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

Pragmatic England defy critics

The century stand between Ian Bell and Jonathan Trott may not have had the crowd swooning but England know their strengths and they played to them admirably once again
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Rudyard Kipling almost certainly wasn't thinking about England's top-order when he wrote the lines "If you can keep your head when all about you are losing theirs and blaming it on you" but it did seem strangely fitting as they made unhurried progress against Australia.

You could almost feel the frustration around Edgbaston as Ian Bell and Jonathan Trott added 111 runs for England's second wicket in 22 overs. You could almost feel the crowd urging them to pick up the pace and play more aggressively. And you could hardly move at the interval between innings for someone wanting to tell you that the stand had left England 30 short of par and in danger of losing the game.

But in a match that featured only one other 50 partnership - an unbroken stand of 56 for England's seventh wicket - Bell and Trott had, once again, provided the foundations for victory. That the pair of them remained calm against some tight bowling, kept their heads and judged more accurately than the hordes urging them to accelerate what a winning total was on this pitch, played a huge part in this win.

England play, by and large, percentage cricket. They are not pretty. They are not exciting. While West Indies or Pakistan attack their opposition like tigers, England attack like a python, slowly squeezing the life out of matches. In some ways, they play the sort of cricket that the limited-overs game was invented to cut out. While marketing types sell the game on the basis flying stumps and flurries of sixes, England try to bowl dot balls and turn ones into twos. Few kids in Birmingham beg their parents for a chance to watch Trott nurdle one into the leg side.

But that is not England's concern. What matters to them is that they have a method they trust and understand. While other teams can thrash and heave, England will nudge and accumulate. While other teams attempt the killer punch, England pick up points and refuse to open themselves up to danger. They apply pressure and look to make fewer mistakes than their opposition. It is not a fashionable way to play limited-overs cricket, but it is England's way.

You might compare it to Wimbledon playing the long-ball game in order to compete with the top football English football sides. Their supporters will find beauty in the result if not the method.

They will be times when it proves an inadequate method. There will be times when an opposition batsman plays a brilliant match-winning innings and when an opposition bowler finds a way to unlock the England batting. It will happen. But it may not happen very often and it may not happen in this tournament.

It was, after all, a method that took them to the top of the ODI rankings last year. It took them to their record of 10 successive ODI victories. It is a method that really should have won over the critics by now. That it hasn't perhaps says more about the inflexibility of some in the media - particularly former players - than it does an inflexibility in England's methods.

The point that the critics fail to understand is that England are playing the hand that fate dealt them. They are not trying to play the hand they wish they were dealt. They are no longer trying to ape the methods of Australia or Sri Lanka or whoever the latest fashionable ODI side may be. They have recognised their key strength - technically correct batsmen - and embraced it. Without Kevin Pietersen they are a decent but limited ODI side, but rather than attempting to bat like Sanath Jayasuriya or Adam Gilchrist, they have accepted their strengths lie elsewhere. Nations need accountants as well as warriors.

Bell admitted that, at the halfway stage of the match, England were just a little disappointed by their total. He admitted that "at 35 overs we were looking at 300" but felt they fell short as "it was an extremely dry pitch and it was a lot easier to bat up front against the new ball. It got a lot harder to bat." In a perfect world, of course they would have liked to score more. But instead of being bowled out for 230 in an attempt to reach 300, they settled for 269. They settled for the better percentage.

Are there other players within the county game who might provide an alternative method? Of course there are. There is Ben Stokes, a vast talent, who may develop into an international class allrounder, there is Alex Hales, who has earned a place in the T20 side, and there is Jonny Bairstow. But Stokes and Hales both failed to cover themselves in glory on the Lions tour to Australia and Hales is also in a horrid run of form. Their time will come. If England's method proves inadequate in this event, it may come sooner rather than later.

It would be simplistic to suggest that England's method is solely reliant on their top three. In this game, the acceleration in their innings was provided by Ravi Bopara - on other occasions it will be Eoin Morgan or Jos Buttler - and their bowling was deeply impressive.

That is hugely encouraging for them. On a pitch offering traditional English-style bowlers little, they still found a way to trouble the Australia batsmen. James Anderson, in the style of Malcolm Marshall or Zaheer Khan, reacted to the flat surface by going up a gear and bowling with more pace than for some time. He successfully utilised the same tactic on a docile track during the Nagpur Test at the end of last year.

England also gained reverse swing that was all but absent for the Australia seamers. There will be those who claim there is something untoward about this but, as was the case when the English used to complain about Pakistan bowlers, it is generally teams that cannot do it who moan.

Allied to their admirable accuracy - Anderson was especially impressive in that regard - the movement England gained allowed them to concentrate on bowling a good length and tight line. There was a noticeable absence of variation - the slower balls and slower ball bouncers - that marked their disappointing performances against New Zealand. Bell rated his bowlers' performance as "exceptional".

