England Prevail Despite McKay Hat-Trick
England 231-7 (Buttler 65no, Carberry 64) beat
Australia 227 (Bailey 87) by three wickets
Fourth One-Day International, Cardiff
Clint McKay claimed the 34th hat-trick in One-Day International cricket but ended up on the losing side as England won the fourth match in Cardiff by three wickets.
After Australia were bowled out for 227, McKay removed Kevin Pietersen, Jonathan Trott and Joe Root in consecutive deliveries as England made an appalling start to their run chase.
However, thanks to half-centuries from Michael Carberry (64) and Eoin Morgan (53) they got back on track although it still needed Jos Buttler to hit an unbeaten 65 in 48 balls to steer England home with three balls to spare.
George Bailey had earlier top scored with 87 to help Australia recover from a bad start before they collapsed from 209 for five to 227 all out in their innings.
They would come to rue that collapse as England were able to level the series with one game remaining.
Conditions suited the bowlers early on and Steven Finn (2-43), Boyd Rankin (2-31) and Ben Stokes (1-42) took advantage to reduce the tourists to 57 for four.
Bailey then faced 91 balls with Adam Voges (30) and Matthew Wade (36) offering support before England hit back in the latter stages of the innings.
When Bailey was going well, Australia would have had a score in the region of 250 in mind but as Ravi Bopara chipped in to bowl Voges and James Tredwell came back from an expensive start to pick up three for 53, Australia failed to reach 230.
When England were quickly reduced to eight for three, however, that score looked like it might be enough.
With Mitchell Johnson bowling with extreme pace at one end and McKay nipping the ball about at the other, England's top order faced a severe test. Three of their most highly-rated batsmen failed.
Pietersen (5) was trapped in front looking to play to leg and both Trott (0) and Root (0) offered catches to slip, which were gladly snaffled by Aaron Finch and Shane Watson respectively.
Carberry and Morgan survived this new-ball spell through a mixture of grit, determination and a little luck. One hostile Johnson delivery flew off Carberry's glove and shoulder but fell short of a fielder.
Carberry and Morgan's necessarily patient partnership was an exhibition in restorative batting.
Their 104 runs took more than 25 overs to come but they kept England in the game. Their stand was finally broken when Morgan chopped on to Watson and Carberry fell soon after when he was bowled by debutant Nathan Coulter-Nile.
The Hampshire left-hander had earlier taken a fine one-handed catch to dismiss Wade and batted with increasing confidence as the day wore on to reach his first half-century in an England shirt.
Although Bopara was dropped by Wade off Watson before he had scored a run, he made just seven before James Faulkner dismissed him leg before wicket and at 144 for six, England were wobbling again.
Buttler, though, struck five fours and two sixes, finding crucial support from Stokes, who enjoyed by far his best day in international cricket by making a quickfire 25 in 29 balls.
He was bowled by McKay, who finished with four for 39, to leave England 219 for seven with 11 balls to go but Buttler wasn't hanging around.
After Tredwell (1 not out) gave him the strike, he secured a leg bye from the end of the penultimate over, smacked Johnson for six over midwicket and two balls later secured victory with a boundary to long off.
Everything is to play for at the Ageas Bowl on Monday.
© Cricket World 2013