Australia hammer England

Australia have continued their utter dominance over England in all forms of the game, thrashing them by 8 wickets in the first ODI.

The major team news ahead of the toss was that Paul Nixon was donning England’s keeping gloves, Monty was getting his ODI debut, and Michael Vaughan was making his ODI
comeback. As for Australia, Brett Lee had still not recovered but Mitchell Johnson had, while Cameron White edged out Brad Hogg. And so to the toss, which Michael Vaughan
won, and he had no hesitation in deciding to bat on what looked like as close to a road as you could get in Australia. He joined Strauss at the top of the order, but Strauss was
soon leaving him after edging to first slip of Nathan Bracken, where Matthew Hayden took a stunning catch, diving to his right, and dismissing Strauss for 12. With the score on 20, Ian Bell strode out to the crease. Meanwhile, Michael Vaughan was looking like he had never left the game, handling the bowlers with ease. However, on 26 with England on 47, the same combination of Bracken and Hayden took care of him in similar fashion. Kevin Pietersen then joined Bell at the crease, and immediately took on the scoring mantle. Bell just couldn’t find the gaps though, and his frustration showed when he tried to clear Mitchell Johnson over mid-off, only to give Mike Hussey the easiest of catches, and thus departing for 15. At 73/3 , Paul Collingwood came in, and looked as lost as Bell was, but he managed to occupy the crease while Pietersen played himself in. This was bad news for Cameron White, as his entry into the attack seemed to be the signal for Pietersen to break the shackles. In his three overs, White got smashed for three massive sixes by KP, and after conceding 27 runs, Ricky Ponting ended that particular experiment. White had already had a horror day, having pulled away from an earlier skier offered by Collingwood because the sun was in his eyes. With the score on 168, the pair looked like making a century stand, but Collingwood skied one to Johnson at long-on off the bowling of McGrath, having made a tedious 43.

Freddie Flintoff then joined KP , and everyone must have been expecting fireworks, but not long after, Pietersen was struck in the ribs by a short delivery from McGrath that he had tried to charge down. He was clearly considerably hurt, and it limited his shotmaking abilities quite dramatically. On 206, he tried to muster up another six , but this time he found Andrew Symonds in the deep, off the bowling of Stuart Clark, and departed for 82. Paul Nixon, making his debut at 37, came and went soon after, lbw to Johnson for a duck, with the score on 207. Jamie Dalrymple added two to the score, but then, with England on 211, he was wrongly given out caught behind to a ball which appeared to brush his helmet instead of the bat. With Jon Lewis walking out to join him, Freddie decided that enough was enough, and started smashing the ball to all corners. In no time England had raced to a slightly more respectable 232, but arguably the most impressive moment of the innings was yet to come. Jon Lewis tried to chip Nathan Bracken over the infield, and must have thought he’d succeeded, only to see Ricky Ponting pull off an incredible catch, clutching the ball at full stretch , completely airborne, sending Lewis back for 9. A couple of Flintoff blows then followed, leaving him not out on 47 off just 38 balls, and England on 242.

England’s start in the bowling department was eerily similar to the Test Series. Memories of Harmison were evoked when Flintoff’s first over went for 11, all of them wides, four of which were certainly the fault of Paul Nixon. Australia and especially Adam Gilchrist needed no invitation to cash in from then on, and they went about blitzing the England bowling to all corners. There was no respite, and Australia’s 50 was up in just 7.3 overs. Soon, the 100 was up, in 17 overs. But one run later, just when it looked like Adam Gilchrist could be on the verge of one of the great one day innings, he fell to an unlikely source, Jamie Dalrymple, tamely edging an attempted cut behind to Nixon. It wasn’t long before his opening partner also departed, Hayden caught behind off Monty Panesar for 28, with the score on 118. Michael Clarke joined Ricky Ponting in the middle, and England knew that it was now or never. Australia though, had no intention of making a game off it, and cruised to the target offering no chances at all, eventually winning with
30 balls to spare. Interestingly enough, they chose not to pursue the bonus point, even though at one stage it looked like quite an easy target as well.

If the result wasn’t bad enough for England, they were greeted by terrible news from off the field, when it became apparent that Kevin Pietersen had in fact sustained a broken
rib cage, and would be out for the remainder of the series. Australia already look to be favourites to reach the final , while New Zealand surely know they will not get a better
chance to join them in a long while.

England 242-8
Kevin Pietersen 82, Andrew Flintoff 47*, Paul Collingwood 43
Nathan Bracken 3-46, Mitchell Johnson 2-36, Glenn McGrath 2-40.

Australia won by 8 wickets

Australia 243/2
Ricky Ponting 82*, Adam Gilchrist 60, Michael Clarke 54*
Jamie Dalrymple 1-38, Monty Panesar 1-46

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