There was some bravery in England's selection, too. The decision to leave out Steven Finn, the No. 3-rated ODI bowler, left them reliant on Bopara and Joe Root to fulfil the role of fifth bowler. It showed a willingness to adapt. It showed flexibility.

But those are not the main strengths of this team. England's real strengths are calm under pressure, a knowledge of their role definition and a shared belief in their methods. They are not the most exciting qualities, but they form a powerful combination.

George Dobell is a senior correspondent at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • POSTED BY sensible-indian-fan on | June 9, 2013, 3:44 GMT

    England bowled extremely well. But with all due respects, I am NOT too sure whether this would have worked in case of any other team. Why? Let's look at the numbers.

    1. Even after the rubbish batting performance, Aussies still managed 220 odd. 2. Other teams with stronger batting line ups might have played out Anderson, Broad (with the loss of few wickets) but at the death with just 4 fielders outside, they could have had a field day. 3. Now some may say the pitch started becoming slower. It wasn't as easy as it looks. Maybe its true. But I honestly don't think 270 was enough on this pitch. Why? Because with the new ODI rules, wickets in hand before death overs gives a crazy advantage to teams batting second.

    a. Its the reason why Ind could post 330 odd after being 120/4 and 55/5 in the warm ups. b. Its the reason why SA almost chased our score down. If they had applied a bit of common sense, they could have EASILY won India.

    This may NOT be a 350 pitch but it wasn't a 270 one eithe

  • POSTED BY JG2704 on | June 11, 2013, 9:11 GMT

    @ TheGuruji on (June 8, 2013, 20:49 GMT) I don't think many are saying Eng are awesome but if you go through their performances since the start of 2012 , I believe (besides the NZ series) Eng have lost one series away in India 3-2 - so by the same token (statistically) does one series defeat suddenly make Eng as bad as folk like you make them out to be?

    @sensible-indian-fan on (June 9, 2013, 7:46 GMT) I'd say both NZ and SL are a big threat

  • POSTED BY YorkshirePudding on | June 10, 2013, 11:33 GMT

    @RodStark, in limited overs you need at least 2 of the players coming in at (5-8) to 'come off ' with at least run a ball or better 30/40+ scores, and providing the top order (1-4) have but in a solid base.

    The problems occur when the above 2 dont come together such that the lower middle order come in too soon (pre 30 overs) or dont fire.

  • POSTED BY Jagger on | June 10, 2013, 7:33 GMT

    Wow. Malcolm Marshall and James Anderson + Zaheer Khan in the same sentence... Obviously didn't see 1984 Malcolm Marshall in Australia and 2003 Zaheer Khan in the World Cup Final. Marshall returned an average of 14.58 from 70 overs in the 1983 World Cup. If Anderson and Khan have ever returned figures within a bull's roar of that mark, I'll go he.

  • POSTED BY Shan156 on | June 10, 2013, 4:49 GMT

    @5wombats, Thanks mate. I know that whatever Eng. achieve won't impress these 'fans' and none of our players would ever be considered good enough. I have no interest in convincing these fans either. It is impossible to awaken someone who is pretending to be asleep. But, it is important that we quote facts time and again. Fact is, we have a decent ODI record in the recent past. In fact, we have a much better record than some of the much vaunted teams. Yet, we are considered a poor ODI team.

  • POSTED BY jmcilhinney on | June 10, 2013, 3:17 GMT

    @RodStark on (June 9, 2013, 17:59 GMT), I think that Bopara is a bit like Mitchell Johnson in that they don't really look the goods in Test cricket but both have still maintained a good record in limited-overs cricket. We all like to correlate Test and limited-overs performances to a degree but Bopara is an example of someone who definitely shouldn't be anywhere near the Test side but deserves his place in the limited-overs squad based on his record. I guess one concern with his inclusion in the CT squad is that he hasn't really been in great form domestically this seaon, although I'm not sure off his complete output. He certainly did an excellent job in this game though, and his bowling is very important, given that England have so few batsmen who bowl.

  • POSTED BY 5wombats on | June 9, 2013, 18:49 GMT

    @Shan156 - as ever my friend you hit the nail right on the head with all of your rebuttals against the snipers. But as you have pointed out to myself and many others; it's no good quoting facts; "We have defeated SA, Pak, WI, NZ, and SL away in our last bilateral series". None of that counts. Even if England go on to win this tournament, beating India in the final we will be told - Ah but this doesn't count because this isn't the world cup, or, but this doesn't count because it is in England. Why not just say; every time England win any game or series anywhere, it doesn't count because they are England?

  • POSTED BY RodStark on | June 9, 2013, 17:59 GMT

    It's not a bad plan, and it's the best aavailable based on the players England have. It would be ridiculous to replace a good accumulator with a bad batsman just because he has "flair". Things will probably speed up a bit when KP gets back, but what this method assures is that at least we're unlikely to get bowled out for a completely undefendable total even if the late acceleration doesn't come off.

