England once again showed their limited-overs prowess as they cantered home to a comfortable victory by four wickets over Australia in the second ODI at Brisbane to take a 2-0 lead in the five-match series.
Australia handed ODI debuts to Jhye Richardson and Alex Carey as they replaced the illness-struck Josh Hazlewood and Tim Paine respectively.
The hosts were restricted to 270-9 after electing to bat first at the Gabba and in reply, the tourists ran out victors with over five overs to spare.
Here, we look at the good and bad performances which stood in the clash of the two old rivals.
AARON FINCH BECOMES FASTEST AUSSIE TO 10 ODI TONS
Having scored 107 in Australia’s defeat during the first ODI at Melbourne, Finch continued from where he left off as he, along with David Warner, gave the hosts a solid start.
It wasn’t gung-ho attacking cricket from the opening batsman as he looked to build for another long stay at the crease but nevertheless, it kept Australia ticking at a steady rate. Finch was typically strong on the leg-side as he brought up his 10th one-day century and second in succession.
In doing so, he became the quickest Aussie to the mark – taking only 83 innings – to better the record set by his opening partner Warner (85 innings). In the end, it remained the only score of note in Australia’s batting card as they lost their way in the death overs to end up with a slightly under-par total.
JOE ROOT TURNS IN AN ALL-ROUND PERFORMANCE
The England Test skipper has been in great form in the ODI format for the past year or so and would have been gutted to miss out on the ICC ODI team of the year announced on Thursday. He, however, served the cricketing world a timely reminder of his prodigious talent with an all-round show at the Gabba.
Root’s part-time off-spin did the trick on Friday as he trapped Steve Smith on the pads with a delivery that turned in sharply into the right-hander. He then deceived Travis Head with the flight as the Aussie batsman charged down the wicket to complete a fairly straightforward caught and bowled dismissal.
Root then saw England home with the bat, keeping a calm head after the hosts had come back strongly with a clutch of late wickets. His unbeaten 46 off 58 deliveries was just what England needed after suffering a minor collapse.
AUSTRALIA COLLAPSE IN A HEAP TOWARDS THE DEATH
Finch’s century had given the hosts a strong platform to launch away at the death with the score reading 208-3 after 39 overs. However, in their quest to up the scoring rate, the hosts came undone towards the end of their innings with wickets falling in a heap.
After a 85-run stand between them for the fourth wicket, Mitchell Marsh and Aaron Finch departed in quick succession to start Australia’s collapse. The likes of Marcus Stoinis, Cameron White and Carey were unable to apply the strong finish Steve Smith’s men desperately needed as they struggled to accelerate.
Only 62 runs came in the final 11 overs, at the cost of six wickets, as England went into the chase with their tails well and truly up.
AUSTRALIA MISS A TRICK WITH SPIN
On a pitch where England’s spinners had prospered, so much so that even Root chipped in with two wickets, the hosts missed a big trick as they went in with an all-pace attack.
Adam Zampa was dropped for Cameron White and the Aussies dearly missed a slow-bowler to half England’s march on a flatbed in Brisbane. Surprisingly, White was not given a bowl despite his leg-spinning credentials as England pulled away to a comfortable win at the end.
Smith also had the option of using Head’s part-time spin on the surface but opted against doing so as he chose to rely on the pacers throughout the innings.
Seeing the final outcome, the Australia skipper will be wondering if he got his selection entirely wrong on Friday.
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