially intruding on the normal order of things, about as popular as a wind turbine in a Cotswold village, both having the potential to bring energy but often bringing resentment.

Instead, they stalled. The late-order marauders, Eoin Morgan and Jos Buttler, fell cheaply within three balls of each other and it took a judicious 46 not out from 37 balls from Ravi Bopara to heal the breach. The average score at Edgbaston in ODIs was 224 but as the sun blazed down, this was not an average batting day.

Things might have turned out differently if Bell had been run-out without scoring. When Cook played Starc to backward point, David Warner pulled off a diving stop and sprung to his feet to throw down the stumps, with both batsmen at the wicketkeeper's end. Cook was just in his ground and Bell was a yard alongside him, but the ball careered into the leg side and, much kerfuffle later, England had stolen two overthrows.

Australia's bowling attack sorely lacked a specialist spinner on such a gripping surface and, among the pace bowlers, Mitchell Starc was a disappointment.

Then with the bat they never got going. David Warner and Shane Watson constitute as destructive an opening pair as exists in one-day cricket, but there was barely a whimper from either as they fell by the 15th over with the scoring rate barely three runs an over.

Warner's feet were fast as he carved at a ball angled across him from Stuart Broad and presented a diving catch to Buttler. Broad almost removed Watson, too, as a leading edge flew beyond Cook's grasp, diving to his left at slip. But Watson soon fell, his inside edge caught by Cook at gully, after the ball arced gently off the pad.

The balance of England's side gave Australia a chance with fifth-bowling duties to be shared between Ravi Bopara and the callow offspin of Joe Root, the latter with only one ODI wicket to his name. But this was a somewhat abrasive pitch which aided their chances of survival release and Hughes, losing patience, tried to pull Root off a length and was lbw.

The wicket which as good as confirmed England's victory - Mitchell Marsh rattling one into Eoin Morgan's midriff at backward point - also took James Anderson past Darren Gough as England's leading wicket-taker in ODIs. Five balls later, Matthew Wade followed, albeit reluctantly, initially hoping that Hot Spot would not reveal his thin edge, then plotting an escape because the ball might have dropped short of Buttler's gloves, but umpire Dharmasena's decision was upheld.

Bailey's half-century tried to hold Australia together, but he was wading through sand and his desperate attempt to go big against James Tredwell's offspin caused his downfall at long-on.

No Finn, no Swann. It was easy to believe that England were deliberately keeping two of their most potent bowlers out of sight of the Australians ahead of the Investec Ashes series.

England insisted that it was not the case. But they would, wouldn't they?

Swann had a none-too-serious sore back which had not prevented him bowling in the nets; Finn was omitted purely for reasons of form, perhaps influenced by the fact that now he is back on his long run, and comfortable with it, and the last thing England need is any long run, short run confusion ahead of the Ashes. Tim Bresnan's ability to draw life from the dry surface, most marked when he cut one back to bowl Adam Voges, justified the choice.

The Champions Trophy is a valid tournament in itself, not just some sort of Ashes points-scoring contest. That said, when Australia began their minimum of 13 meetings against England this summer with a gentle leg-stump half volley from Starc, which Cook flipped through backward square for four.

The roars of approval from the Eric Hollies Stand possessed a significance that England supporters hoped would last all summer long. By the end of the day they were even more convinced that it would.

David Hopps is the UK editor of ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Andrew on June 10, 2013, 23:27 GMT

    Didn't see any of the game - & have only just got back last night from a mobile/internet black spot - so really only have 2 comments. Well played England seemed to have the match wrapped about midway thru Oz's 2nd innings. 2ndly - why o why no Doherty? He is not a great spinner - but really, an all out pace attack? Yes there was a bit of variety in the pace options, but we could of at least played Maxwell ahead of Marsh. @SirViv1973 on (June 10, 2013, 12:12 GMT) "...it's the EC rate which really matters in this form of the game..." - absolutely NOT. Strike Rate is the KEY aspect of a pace bowler. The BEST way to slow the R/Rate is to take wickets. That is the mode the best teams in ODI cricket have always used - (WI thru the 80s, Oz 99-07). Oz's W/Cup wins were on the back of strike bowlers like Lee & Tait, with good variety. NOWHERE was E/R preferred over S/R - except maybe Warne & Hogg v MacGill - but that was more for batting & fielding options.

  • Anupam on June 10, 2013, 18:36 GMT

    OMG How many discussions are here but at the end if the day ENG beat Aus by 48 runs. Different game plan & playing style for different teams. Sometimes they attack in 10 overs sometimes they play steady in 10 overs.

