Australia v England, World Twenty20 warm-up, Colombo September 17, 2012

England hold on for narrow win


England 172 for 6 (Hales 52, Wright 35, Morgan 30, Starc 2-32, Hogg 2-39) beat Australia 163 for 6 (M Hussey 71, Watson 37, Finn 2-26) by nine runs

England's recent five-match ODI series against Australia was generally condemned as so inconsequential that it is quite possible to argue that this warm-up match between the Ashes rivals ahead of World Twenty20 had considerably more significance. It fell England's way, by nine runs, an edgy win only for as long as Mike Hussey remained at the crease for Australia.

Victory gave England, the defending champions, immediate impetus and left Australia, whose T20 ranking briefly fell below Ireland's earlier this month, still searching for a solution.

England's top six did not include a single player who could be regarded as a regular in the Test side - Kevin Pietersen, who in different circumstances might have claimed that, is only in Sri Lanka for a commentary stint for ESPN Star Sports- but they skipped to 172 for 6 in their 20 overs with Alex Hales (52 off 38) and Luke Wright (35 off 29) both prominent.

Hales, the chief beneficiary of Pietersen's absence, is one of several young England players without much of a grounding on the subcontinent but his half-century took England to 110 for 3 with 34 balls left before becoming one of two victims for Brad Hogg, at 41 the oldest player in the tournament.

He might have been run out on three, had David Warner hit direct from point and also offered two half-chances to the wicketkeeper Matthew Wade, an edge off Dan Christian, and a tough stumping off Brad Hogg on 34.

Shane Watson, Australia's allrounder, saw enough in Hales' performance to believe that England have a chance to mask Pietersen's absence without too much damage. "Kevin Pietersen is an amazingly talented batsman," he said. "In the last Twenty20 World Cup, he was one of the big reasons why England won it.

"But England have a number of very exciting young guys coming in. Hales hit the ball very nicely, and is obviously going to be a big player for England at the top of the order, so it won't have too much of a dent in the England side, because they'll be able to make up for it pretty well."

That Australia got so close owed much to Hussey, who almost pulled off a game-changing over when he struck Danny Briggs, the Hampshire left-arm spinner on his first senior tour, for 6-6-6-4 off successive balls after Briggs' first three overs had cost only 15. But Broad returned to have Hussey (71 off 51) lbw to leave Australia 32 short with 19 balls remaining and their challenge petered out.

Broad's intervention was something of a personal relief as his first over at Nondescripts CC in Colombo had included four wides. Shane Watson (37 off 26), Australia's other main batting success, was bowled as he swept at Graeme Swann.

Wright's success at No. 3, to follow a fine domestic season for Sussex in limited-overs cricket, continued a resurgence that began in Australia's Big Bash at the turn of the year. He is now over fears that a knee tendon injury might have put an end to his career.

"There are other guys around the counties I know have been struggling heavily with that sort of injury and who have had similar treatment to me - and it's just not worked," he said. "My game is normally based on energy, running around, buzzing around. Suddenly for the first time, I couldn't really do that and I felt like an old man - it probably threatened everything I play for. But I went off to Sweden for an operation, and luckily it's been fine since then."

David Hopps is the UK editor of ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Nicholas on September 20, 2012, 12:10 GMT

    @landl47 (post on September 17 2012, 20:57 PM GMT): late reply I know, but as JG2704 more-or-less-said, Broad's lines/lengths/variations etc. in these shorter formats have been wayward this year. Did well in the last warm-up game there against Pak. despite a horribly 'sticky' pitch, so who knows. He still aint going in any of MY Fantasy teams though...

  • John on September 18, 2012, 14:45 GMT

    @KurtZWilliams on (September 18 2012, 11:51 AM GMT), there will be media attention when the competition starts but are you suggesting that the media just sit on their hands until then? Of course they're going to cover the warm-ups because that's all there is to cover right now and it's a build up to the competition itself. If you're commenting then you're reading, suggesting that there's no reason for the media not to cover the warm-up games. The fact that you commented contradicts the content of your comment so it appears to be just rhetoric and a way to see your name on the internet. Got anything intelligent to say about the cricket?

  • Jon on September 18, 2012, 12:51 GMT

    @Moppa- I like the idea of your accent tests. I admit that KP and Trott are imports but Prior and Strauss are English.

  • Kurt on September 18, 2012, 11:51 GMT

    Isn't this just a warm up game jeez, lets get this media attention when the series actually gets underway.

  • John on September 18, 2012, 7:53 GMT

    @Meety on (September 17 2012, 23:38 PM GMT) Maybe. I'm not sure. I never try to go overboard because T20 is very much an on the day format and the top 8 teams all have players who can fire them to glory as I posted elsewhere. This was a close game and pretty much anyone can beat anyone in this format. Also you often find in these tournaments that players most casual fans have not heard too much about before do well in these tournaments. In our last campaign Yardy and Craig did well.

  • John on September 18, 2012, 7:53 GMT

    @landl47 on (September 17 2012, 20:57 PM GMT) To be honest Broad's figures and not only his figures , but his lengths and lines (in recent shorter format series) have worried me and Broad is possibly my favourite Eng player.

  • Guy on September 18, 2012, 7:11 GMT

    @Munkeymomo, you have made a fairly common error amongst non-Australian posters on this site... which is assuming that all Australians share and/or are responsible for the incoherent rantings of a certain other Australian poster. I made no mention of Strauss in my post, so this is my best guess as to your logic. Speaking for myself only, I apply the 'accent test' to determine whether someone is an import or not. Based on this rule, Pietersen, Trott, Kieswetter and Morgan are imports, and so was Kepler Wessels (if we want to go back a couple of decades). Meanwhile, I would agree that Strauss is not an import and argue that nor are Matt Prior, Khawaja, Andrew Symonds, Nasser Hussain etc. @Meety - cheers! :-)

  • John on September 18, 2012, 0:40 GMT

    @yorkshirematt on (September 17 2012, 14:20 PM GMT), I have absolutely no idea where you would get the idea that I dislike Yorkshire as I have no such dislike. I'm really curious to know why you would think that. You may well know Bairstow's keeping better than I do as I've only had glimpses of him in action but given that he's done it for Yorkshire and for the Lions, I have no reason to believe that he couldn't do it for England in T20s. The fact that he's from Yorkshire wouldn't come into calculation one way or the other. If KP does become available for selection again then it would be ludicrous not to pick him so a batsman would have to go. If Kieswetter is determined to be the weakest link at the time then, assuming that they won't lose anything by passing the gloves to Bairstow or Buttler, they can let him go. You'd have to think that he's a better gloveman than Buttler at least though, given that he gets the nod at Somerset.

  • Andrew on September 17, 2012, 23:38 GMT

    @Moppa on (September 17 2012, 11:52 AM GMT) - champagne! I heard the mid-wife thought Ussie had that Steve Waugh gleam in his eye & that was when he was first noticed! @JG2704 on (September 17 2012, 15:39 PM GMT) - judging by some of the comments on this page, you'd almost think the W/Cup has already been won!

  • Dummy4 on September 17, 2012, 23:04 GMT

    How can Cam White still be in this team. he is a useless cricketer. David Hussey is a much better player then him. this is Selection gone mad. Dave Hussey has been our best 20/20 player in the IPL, Big Bash, for Aus, County Cricket. this is ridiculous. White and Bailey in the middle order is our big weakness.

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