Australia v England, 2nd ODI, Brisbane January 17, 2014

Faulkner pulls off stunning heist

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Australia 9 for 301 (Faulkner 69*, Marsh 55, Maxwell 54) beat England 8 for 300 (Morgan 106, Bell 68) by 1 wicket
Scorecard and ball-by-ball details

Ehantharajah: What have England done to deserve James Faulkner?

Just when England's grim, debilitating tour looked as though it would have a moment of relief, James Faulkner carried Australia to a heart-stopping one-wicket victory at the Gabba with three balls to spare. Left with No. 11 Clint McKay for company and 57 runs still needed, Faulkner calmly turned down singles and backed himself to find the required boundaries, which he did with regularity as he knocked off the final 25 needed in seven deliveries.

He hit five sixes in total, including two in the penultimate over off Ben Stokes (who Faulkner hit for all his sixes), then closed out the match with three consecutive boundaries in the final over from Tim Bresnan to leave England shattered and now facing the prospect of another whitewash. Bresnan appeared to have calmed England nerves with two wickets in the 35th over - Brad Haddin taken at mid-off and Glenn Maxwell swinging to midwicket - but he could not defend 12 when it came to the crunch. That Australia still had three balls only added to the incredulity of it all.

It was a reprisal of Faulkner's heroics in India, when he hit 64 off 29 balls to win the match in Mohali and then struck a hundred from No. 7 - Australia's fastest ever - in a failed chase in Bangalore. His unbeaten 69 here was the third-highest score by a No. 9 in ODIs and his stand with McKay was the second-highest tenth-wicket partnership to win a match.

Australia were in touch with the asking rate for a large proportion of the innings but no one could build the substantial score to give them an anchor. The chase was hit immediately when Aaron Finch, the century-maker at the MCG, drove on the up to mid-off where Gary Ballance this time held the catch, one-handed above his head. However, Chris Jordan's grab, in his follow through, to remove David Warner was even more spectacular and meant that the two batsmen who could have very quickly made a target of 301 look much smaller were back in the pavilion.

Shaun Marsh timed the ball beautifully in his fifty and Maxwell, who hit three consecutive reverse sweeps for four off Joe Root, hammered 54 off 39 balls, sparking Australia's second surge, but wickets were seemingly falling with too great a frequency. No one told Faulkner.

Alastair Cook look shattered afterwards, having less than an hour earlier been within touching distance of a win and a level series. But the pendulum started to swing, even though Australia were nine down, when they got the requirement to 30 off 18 balls. When a team is on a losing streak it is easy to let doubts enter the mind and with each subsequent boundary clubbed by Faulkner the England players started fearing the worse.

Still, a bowler of Bresnan's experience had an even chance of success in that final over, only to see his first delivery top-edged over the keeper then his second pulled through midwicket. The next flew past a diving extra cover, who stayed on the ground as the Australians sprinted on in celebration. England's bowling tactics will be dissected: why did Stokes bowl ahead of Jordan? Could Ravi Bopara have been entrusted with more, having bowled five overs for 19? And can England rely on Boyd Rankin, who had to leave the field with a tight hamstring? At the moment, though, Australia are playing with the confidence that anything is achievable.

They were not at their best for much of this game and, for the first time this season, were rattled while Eoin Morgan, with his sixth one-day international hundred and a brilliant piece of acceleration that will now be lost amid the result, and Jos Buttler added 117 in 11 overs in the most uplifting England batting of the tour. The innings had been drifting nowhere on 5 for 178 but Morgan played with the verve of someone not burdened by previous failures.

He required just 24 balls for his second fifty, hitting five sixes in that period and six overall (including three off consecutive deliveries). He reached his hundred from 94 balls with a ramp over the keeper and celebrated in unusually flamboyant fashion although it was a worrying sight, on top of all England's other woes, when he had to leave the field during the Australia innings with a strained calf.

The full force of Morgan's striking began in the 43rd over when he hammered Mitchell Johnson for a flat six over cover. Another six, a bottom-handed flick over midwicket off Faulkner, landed in the English fancy dress section of the crowd.

Morgan's tactical awareness was on display much earlier in his innings. When he had 1, Morgan spotted that Michael Clarke - who was also the bowler at the time - had one too many fielders outside the ring and took the opportunity for what, effectively, was a free hit. He was caught at deep midwicket, but immediately signalled to the umpire Kumar Dharmasena to check the field and the no-ball was duly called. For a long time it looked like England's fortunes had turned only for them to hit with another sickening blow.

Andrew McGlashan is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Harmony111 on January 19, 2014, 3:51 GMT

    @dunger.bob:

    Yes, I agree. Most NZ wickets are somewhat dual-natured. When conditions are cloudy, they become typically English but when it is bright then they are easy to score runs on, esp with most of the grounds being somewhat smaller.

    For some time I have been sensing that NZ & WI are on their way up but WI have kind of stagnated of late. I still have hopes from NZ, Trent Boult is a very impressive bowler they got. I liked him when NZ last toured India. He showed some passion in bowling. I'd say India have the better odds but you never know with India these days.

