England v Australia: final report from Edgbaston

 

England opened their Champions Trophy campaign with a dominant 48-run victory over Australia on a day that saw James Anderson become his country's top one-day wicket-taker.

The margin of victory at Edgbaston not only gives the hosts an ideal start to their home event but also represents first blood ahead of this summer's Ashes series.

Ian Bell top-scored with 91 in England's 269 for six, but the individual honours are surely reserved for Anderson who now sits three clear of Darren Gough on 237 ODI wickets.

Anderson's return of three for 30 was emblematic of a lean, disciplined bowling performance from England that saw a timid Australia struggle to 221 for nine.

At the innings break the result seemed more precarious, with concerns that England's total might end up short in seemingly benign conditions.

But, against a side who were dismissed for just 65 last time out, they proved unfounded, meaning Jonathan Trott (43) and Ravi Bopara (46 not out) must take their share of the credit for a winning score.

For coach Ashley Giles, meanwhile, the surprise decision to leave out Steven Finn alongside the injured Graeme Swann was justified.

Anderson and Stuart Broad ensured Finn's pace was not missed as they began the second innings with a probing new-ball burst.

The pressure told when David Warner edged Broad behind in the sixth over and Australia crawled to 35 for one at the 10-over mark - 19 shy of England's mark.

Runs were no easier to come by when Alastair Cook introduced James Tredwell and Tim Bresnan, the latter grabbing England's second wicket when Shane Watson was held at gully off bat and pad.

Phil Hughes and George Bailey attempted to rebuild but threatened to get bogged down as 11 overs passed without a boundary.

At halfway, the pair had nursed the score to 93 for two but four balls later Hughes was gone for 30 as Joe Root won an lbw on the back foot.

The returning Anderson, meanwhile, needed just one more wicket to break the record and almost had it when Adam Voges was beaten by a beauty.

Bailey's increasingly assured presence was keeping his side afloat but after 31 overs the required rate breached eight an over for the first time.

Australia responded by taking the batting powerplay and promptly lost three wickets for 16 runs.

First Voges was bowled, undone by late movement from Bresnan, and then Anderson struck twice in an over.

Mitch Marsh was the Lancastrian's landmark victim, thrashing a firm catch to Eoin Morgan at point before Matthew Wade was caught behind.

It was just reward for yet another skilful showing for Anderson, who also sits joint third on England's list of Test wicket-takers.

Bailey's exit, caught off the deserving Tredwell for 55, ended the game as a contest but Anderson still had time to add the scalp of Mitchell Starc.

James Faulkner's unbeaten 54 made sure Australia went the distance, but they will take little heart from that.

The first ball of the match - and, indeed, the Ashes summer - struck a promising note for England, Cook nudging Starc's loosener for four.

Bell survived a run-out scare on nought but he and Cook were otherwise untroubled in an opening stand of 57.

Cook surprisingly fell for 30 when he nicked a standard Watson delivery into Wade's gloves.

Bell and Trott did deliver a big stand - 111 in total - but their 22 overs together included just five boundaries and there was a feeling that Australia were content to allow their steady accumulation.

After an uninvited appearance by 12th man Jonny Bairstow, they upped the run-rate but Trott departed in the process, feathering a wide one from Starc.

Bell approached a fourth ODI century with 16 successive singles but was still nine runs short when, after 115 balls and seven fours, he lost his off stump to Faulkner.

At 189 for three, England were hoping for fireworks from the middle order but they stuttered.

Root managed 12, including an impudent scoop over the shoulder, before chipping Clint McKay to midwicket - the powerplay overs ultimately yielding 23 runs for the loss of two wickets.

The big-hitters Morgan and Buttler then added just nine between them as they buckled under the pressure of expectation.

Bopara was the man to ensure England ended on a bright note, dominating a late 56-run stand with Bresnan and managing the only six of the innings.

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