    This game has changed my mind about Bopara. Combined with Root he can be an inexpensive fifth bowler, and, as we saw today, England need more than Morgan and Buttler for the late innings assault. True Bopara and Bresnan weren't as fast, but they still provided decent depth during the late innings slog. You can't expect Morgan and Buttler to come off every time, and if they don't you need capable and reasonably fast batters at 7 and 8.

  • POSTED BY CrickFan82 on | June 9, 2013, 13:56 GMT

    James Anderson is bowling really well, great to watch him bowl. England are still the favorites but i think they they are missing that match winning batsman on top of the order like KP though they have technically strong batsman like Bell, Cook, Trot, Root. My prediction on top four teams England, India, West Indies, New zealand Finals: India vs New Zealand

  • POSTED BY Jaffa79 on | June 9, 2013, 13:37 GMT

    This recent defeat shows a lot about where the Aussies are at: nervous, insecure batting, no confidence in their spin department (on a very dry surface) and a distinct lack of Aussie aggression in the field. Of course there are many players from both sides to come in but it was clear to see that the Aussies know themselves that they could be up against it this summer. Bringing back Rogers and Haddin and the will they/won't they farce over Ponting coming back along with rushing through the citizenship of a random 30 something spinner with little experience or much of a record reeks of desperation. Headless chickens!

  • POSTED BY sensible-indian-fan on | June 9, 2013, 3:44 GMT

    England bowled extremely well. But with all due respects, I am NOT too sure whether this would have worked in case of any other team. Why? Let's look at the numbers.

    1. Even after the rubbish batting performance, Aussies still managed 220 odd. 2. Other teams with stronger batting line ups might have played out Anderson, Broad (with the loss of few wickets) but at the death with just 4 fielders outside, they could have had a field day. 3. Now some may say the pitch started becoming slower. It wasn't as easy as it looks. Maybe its true. But I honestly don't think 270 was enough on this pitch. Why? Because with the new ODI rules, wickets in hand before death overs gives a crazy advantage to teams batting second.

    a. Its the reason why Ind could post 330 odd after being 120/4 and 55/5 in the warm ups. b. Its the reason why SA almost chased our score down. If they had applied a bit of common sense, they could have EASILY won India.

    This may NOT be a 350 pitch but it wasn't a 270 one eithe

  • POSTED BY JG2704 on | June 11, 2013, 9:11 GMT

    @ TheGuruji on (June 8, 2013, 20:49 GMT) I don't think many are saying Eng are awesome but if you go through their performances since the start of 2012 , I believe (besides the NZ series) Eng have lost one series away in India 3-2 - so by the same token (statistically) does one series defeat suddenly make Eng as bad as folk like you make them out to be?

    @sensible-indian-fan on (June 9, 2013, 7:46 GMT) I'd say both NZ and SL are a big threat

  • POSTED BY YorkshirePudding on | June 10, 2013, 11:33 GMT

    @RodStark, in limited overs you need at least 2 of the players coming in at (5-8) to 'come off ' with at least run a ball or better 30/40+ scores, and providing the top order (1-4) have but in a solid base.

    The problems occur when the above 2 dont come together such that the lower middle order come in too soon (pre 30 overs) or dont fire.

  • POSTED BY Jagger on | June 10, 2013, 7:33 GMT

    Wow. Malcolm Marshall and James Anderson + Zaheer Khan in the same sentence... Obviously didn't see 1984 Malcolm Marshall in Australia and 2003 Zaheer Khan in the World Cup Final. Marshall returned an average of 14.58 from 70 overs in the 1983 World Cup. If Anderson and Khan have ever returned figures within a bull's roar of that mark, I'll go he.

  • POSTED BY Shan156 on | June 10, 2013, 4:49 GMT

    @5wombats, Thanks mate. I know that whatever Eng. achieve won't impress these 'fans' and none of our players would ever be considered good enough. I have no interest in convincing these fans either. It is impossible to awaken someone who is pretending to be asleep. But, it is important that we quote facts time and again. Fact is, we have a decent ODI record in the recent past. In fact, we have a much better record than some of the much vaunted teams. Yet, we are considered a poor ODI team.

  • POSTED BY jmcilhinney on | June 10, 2013, 3:17 GMT

    @RodStark on (June 9, 2013, 17:59 GMT), I think that Bopara is a bit like Mitchell Johnson in that they don't really look the goods in Test cricket but both have still maintained a good record in limited-overs cricket. We all like to correlate Test and limited-overs performances to a degree but Bopara is an example of someone who definitely shouldn't be anywhere near the Test side but deserves his place in the limited-overs squad based on his record. I guess one concern with his inclusion in the CT squad is that he hasn't really been in great form domestically this seaon, although I'm not sure off his complete output. He certainly did an excellent job in this game though, and his bowling is very important, given that England have so few batsmen who bowl.

