Australia v England, 1st ODI, Melbourne

Finch hundred sets up Australia win

The Report by Brydon Coverdale at the MCG

January 12, 2014

Comments: 211 | Text size: A | A

Australia 4 for 270 (Finch 121, Warner 65) beat England 7 for 269 (Ballance 79, Morgan 50, McKay 3-44) by 6 wickets
Scorecard and ball-by-ball details

Ehantharajah: England's top order fails to convince

Aaron Finch is becoming Australia's post-Ashes specialist. Four days after the end of the Ashes in England, the teams reconvened in Southampton for the first of the short-form matches and Finch broke the all-time record for the highest Twenty20 international score with 156. This time, one week after Australia completed their 5-0 Ashes clean sweep, Finch became the first Victorian to score an ODI hundred at the MCG as Australia cruised to a six-wicket win with 26 balls to spare.

If England hoped that a change of fortunes would accompany their change of format and clothing, they were mistaken.

Things looked okay for a while. Alastair Cook won the toss and chose to bat, Gary Ballance and Eoin Morgan scored half-centuries to set up a competitive total of 7 for 269. But as the lights came on after the change of innings, it became apparent nobody was at home for England. A straightforward chance went down with Finch on 8 and nothing went England's way from then on.

Finch and his opening partner David Warner put on 163 for the first wicket, a record opening stand for Australia in one-day internationals against England. But they rode their luck to get there; seven times they were fortunate to survive missed catches, run-outs or tight umpiring decisions. By the time their stand was finally broken by Joe Root, England's only spinner as they had left out James Tredwell, the result was more or less a formality.

It could all have been so different had Ballance held on to a regulation chance when Finch, on 8, drove Chris Jordan uppishly to mid-off. Jordan was justifiably frustrated and was again twice in his next over, first when Alastair Cook moved second slip out and the next ball was edged by Finch straight through the new gap, and then next delivery when an lbw shout was turned down; England reviewed and Finch survived on a perilously tight umpire's call.

Finch's fortune continued in the next over when he chipped Boyd Rankin without control up towards square leg, where Ben Stokes dived but was just unable to reach the ball. If that wasn't bad enough, Jordan's next over featured yet another dropped chance, although this was a screamingly difficult one; Warner drove the ball straight back at Jordan, who stuck his left hand out but couldn't make it stick. Five close calls in five overs. It was Australia's night.

It became more so in the 14th over when Warner edged behind off Ben Stokes for 22. The wicketkeeper Jos Buttler claimed the catch and Warner was happy to take his word and walked off, but the umpires wanted to check the low-to-the ground take. The replays were typically open to interpretation, as most are with such two-dimensional views, but it seemed likely the catch was clean. The umpires erred on the side of caution, though, and Warner was called back from near the boundary's edge.

In between all the drama, Finch and Warner played their shots and made use of their luck. Finch used his muscle to score boundaries on both sides of the wicket and straight down the ground. His power was evident from the shot that brought up his fifty from 47 balls, a straight drive off Stokes that crunched into the stumps at the bowler's end yet still had enough momentum to fly away past the diving mid-on for four.

Warner struck five fours and one six, a strong down-the-ground effort off Jordan, and got to his half-century from 59 balls. He survived a run-out chance on 58 when a direct hit would have had him short, but on 65 he finally departed with a high slog off Root that was taken by Stokes at long-on. Shane Watson was bowled by Jordan for a second-ball duck but Finch and Michael Clarke ensured the chase remained on target with a 72-run stand.


Aaron Finch soaks in his hundred, Australia v England, 1st ODI, Melbourne, January 12, 2014
Aaron Finch scored his third international century © Getty Images
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Finch was given a standing ovation for his hundred, the first by a Victorian-born player in any international match at the MCG since Graeme Yallop in 1983, but on 121 he steered a catch to third man off Stokes. Clarke lobbed a catch up to mid-off from the bowling of Tim Bresnan for 44, but George Bailey and Glenn Maxwell comfortably completed the win.

