Australia cruised to a three-wicket win with 10 overs remaining in the opening match of the Carlton ODI Tri-Series against England at the SCG. England recovered from a diabolical start to their innings to eventually post 234, but David Warner’s blazing 127 off just 115 balls ensured a comfortable victory that wasn’t without its disappointments for the hosts.
Ian Bell fell lbw to Mitchell Starc first ball and James Taylor was dismissed in identical fashion just two balls later, England reeling at 2/0. Joe Root (5) and opener Moeen Ali (22) were gone to Pat Cummins and James Faulkner respectively by the end of the ninth over to leave the score at 4/33.
Cummins channelled Steve Harmison with a wild delivery to Eion Morgan that reached first slip Shane Watson on the full. But it failed to rattle the England skipper, who went on to hold the innings together 121 off 136 balls – including 11 fours and three sixes.
He received little support, however – wicketkeeper Jos Buttler was England’s next highest scorer with 28 – and Starc finished with four wickets and Faulkner three scalps as the tourists were bowled out with in the 48th over.
Aaron Finch (15) and Shane Watson (16) made disappointing early departures, but Steve Smith (37) and a marauding Warner put on 87 for the third wicket before Smith was bowled by Ali with Australia on 158.
In an action replay of England’s innings, Warner received little other support as Australia limped towards the modest target. There were a few jitters towards the end as captain George Bailey (10), Glenn Maxwell (0), Warner and Brad Haddin (16) all exited in the space of 20 balls.
Faulkner brought up the winning runs with an unnecessarily risky and unorthodox shot, narrowly avoiding being caught by Bopara.
Stud of the day
Warner’s match-winning knock was timely. His scintillating Test form has long outstripped his ODI efforts, averaging under 30 in his last 20 innings. It was also just his third one-day ton, and his first since blasting back-to-back hundreds against Sri Lanka in March 2012. While the cricketing world is gushing over the performances of Brendon McCullum and Kane Williamson that have propelled New Zealand into World Cup dark horse calculations, Warner remains the Gilchrist-like trump that can deliver the trophy back to Australia.
When Bell went first ball it was always going to be a tough road back for England.
Australia take on India in Melbourne on Sunday and will be searching for a far better overall batting performance from their top order. India will be eager to break the shackles of an arduous Test series and confirm their standing as one of the favourites for the World Cup.
Warner’s ton was the first by an Australian against England at the SCG, while Morgan posted his seventh 50-plus score in his last 14 innings against Australia.