  • POSTED BY 5wombats on | June 9, 2013, 18:49 GMT

    @Shan156 - as ever my friend you hit the nail right on the head with all of your rebuttals against the snipers. But as you have pointed out to myself and many others; it's no good quoting facts; "We have defeated SA, Pak, WI, NZ, and SL away in our last bilateral series". None of that counts. Even if England go on to win this tournament, beating India in the final we will be told - Ah but this doesn't count because this isn't the world cup, or, but this doesn't count because it is in England. Why not just say; every time England win any game or series anywhere, it doesn't count because they are England?

  • POSTED BY RodStark on | June 9, 2013, 17:59 GMT

    It's not a bad plan, and it's the best aavailable based on the players England have. It would be ridiculous to replace a good accumulator with a bad batsman just because he has "flair". Things will probably speed up a bit when KP gets back, but what this method assures is that at least we're unlikely to get bowled out for a completely undefendable total even if the late acceleration doesn't come off.

    This game has changed my mind about Bopara. Combined with Root he can be an inexpensive fifth bowler, and, as we saw today, England need more than Morgan and Buttler for the late innings assault. True Bopara and Bresnan weren't as fast, but they still provided decent depth during the late innings slog. You can't expect Morgan and Buttler to come off every time, and if they don't you need capable and reasonably fast batters at 7 and 8.

  • POSTED BY CrickFan82 on | June 9, 2013, 13:56 GMT

    James Anderson is bowling really well, great to watch him bowl. England are still the favorites but i think they they are missing that match winning batsman on top of the order like KP though they have technically strong batsman like Bell, Cook, Trot, Root. My prediction on top four teams England, India, West Indies, New zealand Finals: India vs New Zealand

  • POSTED BY Jaffa79 on | June 9, 2013, 13:37 GMT

    This recent defeat shows a lot about where the Aussies are at: nervous, insecure batting, no confidence in their spin department (on a very dry surface) and a distinct lack of Aussie aggression in the field. Of course there are many players from both sides to come in but it was clear to see that the Aussies know themselves that they could be up against it this summer. Bringing back Rogers and Haddin and the will they/won't they farce over Ponting coming back along with rushing through the citizenship of a random 30 something spinner with little experience or much of a record reeks of desperation. Headless chickens!

  • POSTED BY jackiethepen on | June 9, 2013, 9:36 GMT

    Australia A have been playing very good cricket so England should take note. While we have been swooning before the new t20 shots of our young guns, Australia A took our team apart Down Under. Proper cricket will win in the end over the more so called flamboyant kind. How lucky we are to have batsmen of the calibre of Bell and Trott. Have we youngsters of substance being fostered? We should be looking to Taylor not Hales. It was Taylor who came back from the Australian Lions Tour in credit.

  • POSTED BY sensible-indian-fan on | June 9, 2013, 7:46 GMT

    @jmcilhinney - Yeah. That's why I am very eager to see how England performs against other teams. I don't think NZ will pose much threat but the SL match would be very interesting. That's going to be a fun contest. An even more fun contest would be Pak Vs Eng. Ajmal, Hafeez and Shoaib Malik (to a smaller extent) are middle over torture specialists. But unfortunately, its tough for Pak to qualify due to their crappy batting. If only they had a great batting line up, they would beat the crap out of everyone else.

  • POSTED BY Shan156 on | June 9, 2013, 7:09 GMT

    @Sudeep Das, Swann has flair. While I do agree that he does not compare to the best spinners, his numbers in India compare favorably to either Warne or Murali. Indians are the best players of spin and yet Swann averages 28 something in India. Perhaps Swann would have struggled against the India of 2001 or 2005 too but it is still a hard place to tour for a foreign spinner. Swann has 5 wicket hauls in every country except UAE (where he still has a very good average). Compare him to your own Harbhajan and say honestly if he is any less talented. Of course, to each his own. I respect your opinion but I really cannot understand why it should hurt to lose to a team that may not have flair but put in the hard yards and deserved to win.

  • POSTED BY on | June 9, 2013, 6:50 GMT

    When England whitewashed Pakistan in the UAE, Kevin Pietersen opened with Alastair Cook. KP has a busy game, and Cook played with great freedom. To suggest that the current strategies led them to those wins, is highly misleading. England's ODI plans rely on Jos Buttler or anyone else at 6-7 wildly slogging successfully along with Morgan to provide them a good total. It won't come off often, and that's why they lost a series in India and struggled against NZ home and away. Unlike other sides, the England top order, other than Cook, can't really move quickly through the gear and make up for the slow start. They often bat up to the 35th over and then get out, leaving everything to Morgan and the inexperienced lower middle order.

