Australia beat England with ease

Having won the toss and electing to bat, England’s top order batsmen were looking for a solid start against the in-form Australians.

England had brought Andrew Strauss into the line up at the expense of Ed Joyce, and Bell and Vaughan formed the opening combination in an attempt to weather the new ball.

However, both Vaughan (5) and Strauss (7) were out by the sixth over to identical deliveries from Tait, chopping the ball straight onto the stumps. Kevin Pietersen then came to the crease and he and Bell got England back into a favourable position with a 140-run partnership.

With limited resources at his disposal due to the injured Shane Watson, Ponting used his bowlers well, and delayed the final powerplay until deeper into the innings. McGrath and Tait put pressure on England, and achieved the desired results. With Bell gone for 77 and Collingwood out shortly after, England’s wickets fell at regular intervals.

Not even a lone hand century from Kevin Pietersen could achieve a competitive total for England, and they were all out for 247 from 49.5 overs.

By contrast, Hayden and Gilchrist got off to a flying start, with the first wicket falling in the 11th over with the score at 57, with Gilchrist out for 27. Collingwood then picked up Hayden for 41 with his first ball, and for the first time in the match England were in with a sniff as Australia were 89 for 2.

However, Clarke and Ponting shared a 100-run partnership in 114 balls before Ponting was finally run out for a single that wasn’t there and was out for 86. Andrew Symonds then came to the crease and cleaned up the deficit pretty quickly, and Australia won the match easily by seven wickets.

While the win looks convincing on paper, Australia’s fielding was not at its best. Hayden dropped Pietersen in the 29th over, and this mistake could have been costly. Pietersen and Bell put Australia under genuine pressure in their 140-run partnership. However, the Australian bowlers performed well as a team to dismiss England about 50 runs short of a competitive total.

England can still make the semi finals if they win all of their remaining three matches in the Super Eights. Australia are undefeated in the competition so far, and are just about assured of a semi finals spot.

England 247 (49.5)
Kevin Pietersen 104, Ian Bell 77
Shaun Tait 3-41, Nathan Bracken 3-33, Glenn McGrath 3-62

Australia 248-3 (47.2)
Ricky Ponting 86, Michael Clarke 55*
Andrew Flintoff 1-35

Australia won by 7 wickets

Cricket Web Player of the Match: Ricky Ponting 86 (106)

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