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January 29, 2014
Australia 4 for 213 (White 75, Finch 52) beat England 9 for 200 (Bopara 65*, Coulter-Nile 4-30) by 13 runs
Scorecard and ball-by-ball details
'More futile runs for Bopara'
More than 400 runs made for an entertaining start to the Twenty20 series - and a tough night for the bowlers - but Australia were more comfortable winners than the 13-run margin suggested in Hobart.
By the time Ravi Bopara went on a late six-hitting surge, England (who would dearly have loved one of those blows the other night in Adelaide) were out of contention although Australia will have been grateful that they had as many as 4 for 213 to work with.
Their total, on a pristine pitch and with one boundary of barely 50 yards towards the building site, was set up by an opening stand of 106 in less than 10 overs between Aaron Finch and Cameron White. Who needs David Warner?
For a while it looked like Finch would replicate his record-breaking hundred at the Ageas Bowl last year, when he slammed 156, so there will have been a degree of relief from England when he was cut-off for the small matter of 52 off 31 balls but considerable damage had already been done.
White top-scored on his return to the international scene with 75 off 43 balls to strengthen claims for a place in the World Twenty20 squad. He was given a life on 11, when Joe Root was late to react to a low edge at slip off Broad and went on to produce a crisp innings, including four sixes, with his driving over extra cover a particular highlight. Again, a simple fielding error hurt England badly.
England began positively through Alex Hales, who timed the ball beautifully square of the wicket and has good cause to be eyeing a top-bracket IPL deal, but when faced with a target over 200 every lean over sees the asking rate shoot up and the requirement to exploit the Powerplay comes with risks.
Moises Henriques, who is on a plane to South Africa tomorrow, put Australia on course for victory by removing Luke Wright and Hales in his first over. When Eoin Morgan gave himself too much room against Glenn Maxwell it was quickly becoming a lost cause.
It did not take long for Australia to get going after winning the toss. The first six of the innings went to White, when he swung Jade Dernbach over midwicket, but Finch's soon followed and it was timing, as well as brute force, which allowed the ball to sail over long-on. After the six-over Powerplay, Australia were 0 for 52, which did not represent a disaster for England, but the major issue for them was the lack of wickets, which just gave already free-flowing batsmen even more freedom.
Finch's fifty came from 26 balls, the same number as it took him on that heady night in Southampton. Bopara's first over cost 12 and Danny Briggs' 14 as Broad's plan to take pace off the ball had little effect. But it was not just bludgeoning, especially the way White played Briggs with deft deflections and strong sweeping.
The hundred stand came up inside 10 overs - Australia's sixth three-figure opening stand in T20s - and it ended as their third highest when Finch picked out deep midwicket. White had plenty of time to reach his own hundred, but fell in a curious two-ball period against Wright which firstly involved being caught off a waist-high no-ball - checked lengthily by the third umpire - before he was pinned lbw next delivery.
Maxwell appeared more interested in reverse rather than conventional hitting. He nailed one switch hit over deep point for six but fell trying a similar effort off Bopara in an over that cost just three to follow one from Broad that went for four.
It was, perhaps, no surprise that Briggs and Dernbach were among the most expensive bowlers - neither have played any cricket of late. At the toss, Broad said he wanted to show faith in the players who had performed well last year, but the absence of Ben Stokes, especially, was a surprise. Dernbach's first two overs had cost 25 and his last two cost the same (including another full-toss no-ball) as Australia found a late kick just as England threatened to pull them back.
Chris Lynn, who was handed his debut alongside 20-year-old legspinner James Muirhead, launched his fourth ball into the stands and added two more to ensure there was no let-up as the total crossed 200. It was the type of striking that has made his name in the Big Bash League over the last couple of years and another example of the confidence surging through Australia's young players at the moment.
Muirhead, meanwhile, was given a gentler introduction than may have been expected when he was brought onto bowl with England's top order but he had to contend with a boundary that was barely a drop-kick away. He still gave the ball a decent rip as he had done during his tour match appearances and had the joy of a first wicket when Tim Bresnan missed a slog.
Bopara dented a few figures with some meaty blows - his seven sixes meaning both sides hit 11 in their innings - and kept a full house entertained with only the fifth half-century to come from No. 7 in a Twenty20 international but it came too late for England.
Andrew McGlashan is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfoFeeds: Andrew McGlashan
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