England Hold Off Australia Charge To Claim 15-Run Win
England 272-5 (Morgan 89no, Trott 54) beat
Australia 257-9 (Clarke 61) by 15 runs
First One-Day International, Lord's
England showed admirable fighting qualities and no little skill to beat Australia by 15 runs in the first One-Day International at Lord's.
Their score of 272 for five proved to be enough when Australia, who had been making good progress, were restricted to 257 for nine.
Eoin Morgan cracked a superb unbeaten 89 in 63 balls for the hosts but plenty of hard work had gone on earlier in the innings to set a platform for him to come in and monster the Australian bowling.
The visitors won the toss and chose to bowl under gloomy conditions but England openers Alastair Cook (40) and Ian Bell (41) weathered both early conditions, which necessitated a number of rain breaks, and the early swing offered to the bowlers.
The value of their 74-run partnership for the opening wicket would only become apparent as the game wore on.
Jonathan Trott then made 54 in 70 balls, bulding on the pair's efforts and after Ravi Bopara made 15 and survived a blow to the helmet, the stage was set for Morgan.
Having endured a difficult winter with England and then been forced to prove himself with Middlesex after a fruitless Indian Premier League spell, he looked to be back to something approaching his best.
Steadier at the crease he was unfazed by the experience of Brett Lee, the accuracy of Clint McKay or the youthful exuberance of Patrick Cummins, carving five fours and four sixes as he helped England take 83 runs from the final 10 overs, himself hitting three sixes in as many balls during his knock.
Giving him useful support at the other end - although mainly be getting him back on strike - was Craig Kieswetter, who was caught from the last ball of the innings for 25 in 29 balls.
There is some thought that both men are batting too low in the order. Certainly on the evidence of today's performance, Morgan has a legitamate claim to bat ahead of Bopara but with the ball moving around early, Bell, Cook and Trott were the right men at the top of the order.
As well as England had batted, they had left Australia a task that was far from insurmountable. They lost Shane Watson early when he was caught off the bowling of Steven Finn but David Warner and George Bailey kept the innings moving nicely.
Warner, a man who many in England know plenty about thanks to his switch-hitting and spells with county sides and the Delhi Daredevils, struck 56 in 61 balls while Bailey, relatively unknown to the casual observer, made a fluent 29 in 38.
Both fell to James Anderson as England hit back but Australia were always ahead, until the batting Powerplay proved to be their undoing.
England had used theirs earlier in the game and they got a crucial breakthrough when Finn bowled David Hussey (13) via his shoulder and helmet, the ball bouncing onto the top of the stumps.
Steven Smith fell shortly after for eight, leaving captain Michael Clarke to fend off a resurgent England attack. He added 57 with wicket-keeper Matthew Wade (27) before the latter was run out. Clarke fell ten runs later for a well-constructed 61 in 67 balls when he was trapped in front by Tim Bresnan.
That left the bowlers to try to find the 59 runs needed and although Lee struck a valiant 29 not out in 21 balls with four fours, Australia fell short as McKay (2) and Cummins (4) were exposed long enough to be done for by Stuart Broad.
Xavier Doherty was unbeaten on six at the close. All four of England's quick bowlers took a brace of wickets - justification enough for picking a team with five specialist bowlers.
The second game in the five-match series is on Sunday (1st July) at the Kia Oval.
© Cricket World 2012
Open an account with bet365 today and qualify for up to £200 in free bets with our fantastic 100% Deposit Bonus.