Rashid's glimpse of the future rubbed out by Australian grit

Australia 260-5 England 256-8

How different it was here yesterday. High summer and jubilation had turned to early autumn and drabness. The transformation was plain in the cricket, in the players, in the crowd, in the occasion.

It is not, of course, possible to win the Ashes every day – two days in the last 20 years has had to suffice for England – but only in the final stages did the first of the seven matches which compose the NatWest Series approach one-day life as it should be known. England who had until then contrived to muck up their pursuit fell short by four runs after scoring 88 runs in the last 10 overs.

Although it was excruciatingly narrow in the end, England had run out of realistic hope after the first third of their innings. They dragged themselves back into it only to lose a wicket or let the run rate become tantalisingly high.

Towards the end Luke Wright injected the home side's innings with joy and false hope, and he is a joyful cricketer. When he was in partnership with Adil Rashid (below) it was possible not only to think that England could snatch an outrageous victory but to see the future. But by then it required a sustained onslaught of the type sometimes seen on flat pitches in sun-kissed conditions. Too many wickets had been lost, too many runs were wanted, it was not to be.

By then, the decision to bowl first taken by Andrew Strauss after winning the toss looked distinctly odd. It allowed Australia not only to put their runs on the board but to assess the circumstances, while England were left to bat under lights at a time of year when twilight mingled with cloud cover.

Australia paced their innings impeccably, recognising the virtue of having wickets in hand to make the best use both of the batting power-play and the final charge in the later stages. Do not under estimate the subtle nuances of the shorter forms of the game.

They scored 82 runs in the last 10 overs, 50 from the last five, 44 in the power-play which fell therein. Callum Ferguson, a slender batsman from South Australia, scored 71 from 75 balls without ever seeming in a hurry to ensure they established a total above the workmanlike.

There is time for England to come back. In a seven-match series there is time to do most things except go on holiday as most of the Strauss's men would presumably like to do having successfully completed the most important task of the summer, the annexation of the Ashes.

There were genuinely good things for England to come out of the match, the most significant of which was Rashid. This was effectively his one-day international debut although the record books will show that officially that was against Ireland last week.

His 10 overs were mature and controlled, belying his 21 years. He turned and drifted the ball and a top-class player of spin bowling such as Michael Clarke was never commanding against him. His batting when it all seemed up for England was also admirable because it combined calmness with aggression. It cannot be long before Rashid is ready to make his Test debut and the selectors will be sorely tempted to take him to South Africa this winter as the second spinner.

It was another atypical pitch at The Oval – as that for the Test match had been – which is to say it was not a belter. England picked both their spinners which may be the way of things to come. Graeme Swann, like Rashid, gave little away and it was not a surface on which the faster men could thrive. All England's three went at five runs an over and Ryan Sidebottom at seven. Nor was it much different for Australia. Brett Lee bowled like the wind occasionally but his nine overs cost 65 runs.

Australia lost only five wickets, two of them to run outs which was illustration of the fact that if it was a pitch batsmen might have found difficult to flourish on it was also difficult to get out on. Of all the batsmen only Ferguson prospered. He made his international debut in February and has now made four half centuries in his 15 matches. He is pleasing on the eye, plays crisply and produced a wonderfully neat reverse sweep towards the end of his innings.

England's main shortcoming in their chase was an old one, a lack of partnerships. Ravi Bopara and Matt Prior put on 61 for the second wicket and were establishing a solid platform when Prior was caught off a reverse sweep at short third man. He was annoyed and he had a right to be.

Bopara failed to reach 50 for the 11th successive ODI innings in which period he has now been out in the forties five times. It begins to look like carelessness and again yesterday he has played with some aplomb before he was stumped, beaten by a regulation ball from Nathan Hauritz which drifted past his outside edge.

These two dismissals made it tough for England. Owais Shah and Collingwood rectified matters a little but then threw away their wickets. Shah, who had drilled the ball at the start of his innings, might have been adjudged unfortunate as he trod on his stumps while turning a ball to leg but Collingwood pulled a short ball to mid-wicket. It became beyond tough then.

The Oval Scoreboard

Australia win by four runs

England won toss


S Watson c & b Collingwood: 46

50 balls 6 fours

T Paine run out (Collingwood): 0

6 balls

C White run out (Swann): 53

71 balls 7 fours

M Clarke c Shah b Collingwood: 45

72 balls 3 fours

C Ferguson not out: 71

75 balls 5 fours

M Hussey b Sidebottom: 20

15 balls 3 fours

J Hopes not out: 18

11 balls 1 four

Extras (b 1, lb 2, w 4): 7

Total (5 wkts, 50 overs): 260

Fall: 1-11 (Paine), 2-93 (Watson), 3-110 (White), 4-190 (Clarke), 5-237 (Hussey).