  • POSTED BY jmcilhinney on | June 9, 2013, 6:46 GMT

    @sensible-indian-fan on (June 9, 2013, 3:44 GMT), "This may NOT be a 350 pitch but it wasn't a 270 one either". Couldn't agree more. I for one was not expecting England to make significantly over 300 even if all went well. actually commented during the game that it was good to see some intent from England early and they had a very good first 10 overs. If they had continued in that vein then they probably would have ended up with close to 300, even with Morgan and Buttler going cheaply. The issue was that Bell and Trott seemed to shut up shop. Bell had looked good during the first 10 or so and they both looked good after 30 but for the period in between they just seemed to coast. There's lots of talk about this pitch being harder to bat on than it appeared and that may be true, but England's own batting early and late suggests to me that their batting through the middle was too conservative. I'm not even talking about boundaries but just running more singles and turning 1s into 2s.

  • POSTED BY zafaram2 on | June 9, 2013, 6:20 GMT

    What a beautiful article it is. Indeed, England opting for the "technically correct batsmen", who continue to play their "unattractive" cricket for the temporary cricket followers. But they are gems for the real Cricket Lovers. I wish England sustain their "orthodox" strategy and evolve as the Champions here.

  • POSTED BY on | June 9, 2013, 6:08 GMT

    Andy Plowright . Though I expect England to be in the final, I don't think, that there was any decent game plan, in yesterday's match. If at all there was one , it was: "Make the best use of whatever we have". And, of course willingness to turn back on Dernbach! .

  • POSTED BY on | June 9, 2013, 5:04 GMT

    This is precisely he reason England havent ever won anything of note in the one day arena. Remember the 1979 World Cup final. Chasing the Windies formidable score of 286 in 60 overs, England replied with Brearley and Boycott adding 120. In 40 overs! Thirty four years on, they dont seem to have learnt a thing.

  • POSTED BY Sir.Ivor on | June 9, 2013, 5:01 GMT

    My congratulations to England for having won the first round this season.It makes a big difference between the two. But Australia will be much better when they have Pattinson, Siddle and Harris in their bowling line up on wickets which have some juice for fast bowlers.Their batting is in a mess with though with their dependence on Warner and Hughes who just cannot play good swing bowling. I wish they would bring in Shaun Marsh and Usman Khwaja without any delay.

  • POSTED BY on | June 9, 2013, 4:57 GMT

    Disappointing to read the negative comments here. England won. Let them have their moment. Over hyped ? England has a hard time keeping up with India in that regard. Its a very good article that explains how England know their limitations and stick to them. They didn't have the batting to score 320. If they tried they would probably be bowled out for 220. They win enough games playing like this, unlike the English teams of the 90s which always bit off more than they could chew.

  • POSTED BY on | June 9, 2013, 4:42 GMT

    @Shan156 your criticism of Indian fans on the back of series defeats at home and away is partly true. But the real reason of the hurt is that with the exception of Peterson and Anderson the rest of this English squad do not have that flair. We adored the Aussies & Windies of the previous decades for their exceptional talents in spite of defeats in their hands. It is like supporting Brazil or Argentina (or Netherlands/Spain from Europe) in a World Cup even if they lose all their games. Very few neutrals support Germany or Italy. Hope you get the point.

  • POSTED BY shortsillypoint on | June 9, 2013, 4:10 GMT

    Its a clever plan to bore the opposition and cricket fans into submission but this is win against possibly the worst Aussie team in living memory.

  • POSTED BY Shan156 on | June 9, 2013, 3:57 GMT

    @TheGuruji, perhaps you did not read the whole article but the author does mention that. Read paragraph 9. He admits that England are a limited ODI side. All he is saying, and I agree, is that Eng. do not have power hitters of the calibre of Gayle or Dilshan at the top of the order and so they are using what they have to formulate their strategy. Isn't that pragmatic?

    Defying critics? Eng. are criticized for their go-slow approach and the author says that despite their limitations, Eng. do win often. The NZ series defeat was our first at home since 2009. We have defeated SA, Pak, WI, NZ, and SL away in our last bilateral series. So, it is a fact that we are a decent ODI side. Isn't that defying critics?

    Instead of finding faults in every Eng. article, perhaps you should read the complete article and analyze objectively.

  • POSTED BY Realisedperson on | June 9, 2013, 3:46 GMT

    England is definitely the most over-hyped team in the cricketing universe. 3 decades of under-performance and recent trouncing in the ODI's, but still meaning is attributed to their method. Granted there test side is after a long is time looking good, but there limited over games have been lacking in flair, creativity and intent. For a team that plays percentage cricket, it should be fairly obvious that the probability of winning a championship playing percentages is slim.

  • POSTED BY TheGuruji on | June 9, 2013, 3:24 GMT

    @Shan156 - I do not recall any of the journalists referring to the Indian side as the "greatest ever". However, the author of this article refers to England with superlatives such as "pragmatic", "defying critics" etc. just after one win. Don't you think that is inappropriate for a journalist who is supposed to be objective, unlike the fans? I definitely think so, whether you agree or not.

