Eoin Morgan’s determined century spared England embarrassment but could not prevent defeat as David Warner eased Australia to victory with 61 balls to spare in Sydney on Friday.
England went in to their Tri-Series opener with a sense of cautious optimism but left with Mitchell Starc, the Australian pace bowler, taunting: “Hopefully we reopened a few scars tonight” – a reference to the 5-0 Ashes whitewash England suffered the last time they were Down Under.
He went on: “They’re going to have to be out here for a few months now with this Tri-Series and the World Cup [they are in Australia’s group] so there’s no better way to kick off our campaign than getting one above them.”
Despite a high-class 121 on Morgan’s debut as permanent one-day captain, England’s reshaped top order buckled under examination by Australia’s pace attack, with Ian Bell and James Taylor dismissed for ducks in the first three balls of the day.
Warner made short work of England’s underwhelming 234 all out, smashing 127 in 115 balls as the hosts breezed over the line with more than 10 overs left, enough to secure a bonus point.
Morgan admitted the abysmal start his side suffered was “a bit of a shock”. He added: “We came into the game with a lot of good preparation under our belt and within the side we would have had a lot of expectation on ourselves, so we have a lot of disappointed guys in the changing room.
“We’re going to have to dust ourselves off and come back in four days [against India]. Simply, we weren’t good enough to adapt to the wicket and play accordingly. They bowled well up front, but nothing that we shouldn’t be capable of dealing with.”
Morgan is right in saying England have plenty of issues to confront as they head to Brisbane today for the game against India at the Gabba on Tuesday.
Bell’s golden duck, though a little unlucky, undermined his record knock of 187 in the final warm-up fixture, while there will be genuine concerns over the whole top order’s response to the raw pace of Starc and Pat Cummins. That is an ingredient England’s attack appears to lack, though Chris Woakes charged in to claim 4 for 40.
Starc gave Australia the perfect start, with the first ball of the match swinging in to Bell’s pads. Replays suggest there might have been a slight inside edge, but with no DRS the lbw decision stood. There was no doubt about Taylor’s fate two balls later, Starc pitching slightly fuller and winning a second lbw.
A double-wicket maiden was no way to begin the series and when Joe Root nicked Cummins to slip, England slumped further to 12 for 3. But Morgan responded with a true captain’s effort.
It was his seventh one-day century, including one for his native Ireland, but the first in a year. He briefly found a companion in Jos Buttler, but his scratchy 28 never looked likely to become a big score.
Buttler, like Moeen Ali, was out tamely to James Faulkner, while Ravi Bopara played a dreadful shot against the tidy Xavier Doherty. Starc returned to end Morgan’s impressive stand with a miscued pull and skittled Steven Finn first ball.
Morgan’s runs made a game of it, though Australia remained heavy favourites. England, already without the injured James Anderson, held Stuart Broad back until the 10th over of the reply.
That gave Woakes and Finn first crack at the new ball, however with mixed results. Finn shipped 31 in four overs as Warner and Aaron Finch banked early boundaries, but Woakes’ useful spell cost just 13.
He also came up with a breakthrough, Finch dragging one into his stumps. Warner greeted Broad’s arrival by lashing him through the covers for four to bring up the Australia 50.
Shane Watson obliged Chris Jordan by taking on a bouncer and hoisting a steepling catch to Woakes at deep midwicket, but Warner was the key.
Steve Smith supported Warner with 37, clubbing Moeen for six but later gifting him a wicket on the charge. Warner planted Finn through the covers to reach his ton in 97 balls – his first one-day hundred since March 2012.
England took advantage of Australian haste, the impressive Woakes taking out George Bailey and Glenn Maxwell in the same over and Jordan running out Brad Haddin.
Warner fell steering Woakes to point, but Australia got over the line with more than 10 overs remaining.Reuse content