Aussies crush sorry England to claim a 2-0 series victory

AFP, MELBOURNE, Australia

Sun, Feb 02, 2014 - Page 8

Australia continued England’s miserable tour with an emphatic eight-wicket victory to claim the Twenty20 series with a match to spare at the Melbourne Cricket Ground on Friday.

England only posted 130-9 after winning the toss and the hosts coasted to victory with 5.1 overs left at 131-2.

Skipper George Bailey clubbed an unbeaten 60 off just 28 balls with three sixes and seven fours, while opener Cameron White continued his magnificent series with 57 not out off 45 balls.

England finish their troubled tour of Australia in Sydney today in the final dead-rubber Twenty20 match after losing the Ashes 5-0 and the one-day international series 4-1.

Fast bowler Josh Hazlewood was named man of the match with career-best Twenty20 figures of four for 30 in England’s innings, including two wickets with his final two balls.

“Australia outplayed us fantastically today. They held length pretty well and we didn’t react to that, and the two needless run-outs hurt us in the middle, which cost us getting a decent score,” England skipper Stuart Broad said. “We need to get some momentum from somewhere.”

Australia captain Bailey said his side’s bowlers had set up the win.

Bailey paid credit to Hazlewood and also 20-year-old leg-spinner James Muirhead (one for 17 off four overs).

“James Muirhead bowled absolutely beautifully,” Bailey said.

White posted his second successive half-century in his first Twenty20 international series since October 2012 in a followup to his 75 in Wednesday’s opening match in Hobart.

England won the toss and batted, but struggled on a slow-paced pitch, with wicketkeeper Jos Buttler the top scorer with 22 off 27 balls.

Opener Michael Lumb was out for 18 in the fourth over, caught at mid-on, while Luke Wright fell for a duck in the following over after recalled veteran Brad Hodge took a great catch at cover.

Left-arm paceman Mitchell Starc held a difficult chance at third-man to remove Alex Hales for 16, as Hazlewood claimed his second victim.

England lost four wickets in four overs when the 39-year-old Hodge threw the stumps down from cover to beat the dive of Eoin Morgan (6).

Australia’s fielding was at its athletic best when Glenn Maxwell at midwicket threw to the bowler’s end to run out Joe Root for 18 at 63-5.

Muirhead enticed Ravi Bopara (6) to slog-sweep a catch to the leg-side boundary, before Nathan Coulter-Nile trapped Buttler leg before wicket on 96-7.

Muirhead and Starc (1-19), in his first international game of the summer, were economical.

Tailenders Tim Bresnan (18) and Broad (18 not out) added a 34-run partnership for the eighth wicket.

Hazlewood bowled Bresnan and James Tredwell (0) with the last two deliveries of the innings.