Did not bat: B Lee, M G Johnson, N M Hauritz, N W Bracken.

Bowling: J Anderson 7-0-35-0 (w1), S Broad 9-1-52-0, R Sidebottom 7-0-48-1 (w3), L Wright 1-0-9-0, A Rashid 10-0-37-0, P Collingwood 9-0-47-2, G Swann 7-0-29-0).


A Strauss c White b Lee: 12

14 balls 2 fours

R Bopara st Paine b Hauritz: 49

88 balls 3 fours

M Prior c Johnson b Hauritz: 28

47 balls 2 fours

O Shah hit wicket b Johnson: 40

48 balls 4 fours

P Collingwood c Watson b Johnson: 23

39 balls 1 four

L Wright run out (Paine): 38

27 balls 4 fours 1 six

S Broad c Clarke b Johnson: 2

5 balls

A Rashid not out: 31

23 balls 4 fours

G Swann c Paine b Watson: 4

5 balls

R Sidebottom not out: 13

7 balls 2 fours

Extras (b 4, w 9, nb 3): 16

Total (8 wkts, 50 overs): 256

Fall: 1-22 (Strauss), 2-83 (Prior), 3-124 (Bopara), 4-161 (Shah), 5-168 (Collingwood), 6-178 (Broad), 7-224 (Wright), 8-229 (Swann).

Bowling: B Lee 9-0-65-1 (w2nb3), N Bracken 10-0-48-0, M Johnson 7-0-24-3 (w2), J Hopes 5-1-14-0, N Hauritz 9-0-44-2 (w4), M Clarke 4-0-19-0), S Watson 6-0-40-1 (w1).

Umpires: A L Hill and N J Llong.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
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

The saffron censorship that governs India: Why national pride and religious sentiment trump freedom of expression

The saffron censorship that governs India

Zareer Masani reveals why national pride and religious sentiment trump freedom of expression
Prince Charles' 'black spider' letters to be published 'within weeks'

Prince Charles' 'black spider' letters to be published 'within weeks'

Supreme Court rules Dominic Grieve's ministerial veto was invalid
Distressed Zayn Malik fans are cutting themselves - how did fandom get so dark?

How did fandom get so dark?

Grief over Zayn Malik's exit from One Direction seemed amusing until stories of mass 'cutting' emerged. Experts tell Gillian Orr the distress is real, and the girls need support
The galaxy collisions that shed light on unseen parallel Universe

The cosmic collisions that have shed light on unseen parallel Universe

Dark matter study gives scientists insight into mystery of space
The Swedes are adding a gender-neutral pronoun to their dictionary

Swedes introduce gender-neutral pronoun

Why, asks Simon Usborne, must English still struggle awkwardly with the likes of 's/he' and 'they'?
Disney's mega money-making formula: 'Human' remakes of cartoon classics are part of a lucrative, long-term creative plan

Disney's mega money-making formula

'Human' remakes of cartoon classics are part of a lucrative, long-term creative plan
Lobster has gone mainstream with supermarket bargains for £10 or less - but is it any good?

Lobster has gone mainstream

Anthea Gerrie, raised on meaty specimens from the waters around Maine, reveals how to cook up an affordable feast
Easter 2015: 14 best decorations

14 best Easter decorations

Get into the Easter spirit with our pick of accessories, ornaments and tableware
Paul Scholes column: Gareth Bale would be a perfect fit at Manchester United and could turn them into serious title contenders next season

Paul Scholes column

Gareth Bale would be a perfect fit at Manchester United and could turn them into serious title contenders next season
Inside the Kansas greenhouses where Monsanto is 'playing God' with the future of the planet

The future of GM

The greenhouses where Monsanto 'plays God' with the future of the planet
Britain's mild winters could be numbered: why global warming is leaving UK chillier

Britain's mild winters could be numbered

Gulf Stream is slowing down faster than ever, scientists say
Government gives £250,000 to Independent appeal

Government gives £250,000 to Independent appeal

Donation brings total raised by Homeless Veterans campaign to at least £1.25m
Oh dear, the most borrowed book at Bank of England library doesn't inspire confidence

The most borrowed book at Bank of England library? Oh dear

The book's fifth edition is used for Edexcel exams
Cowslips vs honeysuckle: The hunt for the UK’s favourite wildflower

Cowslips vs honeysuckle

It's the hunt for UK’s favourite wildflower
Child abuse scandal: Did a botched blackmail attempt by South African intelligence help Cyril Smith escape justice?

Did a botched blackmail attempt help Cyril Smith escape justice?

A fresh twist reveals the Liberal MP was targeted by the notorious South African intelligence agency Boss