  • Scott on June 10, 2013, 15:26 GMT

    @SirViv, If you're referring to my post regarding poor selections, you can head backwards through the old articles and see that I'd stated this prior to a ball being bowled in India, before this CT and I've been screaming/hoping they make changes before the Ashes... Though I agree that a lot of others thought the squads selected were decent - not me though. It's not an excuse when you leave a bloke with a 41 ODI avg at home when your team can't buy a run - it's just a ludicrous omission.

  • shashwata on June 10, 2013, 13:50 GMT

    All of my suggestions here would vary according to the match situaations - if we are chasing/ setting the score , what the total is , who are the no.s 7 and 8 for the day etc.

    England need to be faster.I totally agree. Burt I don't want them to go all crash-boom-bang and then end up like SA, Pak,SL or NZ did in their opening matches.

    ( cont...)

    The opening stand against Aus was pretty close to perfect in terms of pace by Bell and Cook.But Bell needed to accelarate once he got to 60 or so.And so did Trott after he faced his first 20 odd balls. With the new rules , it will be easier for set batsmen to be aggressive than for the new one , more times than not. Let's see what lads dish out in the next one.

    Also , I would like to clarify that I am not one of those who considered Aus to be the easiest group game. Certainly not. I feel Group A is a more close group than Gr -B , with nothing much but a diiference of 0.5 between the 4 teams.

  • shashwata on June 10, 2013, 13:37 GMT

    Quite a discussion going on here about the batting pace of the England top 3 batsmen.

    Now , IMO we can't have an absolute blueprint of things that so-and-so should be going at a SR of this-and-this. The batting style or pace differs (and it should) from match to match. Pitch, bowling conditions, weather conditions, the opposition bowlers, the batsman's current form are just a few attributes that influence the batsman's game.

    However , I believe that since Cook , Bell and Trott are pretty different types of batsmen , their respective roles to set the total should be different as well.

    IMO Bell should (and he could do that most convincingly of the 3 on most days if he chooses to) bat around an SR of 80 to 90 or so, with Cook being at around 70.Now if a wicket falls early, Trott could be around 55 (but not lesser). If there is a stand of about 70 for the first wicket , then he MUST go at 85 or more. (cont...)

  • Dean on June 10, 2013, 12:28 GMT

    A lot of Aus fans here complaining about the squad selected, which is very familiar to what we saw from them when things went badly in Ind. If things go wrong in the ashes will we have to put up with these excuses once again? Other than the usual stuff regarding Steve O'keefe's non selection I didn't see any oz fans bemoaning the selection of the ashes squad, the same way I didn't see too many detractors when this squad was selected given that the Aus A tour would be taking place at the same time & certain players would be better served being in the party in the run up to the ashes. Perhaps it's time to admit that the current crop of Aus players aren't quite up to it & to start looking at how they are going to improve going forward.

  • John on June 10, 2013, 12:26 GMT

    @landl47 on (June 10, 2013, 11:36 GMT) To be fair , Trott's inns does work most of the time but if Jonny B was relaying messages across to the pair to speed up , it tells you that even the management weren't happy with it. Also when Trott doesn't go on to score big and accelerate we've seen what happens (as in the 1st ODI)

  • John on June 10, 2013, 12:26 GMT

    @jmcilhinney on (June 10, 2013, 8:52 GMT) Must have missed the comms which said about "against better teams England would have made the effort to score more" , but that would be a very dangerous game to play. I mean 1 - While I think (despite the rankings) I saw Australia as our most winnable match , Australia still have guys like Warner and Watson. On their day either could easily have taken the game away from England 2 - It's dangerous tactics as surely it's not easy to build up the intensity levels as surely it comes naturally England don't have an opener like Gayle or a death bowler like Mallinga but there are things I still believe (tactically and otherwise) there are improvements we could make

  • Dean on June 10, 2013, 12:12 GMT

    @Jayzuz, In terms of Starc's ave it dosen't mean an awful lot at this stage of of his career as he has only played 19 games, 13 of which have been in at home. However @Landl47 is correct as it's the EC rate which really matters in this form of the game.

  • Dean on June 10, 2013, 11:47 GMT

    A little criticism here for Eng failure to accelerate & post 300 plus. Personally I was a little disappointed we weren't able to get a bit closer to the 300 mark but was fairly happy with 270. Going forward we are set to see conditions change over the next couple of days where we are likely to see damper cloudier conditions which will almost certainly mean 300 plus totals are taken out of the equation. If in such conditions we are able to post scores of 250 plus I would back our bowlers to do the rest against any of the other teams I have seen.