Calm, Classy Morgan Guides England To Victory
England 268-6 (Morgan 103no, Harris 3-42) beat
Australia 267-7 (Clarke 87no, Wright 2-34) by four wickets
First One-Day International, The Rose Bowl
Eoin Morgan scored a classy unbeaten century to steer England to a fine four-wicket win over Australia in the first One-Day International at The Rose Bowl.
After Michael Clarke scored an unbeaten 87 to guide Australia to a score of 267 for seven, Morgan won the match and reached his third ODI century with his 16th boundary as England closed on 268 for six with four overs to spare.
England maintained the aggressive approach that had served them so well during the ICC World Twenty20 in the Caribbean as Andrew Strauss (10) and Craig Kieswetter (38) made a good start before Strauss drove at Ryan Harris and only succeeded in edging to wicket-keeper Tim Paine.
Kevin Pietersen survived a strong caught-behind appeal early in his innings, going on to score 29 in 36 balls with four fours but the dismissals of him, Kieswetter, bowled by 19-year-old debutant Josh Hazlewood, and Paul Collingwood, who chipped Shane Watson to James Hopes at mid-on for 11, left England in some difficulty at 97 for four.
However, the ever-cool Morgan, who faced just 85 balls in all, was just the man for a crisis and he had excellent support in Luke Wright (36) and Tim Bresnan (27), sharing half-century stands with both men.
His boundaries came via a variety of shots, the winning hit coming straight down the ground but he flicked, cut, drove and reverse swept his way to his second century since switching from Ireland to England and his second while chasing in a winning cause following another fine effort in Bangladesh in the winter.
Wright was trapped in front and Bresnan bowled by Harris, who was easily the pick of the Australian bowlers with three for 42 but Australia, who turned in a strangely below-par performance, particularly in the field, were nevertheless outplayed.
Earlier, Clarke led an impressive recovery after good bowling early on from England had reduced Australia, who won the toss and chose to bat, to 98 for four. Clarke then hit seven fours on his way to a career-best score in ODI cricket in England, facing 97 balls in all and playing some fluent strokes.
England started strongly with the ball, keeping openers Watson (32) and Paine (26) relatively quiet thanks to tight bowling from James Anderson and Bresnan.
Paine was dropped on 25 by Anderson at mid-on but the miss only cost England one run as Wright's second ball saw him bowled via an inside edge, the wicket coming after Stuart Broad had Watson caught and bowled via a miscued pull shot that lobbed straight back to the bowler.
Ricky Ponting (21) looked in good touch before he hooked Wright into the hands of Broad at deep backward square and the Sussex all-rounder finished with figures of two for 34 to emerge as the pick of the bowlers, although Anderson and Broad both also returned two wickets.
Anderson's victims were Cameron White, bowled for ten, and Hopes, who hit a swift 38 before being caught by Bresnan at short third man.
Left-arm spinner Michael Yardy, playing his first ODI for three years, had Michael Hussey caught by Kieswetter keeping wicket for 28 and the last wicket to fall was Nathan Hauritz, who chipped Broad to Strauss for an aggressive 34 during the batting Power Play.
Josh Hazlewood became Australia's youngest ODI cricketer on the occasion of the format's 3,000th game but it was Morgan who stole the show and after both teams lost four wickets before scoring 100 runs, it was England who held their nerve and prevailed.
The second of five ODIs is in Cardiff on Thursday, 24th June.
© Cricket World 2010