  • POSTED BY on | June 9, 2013, 1:25 GMT

    First up congrats to England. It doesn't really matter how you win but your team won. A more detailed analysis about the match shows the consistent pattern: a very good Aussie bowling performance, firstly let down by a few poor overs at the death, then (surprise surprise) a well below par Aus batting performance aided by some tidy, but not exceptional, opposition bowling. England were IMO fortunate to get away after only having 200-ish runs by the 42nd over.

  • POSTED BY espncricinfomobile on | June 9, 2013, 1:03 GMT

    Outstanding match review !! Though i disagree with the assessment. Then again, of course i would, am an india fan. Maybe eng vs nz will have some of the excitement now lacking in eng vs aus matches

  • POSTED BY gsingh7 on | June 9, 2013, 0:26 GMT

    still around 80 runs short england. against batting might of india even 370 is not safe . slow starts vs nz cud cost them game.

  • POSTED BY Shan156 on | June 9, 2013, 0:11 GMT

    @Optic, when SA and Pakistan lose, these 'fans' dismiss them as one-offs and still claim they are the best. Before this game, the same 'fans' said Aus. would not just beat Eng. but they would thrash Eng. All of a sudden, it was Eng. who handed the thrashing and now these same 'fans' claim that it is no big deal as Aus. is a poor team. Suddenly, Aus. is a poor team because Eng. beat them. Also, do you all notice that it is mostly Indian fans who post all these messages against England? Guess they are still hurting after their test series defeats both home and away against us. They probably have a soft corner for SA because they managed to draw with them home and away (the latter will change later this year). And, they probably like Aus. because they avenged their 4-0 defeat. Eng. is the only current team that have beaten them both home and away in a test series including some crushing defeats and probably that is the reason for all these negative comments.

  • POSTED BY on | June 9, 2013, 0:06 GMT

    "Their supporters will find beauty in the result if not the method."... Punters would be more inclined to agree with this statement; not the common men, women and their children who come over to the stadium to watch & enjoy the match.

  • POSTED BY Shan156 on | June 9, 2013, 0:05 GMT

    @TheGuruji, Didn't India lose a test series at home to England just few months back. Are they now the greatest ever because they beat Aus. 4-0?

  • POSTED BY Shan156 on | June 9, 2013, 0:04 GMT

    @ArunkumarSelvaraj, not as quickly as Indian fans though. After we beat you in your home in the test series few months back, many Indian fans did not show up in these boards, as expected. After we lost the 1st T20I, they all came back and inundated the message board with comments like "India is the best" and "India is way superior to England in all formats of the game", "England is a poor team", blah, blah, as if the test series that preceded that game never happened.

  • POSTED BY on | June 8, 2013, 23:37 GMT

    I may be jumping the gun a bit, since NZ & SL have yet to play. Based on the show so far, ("pragmatic" -workmanlike) England & ("team" - someone or the other shows up every time after the oldies are replaced) India seem to be a wee bit ahead of the rest in the race to reach the finals. But you can't write off the two "unpredictable" teams: Pak & WI, though.

  • POSTED BY Showbags88 on | June 8, 2013, 23:22 GMT

    I really don't understand these Aussie selectors and their obsession with bits and pieces cricketers. Why is Mitch Marsh and Shane Watson in the same team? We should be picking another batsmen in place of Mitch Marsh (who is seriously overrated) as our batting is very poor as it is. Didn't they learn anything from India this mob?

    Having said that only 3 of these guys will be there for the Ashes (Warner, Hughes, Watson) so it isn't quite panic stations yet.

  • POSTED BY on | June 8, 2013, 23:17 GMT

    More than overarrated review. Gosh Australia is like the second weakest team after Australia. Where does England stand on the ODI scale? They would be decimated by the West Indies, India or Pakistan.

  • POSTED BY universalanalyser on | June 8, 2013, 23:17 GMT

    @ those who telling me the score was below par,add quick 30 in average for Kevin Pietersen,, at least these situations,England was on par....................................

    And let India score as many runs just to compensate their mediocre bowling attack.they exactly know their balance of runs with their bowling,perhaps one of the many reason of their late successes in ODIs including world cup.i see the finals between India and England.next serious match we would be playing with India after Australia.

  • POSTED BY RandyOZ on | June 8, 2013, 23:16 GMT

    The selectors have put us to the sword again. if only we were able to pick our best team.

  • POSTED BY on | June 8, 2013, 22:53 GMT

    England haven't won a world cup yet , Kiwis are famous to play semi-finals ,and SA chalks at big games .

  • POSTED BY on | June 8, 2013, 22:51 GMT

    When I was a kid I used to study at the last hour & get good marks and it became my habit.however, as I grew older & studies became harder but I did not change. I did the same in boards & did not get good marks, this is the disadvantage of leaving it too late,its a lottery. People say ENG are playing safe but I will say No, they are taking a chance because they are depending on their middle order which wont fire every time. This is a set method which worked against Aus because they lack confidence & they just have Watson as Clarke was injured but SL have Mahela,Dilshan,Sanga,Perera looks good too.Malinga & Senananayke wont let them get away at the death. Kiwis beat them too few days back So I don`t think they will reach semis cause they are not good enough. And even if they do then IND,WI/Pak/SA-all will be dangerous for them as Windies have firepower+Narine,Bravo who wont let them get away, Pak have Ajmal & co. while Ind & SA can chase anything under 320 even against English bowling.

