With every outing, this English side continue to grow in stature and this upcoming World Cup will be an ideal opportunity for them to script history. For now, England have tightened the noose around Australia in their own den.
England might have lost the Ashes, but the rejuvenated shorter format side is here to make a statement in the One-day Internationals (ODIs). They are here for revenge and are now on the brink of achieving it. After outplaying Australia in the series opener at Melbourne, England once again dominated the proceedings at Brisbane, winning the contest by four wickets.
After winning the first two games, England are now on the brink of sealing the series. They have been a force to be reckoned in shorter formats and these two outings were just a testament to their supremacy. They hardly looked short of confidence on foreign soil and did well to have two victories under their belt after the Ashes drubbing.
When a team loses a series as big as Ashes, their confidence and morale are bound to get shattered. And same was the case with England. After losing the high-voltage Ashes by 4-0, they had a huge mental barrier to overcome. Although they did have specialists for different formats, but the pressure was always there.
England did overhaul this barrier and came out all guns blazing in the series opener to register a convincing five-wicket victory.
Jason Roy fired with all cylinders to carry his side home in a high-scoring game and was equally supported by Joe Root from the other end. The team clicked as a unit and delivered when all the chips were down. Prior to the start of the ODI series, one could have expected England to test Australia’s Achilles heels. And they rightly did. England have superstars along with incredible depth and stability. In the batting department, England have the likes of Alex Hales, Jason Roy and Jonny Bairstow in the top-order. While the middle-order is stabilised by the likes of Joe Root, Eoin Morgan and Jos Buttler.
The lower middle-order has the firepower of Moeen Ali and Chris Woakes. Add Ben Stokes to this star-studded line-up and it will only breathe fire. Not to forget, they have a pool of fine shorter formats bowler to choose from, which only gives them flexibility.
In the second encounter at Brisbane, English bowlers were outstanding in restricting Australia to 270. Although they didn’t have enough answers to Aaron Finch’s prolific form but did well to tame the other Australian monsters. They picked wickets at regular intervals and whenever a partnership started to look extremely threatening, it was broken.
The pitch had something for the bowlers and Australia did have a good bowling attack. Although a target of 271 looks hardly daunting in contemporary cricket, but it was still a long way to go for England. A bowler of Mitchell Starc’s calibre was always going to be a threat on this surface and the lanky left-arm pacer did bowl to the expectations.
Jason Roy was in red-hot form his early kill was always going to be a boon for the opposition. Starc bowled to a plan and managed to get rid of Roy in the very first over. The pressure was on England after losing their man in form, but there was hardly any need to panic. Hales joined Bairstow at the crease and the duo confronted the Australian attack with immense confidence.
Both the batsmen crossed the 50-run mark and weathered the early storm with some elegance. Joe Root chipped in and continued his brilliant form with an unbeaten 46. Eoin Morgan got a start but failed to convert while Starc was too hot for Ali to handle. Buttler played a nice little cameo of 42 while Woakes proved why he is one of the best all-rounders with an unbeaten 39 off 27.
Yet another English dominance
England chased down the target inside 45 overs and with four wickets to spare. Starc had four wickets to his name while debutant Jhye Richardson had a couple, rest all the Australian bowlers remained wicketless. With two games being lost, the onus of making a comeback is now on Australia and by looking at the way things have fared so far, a whitewash does looks imminent.
Root was the star of the day with a couple of wickets as well some crucial runs. Morgan was dead right with his captaincy while his bowlers backed him up. As of now, England will try to give their best shot to seal the series in the next encounter while Australia desperately need a win to keep the series alive.
With the World Cup closing in, performances like these against a top side will only bolster England. They were red hot favourites for the 2017 Champions Trophy, but a bad day in office against Pakistan cost them dearly. With every outing, this English side continue to grow in stature and this upcoming World Cup will be an ideal opportunity for them to script history. For now, England have tightened the noose around Australia in their own den.