Match 10, Australia v England

The Commonwealth Bank Series, 2006-07

Peter English

At Sydney, February 2, 2007 (day/night). England won by 92 runs. England 5 pts. Toss: England. One-day international debuts: S. W. Tait; R. S. Bopara.

After nine successive defeats, Ed Joyce - England's tyro opener from Ireland - showed his team-mates the way to beat Australia. Joyce scored a maiden century, full of clean strokeplay and clear thinking. The relief was visible as Flintoff spoke afterwards. The victory had come so easily that England even earned a bonus point, putting them level with New Zealand and, suddenly, into contention for the finals. The sleeping giant had finally stopped snoring. Joyce pulled strongly and drove firmly, collecting ten fours in a patient 142-ball innings that eased the pressures on the remainder of the order. His opening stand of 58 with Loye, who needed three stitches in his chin after top-edging one of his characteristic slog-sweeps off McGrath (he was out next ball), was England's highest in any serious match all tour, and Joyce's purposeful partnership of 111 with Bell was even more important. Australia were without Ponting, who injured his hip in training, while Symonds retired hurt at a pivotal stage with a torn bicep muscle that eventually required surgery and threatened his World Cup participation. Anderson had returned home with back trouble, but Plunkett carried the attack, finishing with three for 24. Gilchrist was deceived by his first-ball inswinging yorker, then Hodge immediately dragged Mahmood on. The recovery was led by Hayden, but when he departed driving to short cover, and Symonds and Hussey joined him in the pavilion within four overs, England headed for an entirely unexpected victory.

Man of the Match: E. C. Joyce. Attendance: 34,928.

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