Lizzy Ammon at the Oval
England ( 252 for 4) beat Australia (251 for 7) by 6 wickets
Ball 1: Pat Cummins won’t feature again in this series. It’s very worrying that he has yet another injury at his age and interesting that Steven Finn (who is fractionally quicker) has stayed fit. Cummins is a quite a unit as they say. And his action isn’t as fluid as Finn’s. He puts a lot of pressure on his body but equally – is he being managed properly?
Ball 2: On a flat pitch, England did well to restrict Australia to a below par 251 particularly in the absence of James Anderson and with more extras and dropped catches than we are used to from the current England team. Tim Bresnan was a little off the boil today and does seem to have lost some of the nip he had before his elbow operation. Pleasingly, as he did at Lord’s, Bopara did his job as the fifth bowler very well. Bowling a length that was hard to get away. England’s strangulation of Australia in the middle overs meant they went for 11 overs without a boundary. Despite wickets in hand, perhaps they left the acceleration to too little too late especially after Bailey was run out by some utterly stunning fielding by Steven Finn.
Ball 3: Ian Bell’s confidence seems to grow and grow and as it does he shows us more and more of the player he always could be. He has passed 50 in three of his last four innings. It was a fine innings for his 75 until he just misjudged the pace of a ball from Michael Clarke. From that position, he perhaps should have gone on to be there at the end and will, I suspect, be extremely annoyed with himself. Ravi Bopara, perhaps unfairly, is in the spotlight. He also has a big opportunity in this series to stake a claim for the number 6 slot in the Test series against South Africa. Today he showed that he could be mentally tough enough to get England home. Particularly after Ian Bell was out, it was important for him not to crumble. Which he didn’t. (I’m ignoring his divvy run out with 2 required). It was the best one day international innings I have seen him play and hopefully will give him some sense of security in the side and thereby the confidence to push on.
Ball 4: A word about Steven Finn – he’ll probably never be more than a number 10 batsman but his fielding standards are incredibly high – he particularly impresses because his height makes it much harder for him to do the swooping fielding we saw from him today. And his limited overs bowling improves with every match. A couple of prominent Aussies were noted to tweet today that they don’t remember him being this good when England were over there last year. He wasn’t – but it’s incredibly pleasing when you can see improvement with every passing series. If this trend continues (he is only 23), we are going to have quite a cricketer with plenty of international years ahead of him.
Ball 5: Michael Clarke has a bit of a problem. With Mitchell Johnson’s radar being so far off today and David Hussey unable to make any breakthrough, he looked very short of options. Although it was a good decision to bring himself on. I think he underbowls himself although that might be because of back problems. There are problems across all 3 disciplines in this Australian team and they clearly aren’t quite sure what their best XI is. (although it’s clear it probably doesn’t contain Steve Smith). The simple fact is that player for player they just don’t match England in talent although they are full of the determination we are used to from Australians.
Ball 6: Despite this not being England’s most convincing all round performance, it was still a win and an easy one at that. There is more than enough in this team for them to have a slightly off day in one discipline and to still capture a good victory. If the series continues along the same lines, we could well be the number one ODI team in the world in 10 days time. Of course, that relies on none of the matches being washed out and this summer you just can’t rely on that.