Mon, Jan 31, 2011 - Page 20 News List

England collapse as Australia wrap up series at the Gabba

REUTERS, BRISBANE, AUSTRALIA

Australia’s Brett Lee celebrates taking the wicket of England’s Matt Prior during the fifth one-day international in Brisbane, Australia, yesterday.

Photo: Reuters

Australia wrapped up a morale-boosting one-day series victory over England with two games to spare after a 51-run win in the fifth match at the Gabba yesterday.

Michael Clarke’s team took an unassailable 4-1 lead in the seven-match series after hitting 249 in 49.3 overs and then bowling out the visitors for 198.

“The boys are very excited. It’s great to come back after losing the Ashes Test series and it shows a lot of courage,” skipper Clarke told Australia’s Channel Nine TV. “We still see a lot of room for improvement, so the next couple of games are very important for us.”

Pace pair Brett Lee and Doug Bollinger reduced England to 22 for three, before Kevin Pietersen (40) and Ian Bell (36) combined for a 73-run partnership, but England self-destructed when they still had plenty of overs remaining and two well-established players batting.

Pietersen again succumbed to a rush of blood to the head when he misread a slower John Hastings delivery and spooned the ball to Lee at mid-on to leave his team 95 for four.

Eoin Morgan (2) also threw away his wicket when he smashed Steve Smith straight to Mitchell Johnson at long-off, while Bell chopped Hastings on to his stumps to leave England 103 for six.

Shane Watson then dismissed Paul Collingwood (18) and Chris Woakes (8) in his first over, the 33rd of the innings, to all but end the run chase, despite some final-wicket defiance from James Anderson (22 not out) and Steve Finn (35).

“We thought 250 was very chaseable, but fair play to Australia, they bowled well with the new ball and got early wickets, and it was hard for us to keep the momentum up without losing wickets,” England captain Andrew Strauss said. “Australia have deserved to win this series, but we still have two games to go and need to finish with a bit of a bang heading into next month’s World Cup.”

Earlier, Clarke ended his poor run of scores with a half-century, while the tail provided a late flurry to help the home side post a good total, despite man-of-the-match Woakes claiming six for 45.

Clarke, who had been under pressure, combined for a 65-run partnership with David Hussey (34) for the fifth wicket.

He then needlessly charged Woakes in the 41st over and top edged a simple catch to Strauss on 54.

Clarke’s dismissal left Australia 190 for six, but Smith (24 not out), Johnson (16) and Hastings (13) combined well in the latter stages to set up a victory charge that will give them confidence heading into the World Cup.

The match was also used to help raise money following the recent flooding in Australia.

The floods have swamped the eastern seaboard of Australia, killing 35 people and causing an estimated A$5 billion (US$5 billion) in damage in Queensland alone.

More than A$6 million was raised from the game, with the final figure to be matched by the Australian federal government.

“It makes you really very proud to see the way Australians have got out and responded, from a local barbie [barbecue] ... to some of our biggest companies in the country,” Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard told Channel Nine.

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