The NatWest Challenge 2005

England v Australia, The Oval

Julian Guyer

At The Oval, July 12. Australia won by eight wickets. Toss: Australia.

Australia won the series with 15 overs to spare. More than half their runs came from Gilchrist, whose blistering 121, with two sixes and 17 fours, took 101 balls. He might not have had the chance to reach a century after England collapsed to 93 for six in 28 overs. The crisis forced them to send in Solanki, making Simon Jones the first man to be replaced under this regulation without playing at all. Solanki and Pietersen doubled the total in 16 overs, but the key innings was Pietersen's, which helped him usurp Thorpe's Test place. An 84-ball 74 contained two sixes - one acrobatically caught by Kasprowicz on the wrong side of the ropes. Earlier, McGrath reeled off 27 balls before conceding his first runs, when Gillespie dropped a simple catch off Vaughan. But even Gillespie's luck turned, with three wickets. Katich replaced McGrath between innings, but was not used; nor were England's ten powerplay overs. Umpire David Shepherd walked off through a guard of honour from both teams after his last international; he had stood in 172 oneday games, and 92 Tests.

Man of the Match: A. C. Gilchrist.

Man of the Series: R. T. Ponting.

© Wisden Cricketers' Almanack