  • POSTED BY Front-Foot-Lunge on | June 8, 2013, 22:16 GMT

    A masterclass in skill, playing with the conditions, and total superiority with the ball. England's critics have suddenly found other things to do! @hhillbumper: lol, but I wouldn't bet on it as previous form suggests, it's been hours now and still counting..:)

  • POSTED BY big_al_81 on | June 8, 2013, 21:57 GMT

    This is as fair, sane, balanced and insightful an article as I have read on Cricinfo for many a month. Thanks very much Mr Dobell - you haven't always persuaded me of your views, but credit where credit is due, this is a terrific article.

  • POSTED BY disco_bob on | June 8, 2013, 21:56 GMT

    Re the Ashes, I.am now officially concerned.

  • POSTED BY on | June 8, 2013, 21:48 GMT

    India, sri lanka got no show because they will not have 15 players to pick from and the 2 new balls will have them in tatters. Well done England, they have the right combination (with Swann in) for the conditions and I am an NZ supporter. Top 4 teams England, NZ, SA, West Indies expecting England or NZ to win.

  • POSTED BY Divinetouch on | June 8, 2013, 21:16 GMT

    Boring game of cricket, more so when it is compared to the first two games.

  • POSTED BY cabinet96 on | June 8, 2013, 20:59 GMT

    I love how everyone is talking about how this won't work against the bigger hitting sides. If a side had India's batting line up and Australia's bowling line up they would be clear favourites. Thankfully, no side exists. England would have scored more had they been playing against India, or even the Windies. So it's all a bit irrelevant really. Another good ODI performance from England, and I've been saying that a lot since that 5-0 thrashing we got in India in late 2011.

  • POSTED BY Optic on | June 8, 2013, 20:54 GMT

    @Apoorv Bansal But yet England consistently win one day series with these very same tactics against the teams you mention. Maybe just maybe they know more about the conditions than all these others that claim we need to score 300+ all the time, sorry just doesn't happen in England. The fact is that England got 270 with out the big hitters of Morgan & Buttler coming off, which should speck volumes. Add to that that we are without KP, who would have added a different dimension to England's batting and also Swann & Finn who are England's 2 best one day bowlers. Also more often than not if you have a good enough bowling attack which England's is, you won't be chasing down 300+ all that often. It's strange to hear this criticism from people about England's performance, but yet we won easily and the likes of Pakistan and SA looked ordinary in comparison and are suppose to be 2 of the favorites and not much has been said.

  • POSTED BY TheGuruji on | June 8, 2013, 20:49 GMT

    Didn't England just lose the ODI series to NZ, like a week back? Suddenly after winning one match, they are awesome?

  • POSTED BY ArunkumarSelvaraj on | June 8, 2013, 20:48 GMT

    Very much an over rated review for a mediocre performance. This was a flat track. 269 was enough only because Aussies are in poor batting form at the moment. England would have struggled against any other top order team. I wonder how people forget the recent NZ loss so quickly.

  • POSTED BY Nutcutlet on | June 8, 2013, 20:43 GMT

    Job done. Workman-like performance on a pitch that pundit know-it-alls (they know who they are) were made to look a little silly. As @jackiethe pen has already remarked, this wasn't a 350 pitch or anything like. I thought England's batting (with no real turbo-charged final overs this time) had set a par score & if England's bowling hadn't been disciplined, then the Ozzies might have come a little closer. Their batting does look brittle, though. Ashes indicator? Of course not. There is still the world of difference between ODI & TC & with ? Pup, Rogers & the obdurate Cowan to give some ballast to the batting, I expect a lot more resilience from them when it comes to the grown up stuff. For now, I think that England is in the mix for this WC, but Australia isn't. I expect the efficient Kiwis to make short work of them & then they'll be gone anyway. Well done to Bopara, by the way. He had a good game & as he's not everyone's favourite, it's only fair to give him some credit here.

  • POSTED BY on | June 8, 2013, 20:09 GMT

    "Nations need accountants as well as warriors." !!

  • POSTED BY hhillbumper on | June 8, 2013, 19:45 GMT

    still think England will hack up the one day stuff but who cares.We beat the Aussies, The sun is shining and Randy Oz will be on here soon with his usual searing insight. God i love this game

  • POSTED BY jackiethepen on | June 8, 2013, 19:21 GMT

    This was not a 350 pitch. No one seemed to want to believe that. It was easier to have a go at Bell and Trott for not scoring loads of boundaries. Did you notice? There weren't many boundaries in the game at all. Cook - who had a chance to assess the pitch - said he thought 269 was a good score. So much for all the pundits laying into England. They live in a fantasy land where India score 350 on every pitch - funny this was India who didn't do that last time England played them in ODIs. India are a fantastic team but they have more sense than to go out and play to some sort of 'fashionable' blueprint of the game. West Indies struggled to get past 170 the other day. It is all nonsense to say Gayle should have got cracking straight away and demolished Pakistan. There are too many pundits who want t20 batsmen in the 50 over game. Even in t20 they assess the pitch and bat accordingly. Meanwhile credit to the Bears pair. This is their home ground.

