England have eyes on top of the world


England have now won seven one-day internationals in a row. Win another today against Australia at The Oval and it will equal their record of eight, which they have managed three times before.

Win three more after that and they will have the series 5-0 and be ranked as the world's top one-day side. But that is to get ahead of ourselves. Australia hold the top position at present and, as everybody keeps insisting, there is a reason for that. They have won 10 or more consecutive matches on six occasions.

The home victory at Lord's on Friday was close but thorough. In its way it contained all the components of unswerving one-day cricket.

The batting was given a solid start with wickets being kept in hand, allowing scope for a late onslaught which was perfectly executed by Eoin Morgan.

Thereafter the bowlers did what has come to be expected. There were times when they were punished but they maintained their composure and kept to their plans. The relentlessness would wear down most opponents as it wore down Australia. If you were to be picky (and pickiness is vital given the close-run nature of limited-overs cricket), the fielders missed the stumps with direct throws too often.

According to the speedo-meter, the fastest bowler at Lord's, and perhaps the fastest bowler in the world at present, was Steve Finn.

The 19-year-old Australian Pat Cummins was clocked above 90mph but Finn was quicker than that and looked it, though it is pretty certain that batsmen do not have time to gauge the precise nuances.

Unlike some of his forebears (Fred Trueman springs to mind, as does Shoaib Akhtar, for whom speed was an end in itself) Finn tries hard not to idolise pace. He said: "I didn't take much notice – they bowled quick and they bowled really well but I am not fussed about the speed. I didn't run in and think I wanted to bowl quick. It was nice to turn around and see it at 90 miles an hour, but it is not something that plays on my mind."

But truly rapid bowling still tingles the spine like nothing else in cricket – unless it was the sight of Morgan hitting a Cummins 90mph special straight back over his head.

It is already possible to envisage Finn and Cummins going head-to-head in the next few years, perhaps in the back-to-back Ashes series to be played next year.

Finn first has to reclaim his place in the Test team. He is undoubtedly a better bowler now than when he was last in the starting XI and it undoubtedly helps, as it did on Friday, that there are another three accomplished operators around.

He said: "At the end of our marks everyone talks to each other, everyone passes on their own information that they have found has worked for them in the over before and it is a great unit to be involved in because everyone shares their information. You have to hunt as a pack and bowl as a unit to get results."

Bowling at high speed in the final few overs of a one-day innings may also benefit Finn and England.

The most eye-catching display in the opening match was provided by Morgan with a beautifully controlled piece of powerful hitting.

He has done it before, but the measured nature of it takes the breath away. Finn, who knows Morgan as well as anybody as they have come through age- group ranks with Middlesex and England, put it appositely.

"How he comes up with some of those shots I have got no idea. He is a little wizard."

Suggested Topics
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Life and Style
Google celebrates the 126th anniversary of the Eiffel Tower opening its doors to the public for the first time
techGoogle celebrates Paris's iconic landmark, which opened to the public 126 years ago today
Cleopatra the tortoise suffers from a painful disease that causes her shell to disintegrate; her new prosthetic one has been custom-made for her using 3D printing technology
newsCleopatra had been suffering from 'pyramiding'
Life and Style
Baroness Lane-Fox warned that large companies such as have become so powerful that governments and regulators are left behind
techTech giants have left governments and regulators behind
Arts and Entertainment
Coachella and Lollapalooza festivals have both listed the selfie stick devices as “prohibited items”
Nigel Owens was targeted on Twitter because of his sexuality during the Six Nations finale between England and France earlier this month
rugbyReferee Nigel Owens on coming out, and homophobic Twitter abuse
Arts and Entertainment
Tracey Emin visits her 1990s work ‘My Bed’ at Tate Britain in London, where it is back on display from today
artsBut how does the iconic work stand up, 16 years on?
Caption competition
Caption competition
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

No postcode? No vote

Floating voters

How living on a houseboat meant I didn't officially 'exist'
Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin

By Reason of Insanity

Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin
Power dressing is back – but no shoulderpads!

Power dressing is back

But banish all thoughts of Eighties shoulderpads
Spanish stone-age cave paintings 'under threat' after being re-opened to the public

Spanish stone-age cave paintings in Altamira 'under threat'

Caves were re-opened to the public
'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'

Vince Cable interview

'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'
Election 2015: How many of the Government's coalition agreement promises have been kept?

Promises, promises

But how many coalition agreement pledges have been kept?
The Gaza fisherman who built his own reef - and was shot dead there by an Israeli gunboat

The death of a Gaza fisherman

He built his own reef, and was fatally shot there by an Israeli gunboat
Saudi Arabia's airstrikes in Yemen are fuelling the Gulf's fire

Saudi airstrikes are fuelling the Gulf's fire

Arab intervention in Yemen risks entrenching Sunni-Shia divide and handing a victory to Isis, says Patrick Cockburn
Zayn Malik's departure from One Direction shows the perils of fame in the age of social media

The only direction Zayn could go

We wince at the anguish of One Direction's fans, but Malik's departure shows the perils of fame in the age of social media
Young Magician of the Year 2015: Meet the schoolgirl from Newcastle who has her heart set on being the competition's first female winner

Spells like teen spirit

A 16-year-old from Newcastle has set her heart on being the first female to win Young Magician of the Year. Jonathan Owen meets her
Jonathan Anderson: If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

British designer Jonathan Anderson is putting his stamp on venerable house Loewe
Number plates scheme could provide a licence to offend in the land of the free

Licence to offend in the land of the free

Cash-strapped states have hit on a way of making money out of drivers that may be in collision with the First Amendment, says Rupert Cornwell
From farm to fork: Meet the Cornish fishermen, vegetable-growers and butchers causing a stir in London's top restaurants

From farm to fork in Cornwall

One man is bringing together Cornwall's most accomplished growers, fishermen and butchers with London's best chefs to put the finest, freshest produce on the plates of some of the country’s best restaurants
Robert Parker interview: The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes

Robert Parker interview

The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes
Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

We exaggerate regional traits and turn them into jokes - and those on the receiving end are in on it too, says DJ Taylor