Australia v England, 2nd Twenty20, Melbourne January 12, 2011

Australia search for that winning feeling


Match Facts

January 14, Melbourne
Start time 19.35 (08.35 GMT)

The Big Picture

Australia's one-wicket defeat in the opening Twenty20 of the two-match series summed up the season that Shane Watson and his team are having. The stand-out performer on either side, Watson added four wickets to his rollicking half-century and was named Man of the Match, but still ended up on the losing side as England squeezed home from the final ball. Such are the vicissitudes of Twenty20 cricket, where victory can often depend upon a slice of luck at the right moment. Australia's morale will not have been helped by yet another loss to add to their recent string of disappointments.

Wednesday's match in Adelaide had the air of a new beginning for Australia, with Cameron White taking over the leadership of the T20 side and Tim Paine acting as his deputy. There were also a few fresh faces, with Aaron Finch and Steve O'Keefe, and the return of a veteran in Brett Lee, but the changes weren't enough to secure the win Australia so desperately need. While they will hope for better in Melbourne on Friday, particularly from a sluggish middle order, England are developing a psychological hold over them that will be hard to shrug off.

The visitors are, of course, world champions in this format, but several members of the team have been relegated to the sidelines for much of the Australian tour. Ajmal Shahzad and Michael Yardy were still more than competent with the ball, however, and Eoin Morgan showed no rust whatsoever as he provided backbone to the middle-order with a fluent 43. It wasn't quite the same story with Steve Davies and Luke Wright, who survived a combined total of four deliveries, and it was left to a nerveless Chris Woakes - on England debut - to see the side home.

It is surely a challenge for both teams to maintain focus on the task at hand with a World Cup just over a month away, but England are on a successful roll and Australia are headed in the opposite direction. The harder task for the hosts might be to re-discover the self-belief that makes all the difference in closely-fought games.

Form guide

(most recent first)
Australia LLLLL
England WWWWW

Watch out for...

Cameron White's tenure as Australia's fifth Twenty20 captain did not start ideally - making just 6 as his side slipped to a narrow defeat - but his brand of clean hitting could light up the MCG. He has had limited-overs success against England before and currently has more sixes than fours in Twenty20 cricket. A natural leader, he will be keen to stamp his authority on his first series in charge.

Steve Davies only faced two balls in Adelaide. It was enough to display both his classy strengths - natural timing and flair through the off side - and weaknesses - needlessly hitting the ball in the air. He is under pressure after Matt Prior's good showing in the Ashes but if he can find some luck early on he may take to Australia's pacey new-ball offerings.

Team news

Australia's power pack of vein-popping batsmen and fiery fast bowlers almost pulled off a win against England, which may be enough for White's side to stick with the formula. If there is a change it may be in Lee being replaced by the young fast bowler James Pattinson, who could start his career on his home ground in Melbourne.

Australia (possible) 1 David Warner, 2 Shane Watson, 3 Aaron Finch, 4 David Hussey, 5 Cameron White (capt), 6 Steven Smith, 7 Tim Paine (wk), 8 Mitchell Johnson, 9 Steve O'Keefe, 10 Brett Lee/James Pattinson, 11 Shaun Tait.

After clocking up another win, their eighth in a row, England will be in no mood to change. Especially as Ravi Bopara is not in the squad to challenge Luke Wright's position.

England (probable) 1 Ian Bell, 2 Steven Davies (wk), 3 Kevin Pietersen, 4 Paul Collingwood (capt), 5 Eoin Morgan, 6 Luke Wright, 7 Michael Yardy, 8 Tim Bresnan, 9 Chris Woakes, 10 Graeme Swann, 11 Ajmal Shahzad.

Stats and trivia

  • If Australia lose again they will set a new team record for the most consecutive defeats in Twenty20 cricket. Though they still have some way to go before catching Bangladesh's unwelcome run, which currently stands at 12.

  • Luke Wright's second-ball 0 gave him the unwanted joint title for most ducks in a Twenty20 career.


"Never in doubt."
Chris Woakes knew something we all didn't in that final over in Adelaide.

"When England needed a big shot they found it."
The same luck didn't apply to Cameron White's Australia

Sahil Dutta and Liam Brickhill are assistant editors at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Martin on January 15, 2011, 8:29 GMT

    @Aussie06; yeah yeah yeah.....LOL. @Marcio; It's been far from silent - moderators haven't let my postings in for some reason.

