England v Australia, 4th NatWest ODI, Cardiff September 14, 2013

England feel vindicated in victory


England's new-look one-day side, without five first-choice players, has come in for some harsh dissection in recent weeks. Does it devalue the game? Is the balance right? Are the selections consistent, or verging on stubborn? After victory in Cardiff to level the series, albeit just a single win in the bigger picture, Eoin Morgan was fully justified in his satisfaction at not just the win but the way it came about.

The insistence on a deep batting order enabled England to overcome the shock of a third-over hat-trick and another middle-order wobble to win by three wickets, through a crucial stand by their Nos. 7 and 8 batsmen. Another specialist bowler could well have enabled them to keep Australia to fewer than 227, but the chase will allow Morgan and Ashley Giles, England's coach, to feel some vindication.

"It's hugely satisfying, obviously, our backs were against the wall," Morgan said. "The guys can take a lot of confidence from this game, particularly the young guys coming through."

While the performances of Stokes (with bat and ball), Boyd Rankin and Michael Carberry will help their fledgling England careers, it was no surprise to see Jos Buttler as the central figure in the closing overs. His reputation precedes him on the county circuit when it comes to such skilful finishes and now he is bringing that into the international arena, having been given a run as England's limited-overs wicketkeeper by Giles.

"We were always confident, as long as we were there at the end and took the game deep," Buttler said. "The run rate wasn't too out of hand, and I knew if I was there at the end we wouldn't be very far away. I've played enough cricket now to know when it's getting out of hand. It's just 'pick your bowlers, pick your moments' and hope it comes off in your favour."

Buttler and Stokes, like every young England player these days, have come through the Lions set-up and this stand was another example of the value of that system, as they were familiar with each other - although Buttler acknowledged it wasn't perfect.

"We could have improved on our calling," he said. "We had a few near run-outs. But I think we were quite calm. I've played quite a bit of cricket with Ben, growing up."

Buttler, however, did have his heart in his mouth when he called for a review having been given lbw to Shane Watson on 8. He was not convinced the system would save him, but after chatting to Ravi Bopara decided it was worth a chance, with the match so finely balanced. "I wasn't sure ... It was obviously a big moment, and luckily the review system saved me."

The DRS worked in England's favour a short while later, too, when Stokes gloved a hook shot but was given not out. Australia had wasted their review on a speculative caught-behind appeal against Morgan.

Michael Clarke just shrugged his shoulders - it is not the first time DRS has featured on this tour - and it was clear to him where Australia had fallen short. "We lost five for 18 at the end of our innings, so we needed to make some more runs," he said. "When you only make that many runs, you know you have to bowl the opposition out. We knew we had to take 10 wickets to win the game, and unfortunately we didn't do that."

Andrew McGlashan is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • John on September 16, 2013, 10:41 GMT

    @Anand Vanchion (September 16, 2013, 5:22 GMT) The English team aren't gloating about anything but how was it a hyper lucky win and what decisions are you on about? Clarke was given out and Eng were maybe fortunate that the onfield umpire gave it but it was shown to be clipping the stumps so how is a decision where a ball is clipping the stumps a bad decision. If you are bowled by a ball which clips the stumps you are still out. Re the Buttler reversal - the ball was shown to be missing the stumps so again the correct decision had been reached - so where are the issues here?

    @R_U_4_REAL_NICK on (September 16, 2013, 8:32 GMT) To be fair , you're one of the few who isn't afraid to go against the grain and criticise a player even if you feel it'll be frowned upon by others

  • Martin on September 16, 2013, 9:08 GMT

    @Guernica buttler top scored and arguably England's best batsman on last winter's lions tour. not saying he was playing against quality spin as you describe it , but he showed that in very favourable conditions for spin bowling, and teams who rely heavily on spin, that he can still score runs.

  • Duncan on September 16, 2013, 8:58 GMT

    Very pleased for JB. Loved the way he took it upon himself to get the job done. We don't have many players like that. However, still worried about his technique against quality spinners on slow wickets. This may not be a concern for the next world cup as that's in Australia, but it's something he needs to sort if he is going to be a fixture in the side (same with Jonny Bairstow and Ben Stokes - I'm sure there are more).

