Prime Minister's XI v England XI, Tour match, Canberra January 14, 2014

England claim rare tour victory


England 8 for 264 (Buttler 61, Ballance 56, Muirhead 3-52) beat Prime Minister's XI 92 (Bopara 4-3) by 172 runs

England won a game on Australian soil for the first time since mid-November, although there were still a couple of areas of concern despite the wide margin of victory. Alastair Cook's run of single-figure scores continued and England were in a spot of bother at 5 for 129 halfway through the match but Gary Ballance and Jos Buttler struck fifties before the bowlers dismantled the Prime Minister's XI in 26 overs.

With Mitchell Johnson in line to return for Australia in Brisbane on Friday, having sat out the first ODI, footage of Cook and Joe Root falling to the pace of Brett Lee - 37 years old but still with a click in his heels - will doubtless make the video dossier compiled by Darren Lehmann's analysts. Root followed up a 23-ball 3 on Sunday with 1 off 14 balls in Canberra and, without a half-century since making 87 in the second Test, his form is a cause for concern.

Ravi Bopara was again deployed as England's fifth bowler and he ran through to tail to produce eye-catching figures of 4 for 3 from three overs. The rest of the attack all performed creditably, against a batting line-up that seasoned youth with a couple of experienced hands; Boyd Rankin, Chris Jordan, Tim Bresnan and James Tredwell sharing five wickets.

"It's great to get a win. It's going to be a morale-boost for everyone, no matter who it is against," Buttler said afterwards, his comments reflecting just how difficult this tour has become for England since they beat a CA Invitational XI in Sydney two months ago, in the final warm-up before the Tests.

"There were a lot of positives that came out of today. We got up to a challenging total and put them under pressure straight away with the ball. We had a lot of energy and we really tried to target early wickets and we got those. Everyone is pleased to get a win and hopefully we can take that momentum forward to Brisbane."

As in Melbourne, which ended in a six-wicket win for Australia, Cook won the toss and chose to bat, only to be sent back inside the first over - this time caught behind off a short ball from Lee. Root also did not last long but Michael Carberry, in the side for Ian Bell, steadied the innings with 47, only for another wobble to ensue. Ballance compiled 56, with just three boundaries, and Buttler then added 80 in partnership with Bresnan to help post a competitive total - perhaps aided by Lee only bowling seven overs, due to the heat.

With Steven Finn again left out - his tour remains stuck in a rut - and Ben Stokes rested, Rankin and Jordan continued to lead the pace attack. Jordan made the opening incision, as Peter Handscomb dragged on for 8, and Rankin then struck twice in consecutive overs. When Brad Hodge, another former Australia international in his late thirties, who top-scored with 28, picked out Carberry in the deep trying to slog Tredwell's offspin, the PM XI were struggling on 4 for 58.

Bopara then had a hand in each of the last five wickets to fall, including a run-out, as the end came quickly. The chances of Australia being similarly obliging at the Gabba appear slim.

Alan Gardner is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo. He tweets here

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Andrew on January 16, 2014, 8:50 GMT

    Turning point for England?

  • Richard on January 15, 2014, 14:59 GMT

    If this is what Tony Abbot's XI looks like we need a change of government.....I hope we don't have to see him bowl at some point.

  • Ray on January 15, 2014, 11:19 GMT

    Other than give the good folk of Canberra, the dubious pleasure of watching a poor touring side, what exactly was the point of this match?

  • John on January 15, 2014, 9:54 GMT

    @CodandChips on (January 14, 2014, 21:12 GMT) Dont agree re the Warwickshire connection. Those guys you mentioned have all played very decent cricket in a winning team. However I do agree that Bell and probably certain other players are undroppable in any format

    @Cubey on (January 14, 2014, 21:20 GMT) Buttler is much more exciting than KP these days

    @neil99 on (January 15, 2014, 2:17 GMT) So if Wright is a bits and pieces player then how do you work out Ravi is not?

  • David on January 15, 2014, 9:39 GMT

    As a resident Canberran, I'm VERY glad I didn't pay good money to go and watch this game (tickets go on sale well before the team is announced - I would have tried to sell my ticket if I'd bought one). The side put up as the PM's X1 was disrespectful to the spectator. The days when the PMs XI was made up entirely of players knocking on the door of the test side appear to be long gone. All very well not giving England opposition, but what about the paying public? Not good enough CA.

  • Roo on January 15, 2014, 8:02 GMT

    @CricketingStargazer - agree re the substandard County teams supplied by ECB for many years now against Oz. Actually this is the 1st series in Oz where we have purposely given you an equal return of bad sportmanship - the last series here had some very good opposition teams - which is probably a sign that we have finally got sick & tired of the poor (childish) treatment, but we have also dropped down to the same level, so not overly fond of this change but can see the reasons behind it...

  • Ross on January 15, 2014, 7:51 GMT

    I dare say this game will be seen as the triumph of the tour.

  • Dummy4 on January 15, 2014, 5:02 GMT

    lol rednwhite army. aus picked 4 batsmen a keeper and 6 bowlers and you somehow think this is a reflection of batting prowess. Only one batsman in the entire lineup currently plays SS cricket. Super bowlers youre bunch have.

  • Mark on January 15, 2014, 4:56 GMT

    What a joke 'C' team,I would say 'Z' team.I hope that great win has helped the poms.Please!!!What was the point of playing the game after the first ODI and against a team that may beat a first grade side!!!!!Bowling side was ok but the batting side was nearly non existent!!!!Total waste of time,pommies should have blown up about it.Did Craig Mcdermott pick the team?

  • John on January 15, 2014, 3:05 GMT

    @cricket_ahan on (January 15, 2014, 1:35 GMT), did Bresnan and Rankin not play in the Test matches? Anderson and Broad are both being rested.