    India's biggest problem is their bowling. It often takes one good bowler to make the whole attack invincible, like Mitch did for Aus but India do not seem to have anyone close to Mitch, neither in pace not in attitude. Bhuvi was impressive for a while & India did well in CT-13 thanks to his starts but now there is no one. If only someone could make a magic potion for Ishant Sharma.

  • Harmony111 on January 19, 2014, 3:40 GMT

    @RJHB:

    Well in that case do you promise that there won't be any Aussies commenting in the Ind-NZ matches huh? As a matter of fact, a number of Aussies did comment on the recent Ind-SA matches FYI. Why?

    @LooksPlumbFromHere:

    No one is making any claim of the sort that you mention there but talking about the initial few words of your comment, why don't you (as a group) first do what you preach here to others? I saw hardly any Aus fans saying "Well Played" to India when they chased 350 twice a few months back. What we heard were unsavoury comments from your ilk. The funniest of them was that India were lucky cos the grounds were small. Firstly, then it is Aus's fault cos they should have scored more and Secondly, Nagpur ODI where India again chased 350 had 80 mtr boundaries, nearly as large as your MCG.

    So the next time you ask others to say "Well Played" ask yourself how many times have you used that phrase yourself.

  • RJHB on January 18, 2014, 22:43 GMT

    Ohhhhhhh yawn! What have India got anything to do with this result, this series, this tour, this summer, this country or this discussion??? For goodness sake, we don't care!!!

  • espncricinfomobile on January 18, 2014, 18:41 GMT

    Clean sweep those bunnies Aussie. Apart from Morgan broad and Joyce and I guess bell. It's a really poor looking english side . Root has been found out big time against good bowling. Really needs to be dropped, looks like a school boy against Johnson.

  • LooksPlumbFromHere on January 18, 2014, 15:38 GMT

    @ dunger.bob on (January 18, 2014, 6:28 GMT) Now that's just crazy talk! ;)

    I live in hope for a "well played" where it is due, rather than the "big deal, India are the best" that seems able to be applied to any discussion of cricket. It's a little tedious.

  • dummy4fb on January 18, 2014, 15:07 GMT

    Australia have won series in SA & SRL.How many have India won there

  • dummy4fb on January 18, 2014, 13:47 GMT

    Record of Australia prior to Ashes down under....thrashed by India 4-0 and thrashed by Pommies 3-0...basically 7-0..South Africa won against Aussies 1-0.So Aussie fans thinking beating teams in their own backyard will make Aussies number one again..Think again Aussies.You guys havent won anything in last 7 years.Beware of South Africans the best team in the world

  • JG2704 on January 18, 2014, 11:12 GMT

    @Juice - often said recently that I'd quite like to see a team with NO test players in it. Had Eng retained the Ashes the chances are that the test players would either have been rested or been playing at half throttle (although it's difficult define what half throttle is with some of our batsmen). When losing the Ashes and so heavily the rot is carried over by these players into the ODIs. I'm (like yourself) still pretty bitter about Buttler leaving and I have mixed feelings with how I want him to do.But he is thee most destructive batsman in the Eng side and if Eng use him properly he has the talent to be as big as KP. He is regularly going at a SR of over 100 and is growing in confidence in the side. However if England persist in pigeonholing him at 7 or 8 (or last 5-10) overs he will not fulfill his potential. If Eng are realistically considering Jos as a test player surely they should be giving him longer at the crease? And as I said previously Morgan's urgency levels increase

  • dunger.bob on January 18, 2014, 10:09 GMT

    @ Harmony111 : NZ tracks can be, shall we say, tricky. It's never easy as people think over there. They've got a team capable of surprising the best of them.

    It'll be a good preview for your guys to the conditions they might get in the World Cup so should be a valuable recon mission. .. The closest ground to NZ conditions in Australia is probably Hobart and it's be known to seam around something fierce at times. Expect a bit of that and the Kiwi bowlers know how to use those conditions. They bowled us out sub 150 in Hobart not that long ago. A different set of bowlers, but still clever Kiwi's.

  • Harmony111 on January 18, 2014, 8:46 GMT

    @dunger.bob:

    I have liked your comment most of the times in the past and have even mentioned this at times if you have noticed it.

    Do you notice what is wrong with your comment?

    Aus have won in Aus chasing 300+. Why would the Aus fans ever say that Aus won on a flat track blah blah? Obviously they are going to say that Aus showed tremendous character, Faulkner played a gem of a knock etc. They are going to say that this was a great ODI and this was a great wicket cos it produced a great match.

    It is upto the Ind fans here to show what was said by some/most of the Aus fans in the past. In fact, it is to be noted that no-one here made any mention whatsoever of these things and focused on the knock of JF, who did play well. It is this absence that is what constitutes the shift in stand that I talked about. One set of comments for matches in Ind but abandoning them when Aus do something similar.

    The NZ tour would be quite close. Ind are still to settle & got poor bowling.

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