Wednesday 12 January 2011 

Woakes Holds Nerve To Clinch Last-Ball Victory

Woakes Holds Nerve To Clinch Last-Ball Victory
Woakes Holds Nerve To Clinch Last-Ball Victory
© REUTERS/David Gray (AUSTRALIA - Tags: SPORT CRICKET) Picture Supplied by Action Images
 

England 158-9 (Morgan 43, Watson 4-15) beat
Australia 157-4 (Watson 59, Yardy 2-28) by one wicket
First Twenty20 International, Adelaide

England set a new record of eight consecutive Twenty20 International victories but they were made to work exceptionally hard by Australia in the first of two matches in Adelaide.

Australia set England 158 to win thanks to Shane Watson's belligerent half-century and he then took four for 15 before England snuck home from the final ball - debutant Chris Woakes hitting him through the onside for the winning run.

They had batted with fluency at the start of the innings before Australia hit back with Watson, Brett Lee and Shaun Tait prominent.

Ian Bell (27 in 17 balls) was given two chances when Stephen O'Keefe and David Warner spilled catches off Tait but he played some beautiful strokes, hitting four fours and a six before he was finally caught by Steve Smith off Mitchell Johnson.

Steve Davies (4) fell early to Lee but that brought together Kevin Pietersen and Bell, Pietersen hammering 25 in ten balls, including greeting O'Keefe into the attack by hitting him for four and then six. His third ball, however, saw him caught at mid-off by David Hussey and England, as is so often becoming the case, were reliant on Eoin Morgan.

Yet again, he played the key innings, making 43 in 33 balls with typical invention, precision placement and hard running but his dismissal, caught by Hussey off Watson, precipitated a collapse.

Watson struck again with his next ball to have Michael Yardy caught by Tim Paine and when he had Tim Bresnan caught by Lee for 11, the game was in the balance.

England needed 15 in 12 balls but a combination of Woakes and Graeme Swann managed to take 11 runs, Woakes slamming a full delivery through cover for a vital boundary.

Watson, called upon to bowl the final over, grabbed his fourth wicket when he bowled Swann with the first ball but after Ajmal Shahzad played out two dot balls and stole a single, it was over to Woakes.

With three required from two balls, he drove Watson to point for a couple to level the scores and then lofted him over the infield to clinch the victory and continue England's winning run on the tour.

Woakes, who also hammered Tait for a big six over midwicket earlier in his innings, finished unbeaten on 19 in 15 balls to cap a fine game in which he also picked up one for 34 with the ball.

Earlier, England bowled with discipline but missed some chances in the field during Australia's innings, Yardy finishing as the pick of the bowlers with figures of two for 28.

However, 157 appeared to be a little short of where they might have expected to be as when David Warner (30) and Watson (59) were blazing away at the top of the order, any score seemed possible.

Warner made his runs from 28 balls and Watson thumped six fours and three sixes as he faced just 31 deliveries, taking full advantage of Pietersen missing a chance to catch him in the deep.

Yardy dismissed both, having Warner caught by Shahzad and bowling Watson while fellow spinner Swann fared poorer initially, his first over going for 26 runs - although he did pull things back impressively to bowl his four overs for 40.

Hussey (28) and White (6) struggled to maintain the scoring rate as England hit back in the middle overs and White's first innings as captain ended when he holed out to Pietersen to give Woakes his first wicket in international cricket.

After Hussey was bowled by Bresnan, debutant Aaron Finch and Smith both finished unbeaten on 15, Smith cheekily reverse-hitting Shahzad over third man in the final over for a late boundary.

The second match in Melbourne is on 14th January.

© Cricket World 2011