Australia Close Out Four-Run Win At The Oval

Australia Close Out Four-Run Win At The Oval
Ferguson And White Give England Testing Target
©Action Images / Scott Heavey Livepic

Australia 260-5 (Ferguson 71no, White 55) beat
England 256-8 (Bopara 49, Johnson 3-24) by four runs

First One-Day International, The Oval

England and Australia returned to the venue where the Ashes were so memorably sealed last month and although England got the start they wanted by winning the toss and choosing to bowl first in the opening One-Day International at The Oval, they couldn't finish it off, going down by four runs.

They started well with the run out of Tim Paine for a duck but half-centuries from Cameron White (53) and Callum Ferguson (71 not out) set England a testing target of 261 to win and they fell short, closing on 256 for eight in reply.

Shane Watson scored a brisk 46 in 50 balls and captain Michael Clarke scored 45 in 72 balls, putting on 79 with Ferguson for the fourth wicket.

Mike Hussey (20 in 15 balls) and James Hopes (18 in 11 balls) helped Australia accelerate towards the end of their 50 overs and it was again Paul Collingwood who proved to be England's most effective bowler, taking two for 47 while Ryan Sidebottom was the only other bowler to pick up a wicket, achieved when he bowled Hussey; White also perished to a run out to end his 71-ball innings which included seven fours.

England lost Andrew Strauss early when he edged Brett Lee to White at slip for 12 and were then made to pay as the remaining batsmen got in but failed to go on and make big scores.

Ravi Bopara made a fluent enough 49 in 88 balls but his dismissal, along with those of Matthew Prior (28), Owais Shah, who stood on his stumps after hitting 20, and Paul Collingwood for 23 put England on the back foot.

Brett Lee (1-65) was bowling at his quickest, and Nathan Bracken (0-48) and Nathan Hauritz (2-44) at their wiliest and despite a fine blast of 38 in 27 balls from Luke Wright during the batting Power Play, they had been left too much to do. Wright's dismissal summed up their batting - run out after Lee had bowled a no ball.

Mitchell Johnson finished with the most impressive figures of three for 24, picking up the wickets of Collingwood, Shah and Stuart Broad (2).

Three fours in as many balls from Ryan Sidebottom got the crowd going again and raised hopes of the most unlikely of wins but it wasn't to be, the margin of victory masking the way in which Australia ruthlessly exposed England's many deficiencies in the shorter format of the game.

England did at least manage to take the game down to the wire, 13 runs needed from the final six balls but as Australia have recent experience of closing out such games, England, despite a final flourish from Adil Rashid, who finished unbeaten on 31 in 23 balls, were always second favourites once it got tight.

After leaving a delivery that he thought would be a wide, Sidebottom needed to hit Bracken for a six off the final ball. No one's money was on the Yorkshireman and Bracken duly delivered a yorker that he could only play into the off side for a single.

© Cricket World 2009

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