  • Nicholas on September 16, 2013, 8:32 GMT

    @JG2704: I've been posting all series I can't stand KP opening. Give me Bell and Cook any day! I'm not too bothered about Carberry being given a chance, but KP at 3 if the openers set a platform, or at 4 if they don't would be the sensible thing to do. You can't teach a lion to eat vegetables; similarly KP is not the best at grafting in short formats.

  • John on September 16, 2013, 7:58 GMT

    @jmcilhinney on (September 16, 2013, 2:46 GMT) Re 8-3 - fair enough but they were similar when opening in the other 2 and Wright was the same when he came in at 3 vs Ireland. I , like many others was really looking forward to some positive intent from opening with KP and Carbs but it's not happening. Bell and Cook have often been criticised on here for the platform building mindset they've shown but I've not seen any criticism for the current pair for doing exactly the same , only with less success. At least with Bell/Cook opening you expect that type of start

  • Dummy4 on September 16, 2013, 5:22 GMT

    Again mindless gloating over a hyper lucky win. Typical of England team and English cricket media. A very crucial toss to win and also getting key umpiring decisions in their favour. With everything going their way, they had to huff and puff like a middle aged guy climbing everest. No wonder they never do anything worthwhile in the world stage when it comes to One day games

  • John on September 16, 2013, 2:46 GMT

    @JG2704 on (September 15, 2013, 19:52 GMT), I agree that opening with KP and Carberry and then having them play like Cook and Bell is silly. As you said yourself, if that's the way they want to start the innings then Cook and Bell will likely do it better anyway. If they're going to open with naturally aggressive batsmen then they should play their naturally aggressive game. That said, I don't think playing too aggressively at 8-3 is a good idea either. Like I said, neither Morgan nor Carberry seemed to be stroking it all that well anyway, so they did fairly well to stay as long as they did and I give them credit for battling to dig England out of a BIG hole. I definitely credit Buttler most of all for the win and he's a deserving MoM but he wouldn't even have had the chance if not for the other two.

  • John on September 15, 2013, 19:52 GMT

    @jmcilhinney on (September 15, 2013, 14:54 GMT) I see why they should get credit for steadying the ship but to me they both lose something by not staying in to bring the RR (Which was still rising down) before they got out. I still think we're missing a trick by not being more positive up front when we are playing a longer batting line up. If we're not going to use that depth to be more aggressive then we may as well have the extra bowler. There's no point in just experimenting with the selection and formation if you're just going to play the same old defensive game

  • John on September 15, 2013, 14:54 GMT

    @JG2704 on (September 15, 2013, 14:29 GMT), I think that you're being a little bit hard on Morgan and Carberry. At 8-3, they had no choice but to play carefully so the RR was always going to rise. Without their partnership, England wouldn;t have got close and Buttler would likely have played another good innings on a losing side. That said, neither Morgan nor Carberry looked especially fluent for most of their innings so, while it was good to see them tough it out, they didn't inspire a great deal of confidence in me at least. Of course, as was said about Bell during the Ashes, runs don't have to be pretty; they just have to be runs. I do agree that it was really crucial for Carberry to stick around once Morgan went though, and his dismissal wasn't pretty. Leaving two new, inexperienced batsman with that task was far from ideal. They were up to the task for the most part though and, if this series is about learning what these players can do, this game was a success.

  • John on September 15, 2013, 14:29 GMT

    For me , this vindicates nothing and I'm not going to give Carberry and Morgan the credit that others have given them. Harsh maybe , but while they steadied the ship , the required RR climbed from less than 4.5 and both got out leaving 2 relatively inexperinced players to get over 100 at just over a run a ball. For me (battingwise) it was a one man show and was won because of that player alone rather than tactics of building platforms etc. At the moment I'd say we should have learnt that

    1 - JB is better than the pigeon holed slogger role Eng seem to have for him and should come in earlier 2 - Ben Stokes has shown enough promise to at least keep him in the shorter formats sides for a while 3 - At present Boyd Rankin looks more reliable than Finn

    For me - drop all the regular test players and build sides/squads for shorter formats where there can be some continuity and you're not resting players for every series

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