England were in shock. They were probably in meltdown as well. In losing to Australia by one wicket with three balls to spare after the last-wicket pair put on 57, it was entering the kind of territory where you wondered when they might win again.
So disturbed were they by this latest, though not first, setback on this tour that Alastair Cook did not try to explain to the press what might have gone wrong. He has run out of reasons, excuses and apologies by now.
Instead, in came Eoin Morgan, the gallant centurion who had scored one of the great one-day hundreds. No one asked him about that, of course. How, Morgs, did England mess that one up?
"The guys probably shouldn't be as harsh as they will be on themselves," he said. "Naturally they will be, but if you look through today's game we've done a lot of things right. It is quite tough. We let a good side come in at the end and we allowed them to play. We didn't finish as well as we would have liked. We're as surprised as anybody at the result."
England's death bowling will come under closest scrutiny and Morgan admitted that allowing James Faulkner to retain the strike at the end proved fatal. "We allowed Faulkner to play like he does, which obviously isn't part of our plans," he said. "With a No 11 batting at the other end you'd expect him to face the majority of the balls."
Cook's options in the final overs were limited after Boyd Rankin was forced off with a hamstring injury. Morgan was also on the sidelines with a calf problem, and both are doubtful for Sunday's third match in Sydney. The loss of Rankin could be offset by Stuart Broad's return from his break but Morgan's loss would be a major blow. "We'll see over the next 24 hours how I pull up tomorrow and travel to Sydney," he said.
The limited-overs coach, Ashley Giles, has the unenviable task of picking the players up after an eighth consecutive defeat in all formats against Australia – dating back to last summer. England's record number of consecutive losses across all formats is 10 – a figure that is in danger.
"One thing I won't do is scream and shout at them," Giles said. "They're all pretty low and we need to pick them back up, they need to get some energy back. But we need to analyse as well. We didn't quite get it right and we need to learn along the way.
"As long as we're learning and improving, I'll be happy. We were just a hair's width away from winning the game," he added.
Faulkner admitted his mind had been racing at the end. "There was a fair bit. The crowd was quite loud," he said. "I've been in that situation a fair few times, being the all-rounder at the end, and a lot of times I haven't been successful and have stuffed up the game, so it was just nice to get the boys over the line. I thought it was a great team effort to chase down 300."
Faulkner said he started to believe he could pull off an unlikely win when the No 11, Clint McKay, proved he could keep out England's bowlers. Asked if he thought it was over when McKay came in with more than 50 still needed, he said: "It was looking that way, wasn't it? But Clint McKay hung around, he's got a beautiful forward defence and we saw it again tonight."
He added: "When we needed about 30 to win the crowd started to get behind us and I thought we had a real chance. After that we started to hit the fence and everything turned our way."
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