  • POSTED BY on | June 8, 2013, 19:02 GMT

    this method will soon be found out when they play india or south afirca....just wait and watch...it worked only because aussies have an incosistent batting line up

  • POSTED BY on | June 8, 2013, 19:02 GMT

    this method will soon be found out when they play india or south afirca....just wait and watch...it worked only because aussies have an incosistent batting line up

  • POSTED BY jackiethepen on | June 8, 2013, 19:21 GMT

    This was not a 350 pitch. No one seemed to want to believe that. It was easier to have a go at Bell and Trott for not scoring loads of boundaries. Did you notice? There weren't many boundaries in the game at all. Cook - who had a chance to assess the pitch - said he thought 269 was a good score. So much for all the pundits laying into England. They live in a fantasy land where India score 350 on every pitch - funny this was India who didn't do that last time England played them in ODIs. India are a fantastic team but they have more sense than to go out and play to some sort of 'fashionable' blueprint of the game. West Indies struggled to get past 170 the other day. It is all nonsense to say Gayle should have got cracking straight away and demolished Pakistan. There are too many pundits who want t20 batsmen in the 50 over game. Even in t20 they assess the pitch and bat accordingly. Meanwhile credit to the Bears pair. This is their home ground.

  • POSTED BY hhillbumper on | June 8, 2013, 19:45 GMT

    still think England will hack up the one day stuff but who cares.We beat the Aussies, The sun is shining and Randy Oz will be on here soon with his usual searing insight. God i love this game

  • POSTED BY on | June 8, 2013, 20:09 GMT

    "Nations need accountants as well as warriors." !!

  • POSTED BY Nutcutlet on | June 8, 2013, 20:43 GMT

    Job done. Workman-like performance on a pitch that pundit know-it-alls (they know who they are) were made to look a little silly. As @jackiethe pen has already remarked, this wasn't a 350 pitch or anything like. I thought England's batting (with no real turbo-charged final overs this time) had set a par score & if England's bowling hadn't been disciplined, then the Ozzies might have come a little closer. Their batting does look brittle, though. Ashes indicator? Of course not. There is still the world of difference between ODI & TC & with ? Pup, Rogers & the obdurate Cowan to give some ballast to the batting, I expect a lot more resilience from them when it comes to the grown up stuff. For now, I think that England is in the mix for this WC, but Australia isn't. I expect the efficient Kiwis to make short work of them & then they'll be gone anyway. Well done to Bopara, by the way. He had a good game & as he's not everyone's favourite, it's only fair to give him some credit here.

  • POSTED BY ArunkumarSelvaraj on | June 8, 2013, 20:48 GMT

    Very much an over rated review for a mediocre performance. This was a flat track. 269 was enough only because Aussies are in poor batting form at the moment. England would have struggled against any other top order team. I wonder how people forget the recent NZ loss so quickly.

  • POSTED BY TheGuruji on | June 8, 2013, 20:49 GMT

    Didn't England just lose the ODI series to NZ, like a week back? Suddenly after winning one match, they are awesome?

  • POSTED BY Optic on | June 8, 2013, 20:54 GMT

    @Apoorv Bansal But yet England consistently win one day series with these very same tactics against the teams you mention. Maybe just maybe they know more about the conditions than all these others that claim we need to score 300+ all the time, sorry just doesn't happen in England. The fact is that England got 270 with out the big hitters of Morgan & Buttler coming off, which should speck volumes. Add to that that we are without KP, who would have added a different dimension to England's batting and also Swann & Finn who are England's 2 best one day bowlers. Also more often than not if you have a good enough bowling attack which England's is, you won't be chasing down 300+ all that often. It's strange to hear this criticism from people about England's performance, but yet we won easily and the likes of Pakistan and SA looked ordinary in comparison and are suppose to be 2 of the favorites and not much has been said.

  • POSTED BY cabinet96 on | June 8, 2013, 20:59 GMT

    I love how everyone is talking about how this won't work against the bigger hitting sides. If a side had India's batting line up and Australia's bowling line up they would be clear favourites. Thankfully, no side exists. England would have scored more had they been playing against India, or even the Windies. So it's all a bit irrelevant really. Another good ODI performance from England, and I've been saying that a lot since that 5-0 thrashing we got in India in late 2011.

  • POSTED BY Divinetouch on | June 8, 2013, 21:16 GMT

    Boring game of cricket, more so when it is compared to the first two games.