Apart from calling correctly at the toss, the day had also started badly for England when Alastair Cook edged behind in the first over of the game. The bowler, Clint McKay, celebrated like a man playing for his place in the side, which after his struggles on the recent tour of India and having been dropped by the Melbourne Stars last week, he possibly was. But his nagging line and length troubled England and reduced them to 2 for 22 when Joe Root was lbw for a labouring 3 off 23 balls.

Ian Bell looked comfortable before he was bowled trying to slog-sweep Xavier Doherty for 41 and that left Ballance and Morgan to put the innings back on track. Morgan's brisk half-century was entertaining but he lost concentration on 50 and drove a catch to cover off Maxwell, and Ballance played some classy strokes in his 79 but missed the chance of a hundred when he guided a catch to third man off McKay (3 for 44) late in the innings.

Stokes and Ravi Bopara made contributions, Buttler's 34 not out and an unbeaten 16 from Bresnan pushed the total up to 7 for 269 but when evening came, everything went Australia's way. Cook could be forgiven for counting the days until he boards that plane home.

Brydon Coverdale is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo. He tweets here

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© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

Posted by sharadgargconnect on (January 17, 2014, 15:20 GMT)

Why dont they play Faulkner at no4 or no5. he is the real match winner in terms of batting. He can make 150-200 runs in an innings in odi at ease. He plays at a strike rate above 150. Its high time that Australia should play

1. Finch 2.Warner 3. Faulkner 4.Bailey 5.Maxwell 6.Watson at the top of the innings. They can keep 7. Clarke, 8. Marsh 9. Haddin for bottom.

If australian top order doesnt make runs then three will come into play.

Posted by   on (January 14, 2014, 1:34 GMT)

I detest these sorts of articles. The number of luckless games Australia have played where opponents have an endless series of lucky moments (including Ashes test matches in England recently!) and not a comment from anyone about it. But as soon as some Australian cricketers have a bit of luck, that's all you hear about. Seriously? A ball lobbed up and fell short of a fielder? Wow! Poor England!

Posted by   on (January 13, 2014, 22:39 GMT)

@Meety, I think you are wrong, England had the wrong attitude completely. After their start they were NEVER going to post a competitive score. I think they need guys like Bopara, Wright, Hales, KP, Carberry and Lumb in the top three, blokes who will challenge the bowling without the fear of getting out. It's no good letting blokes like McKay just bowl at you because he'll simply take 2-35 every time. These guys have to attack from the outset, look to score 60-70 off the first ten and then have Bell and Morgan in the middle order to accumulate, lets face it, Faulkner, Maxwell, Doherty and Watson would be pretty simple to milk! We've seen for a long time here in OZ that the first 10-15 overs can be a great catalyst for big scores.

@JG2704, well, yes, that is the big problem I guess. Any thoughts as to who, from a coaching perspective could turn it around in the same manner Lehmann has?

Posted by Cricmaths123 on (January 13, 2014, 15:33 GMT)

So Shane Watson failed again. To be honest people are being too harsh on him. Everybody goes through lean patches and some tough times and this is not a good time for him. In India even yuvraj Singh was dropped but then he played a lot of domestic cricket and has regained his form and is in the Indian team. It is the same with Watson. He should just play domestic cricket for some time and then again he will be in good form and score consistently. Till then Australia can try Lynn, Maddinson etc. at no.3 position.

Posted by JG2704 on (January 13, 2014, 12:24 GMT)

@Cpt.Meanster on (January 13, 2014, 5:23 GMT) I think it's only our test contracted players who the ECB controls. So realistically that means KP and maybe Broad? I don't think the IPL franchises will be interested in any of our other contracted players anyway. Re KP as I said the other day , I'm not sure if he'll do IPL - and it's not that I don't think he shouldnt do IPL. Unfortunately he moaned about the schedule being too demanding as it is which gives ECB a ready made reason to stop him doing IPL. You also have to factor in that the counties will want to have their best players playing for them (if they're not ECB contracted players). I think the biggest factor is that it clashes. IPL wont change for Eng and they shouldn't either and if Eng changed it may mean cramming int series too close together. It also depends on how the player gets on. Morgan in 2012 didnt get a game so I don't think that does any player good.