  • Geertheken on January 15, 2011, 0:20 GMT

    @all the poms: i hope england enjoy their current form...because it aint long before the aussies become just as dominant as they were a few years ago... WATCH out you POMs... the new legends will arise and when they do... the world will yet again fear Australia!

  • Andrew on January 14, 2011, 23:19 GMT

    @ Bunswalla - who did they beat in the T20 final? So it is clear that Eng. are not superior in T20, particularly as the series just completed was 1all. Not very superior! @landl47 - agreed re: selections, Oz have a history of rotation before a W/Cup or Champions Trophy. Before the 07 W/Cup we were thrashed by NZ - several times we were unable to defend scores around 330 to 350! I beleive that the T20 side was selected with the 50/50 W/Cup in mind - (Tait & Lee, D Hussey & maybe Paine). As for your lot - obviously Anderson had better things to do & so too Tremlett. Also - Collingwood is out of form big time & I think he needs to show something in the 50/50 games or retire & join the IPL circus. Also - that 6 hit by Woakes was the cleanest hit I've seen in a long while, (whilst I think he is very talented as an allrounder), I reckon the replay showed he had no idea where the ball was, also his reaction suggested a degree of surprise - either way a monster of a hit!

  • Andrew on January 14, 2011, 12:59 GMT

    Ended up being a grandstand finish. I think Oz were marginally better over the 2 games - I think there needs to be either a one off T20 or 3 match series. This is sort of unfinished. I thought Finch was brilliant & now deserves to be a regular in the Oz T20 side. I still don't think White's captaincy was that great, but if he was responsible for the increase in intensity in the field - all credit to him. D Hussey needs to only be selected in T20s as a bowler batting @ 8, (If he continues to get more overs then O'Keefe & White). This leads me to the side selected, if White (I am a big fan of), is not going to bowl - there are better T20 batters then him. If O'Keefe is only going to bowl 2 overs - there are better options than him - (Doherty). Lee & MJ were brilliant, Tait was good but that wide he bowled was CRAP - could of lost us the match. The thing I was mainly happy about was the fielding was FINALLY at a standard that Oz cricket should be at - & guess what we went onto win!

  • Marcio on January 14, 2011, 12:09 GMT

    The silence of the wombats. All 5 of 'em. What reality are you denying? Do you really think that a team which has players like Sean Tait, Brett Lee, Cameron White, and Shane Watson are out of Engalnd's league. Get real! Two even games supports what I have been saying all along. Australian cricket is not suffering from any shortage of talent, only a shortage of management and leadership. Cameron White will turn that around in the T20 game. Clarke and Ponting need to move aside in the longer formats. As a matter of interest, exactly who in your bowling lineup in T20 inspires your superiority sentiments? Eng has a very good batting lineup, and an ordinary bowling lineup in T20s and 1dayers. They are very beatable. AUS is strong in both departments. Prepare for doom!

  • Martin on January 14, 2011, 8:46 GMT

    @Marcio; "Check Please". Waiter; "Certainly sir - what kind? Reality"? The LLLLL's and the WWWWW's sort of give a clue. @all - don't worry - not many other people know what he's talking about either. But it's FUN isn't it! @Marcio doesn't deal in facts - he deals in wind-ups - best to take his comments in the humourous spirit in which they are intended. Anyway - it's only T20 - so who cares.

  • Steve on January 14, 2011, 8:22 GMT

    Hey 'thebarmyarmy' it's delayed by 3 hours so those of us who work can get home set up a lager or ten and actually get to watch the game bro!!! It's OK for some eh? LOL

  • Jayden on January 14, 2011, 8:01 GMT

    aussies will win no. 2- they got the hitting power in watto, white and warner and also the bowling pace and precision in lee, tait and watto again. aussie aussie aussie oi oi oi

  • Paul on January 14, 2011, 7:03 GMT

    Again Collingwood is to high in the batting order. He needs dropping 2 spots or at least 1 spot.

  • Dummy4 on January 14, 2011, 6:59 GMT

    paine betta bat tonight was a joke that he didnt get a hit in the last game.

  • No featured comments at the moment.