Match 1, Australia v England

The Commonwealth Bank Series, 2006-07

Peter English

At Melbourne, January 12, 2007 (day/night). Australia won by eight wickets. Australia 4 pts. Toss: England. One-day international debuts: P. A. Nixon, M. S. Panesar.

Defeat for England was all the more painful because Pietersen - one of the few players to have come through the Ashes with reputation almost intact - cracked a rib, which forced him to return home. He had 73 when he went down the pitch to McGrath and was hit on the right side of his chest as he tried to work the ball to leg. He received immediate treatment, and carried on briefly before being caught at deep mid-on, but hospital scans revealed a fractured rib. Pietersen and Collingwood had put on 95, and stabilised the innings after Bracken had removed Strauss and Vaughan. After being relieved of the captaincy, Flintoff showed something like his old batting form, skipping to an unbeaten 47 from 38 balls, but 242 never looked enough. Gilchrist and Hayden put on 101, helped by an opening over from Flintoff that cost 11, all in wides. Sensible batting from Ponting and Clarke, elevated to No. 4 after Martyn's recent retirement, sealed victory with 28 balls to spare.

Man of the Match: A. C. Gilchrist. Attendance: 78,625.

© Wisden Cricketers' Almanack