Posted by JG2704 on (January 13, 2014, 12:24 GMT)

@Meety - Hello. You say about the problem is and then list several.Big words I know but I compare Jos to a young KP in terms of flamboyance, ability and firepower. Look at the guy's SR. A scenario as an Aus fan - Your team is behind the game in terms of run rate when compiling a score and you're at the halfway stage. Who do you want to see coming in - someone like Maxwell/Bailey or Vogues/Hughes. Imagine someone like Mccullum,Bailey,KP coming in at number 8 (with less than 10 overs to go) when you're behind the game? How pointless is it not having a powerful hitter with intent at the crease when you have a powerplay coming up? You say about Bres coming it at 9 and yes he did a decent job but if you depend too much on Buttler and the lower order pulling off miracles all the time you're going to be in trouble. From the position Buttler came into the crease and the position where Bres joined him 269 was as good as we could have hoped for and it still proved way short

Posted by rickyvoncanterbury on (January 13, 2014, 11:50 GMT)

@ Micky.Panda Giving myself time to reflect there are some blokes who were unlucky to miss my team, Cutting and Voges are but 2, re Doherty I have always been looking for someone to replace him and only god knows why... he performs... but I would not be unhappy with Lyon, SOK or Hoggy (cannot see it ) re Smith I just think the selectors would love to get him in there as the possible successor to pup.

Posted by ThirteenthMan on (January 13, 2014, 11:21 GMT)

There must be a strong case for resting Al Cook. If he plays next match, I hope he does well but the risk is failure will just heap more pressure on him.

Posted by Micky.Panda on (January 13, 2014, 11:00 GMT)

Not a bad squad, Rickyvonc. I agree that Bird and Lynn are the obvious inclusions at the moment. Nice to see you left S Marsh out of the squad. I agree with that too. He is too slow for the modern game. I don't think Smith is really a short format all-rounder and possibly bats a bit too slow. He doesn't bowl much. Mitchell Marsh is a possible, but I think 3 all-rounders is probably enough. I am not sure about Pattinson. Consider Cutting as he can be an explosive bat too (list A SR 132), and of course Ryan Harris. I think you want a side that will allow good batting right down almost to number 11. Perhaps Bird is not selected at the moment as he is not much with the bat, however his control and wicket taking is good. I would like to see Brad Hogg come back as he is much better than Doherty with both bat and with ball. I am very much against a youth policy. With the right side, Aus should win the world cup.

Posted by JG2704 on (January 13, 2014, 10:40 GMT)

@Cpt.Meanster ctd - I still dont see IPL franchises being interested in our test players.IPL franchises are businesses, not charities and wont pick players unless they thought they could do a job. So right now you look at the test players and who would you (if you were in charge of selection) consider from our test players? If your 1st glimpse of KP was from the last 12 months and you had never seen anything other than that of him would you pick him , purely on what you see? The more I think about it (and again it's not me saying he shouldn't play IPL) the more I think KP wont play IPL 2014 and Eng.He is pretty fragile these days. I reckon he'll stay with England and not do IPL or play IPL at the expense of England.Don't see him doing both. Actually I'm starting to think - with all the unrest - he'll choose IPL above Eng this year although I wonder if he may lose significant earnings (sponsorship/endorsements) if he did that and thet's why he continues for England?

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Brydon CoverdaleClose
Brydon Coverdale Assistant Editor Possibly the only person to win a headline-writing award for a title with the word "heifers" in it, Brydon decided agricultural journalism wasn't for him when he took up his position with ESPNcricinfo in Melbourne. His cricketing career peaked with an unbeaten 85 in the seconds for a small team in rural Victoria on a day when they could not scrounge up 11 players and Brydon, tragically, ran out of partners to help him reach his century. He is also a compulsive TV game-show contestant and has appeared on half a dozen shows in Australia.
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