Tait puts foot down as England crash

Fast and furious paceman clocks 100mph to allow Australia to pull away

Nothing in cricket, nothing at all, stirs the emotions like a fast bowler in his pomp. It was true when Frederick Spofforth, the Demon himself, was terrorising English batsmen at the start of international cricket more than 130 years ago and it was true again yesterday at Lord's.

Shaun Tait, from the Adelaide Hills, delivered the quickest recorded spell in the history of the game. It derailed England's innings in the fifth and final match of the NatWest Series and tingled the spines of everyone who watched. One ball was clocked at 100mph, most of the rest were above 95mph.

It went a considerable way (at considerable speed) towards ensuring Australia won by 42 runs despite a valiant England fightback led by their senior player, Paul Collingwood. The series thus finished at 3-2 after the tourists had been 3-0 down. On the balance of play it was just about the most appropriate outcome. Australia were out of the series until Tait entered it for the third match.

For four ferocious initial overs in the sunshine from the Pavilion End, his slinging action, which makes the ball seem as if it is coming from a catapult, was brutally incisive. He took the wickets of England's captain, Andrew Strauss, and their stand-in No 3, Michael Yardy, bowling both of them with frightening pace – officially 95.4 and 96.7mph.

Strauss was trying to play a regulation forward prop but the ball burst through his defences and sent the off stump on a 15-yard cartwheel. Yardy, oddly promoted because of an injury to Kevin Pietersen who was later out for a duck, made the mistake of shouldering arms two balls later to one which moved, rapped him on the pads and went on to the stumps.

If that fatally undermined England's pursuit of 278, Tait was to return later when it seemed Collingwood might be about to conjure an improbable win. Collingwood alone had stood up to Tait and taken him on, pulling him for one six and top-edging him over long-on for another. Drawing on all his bloody-minded experience, England's leading one-day run-scorer dragged his team back into the match. With Tim Bresnan he was stewarding them towards their target. But Tait, thrilling still, was brought back.

Bresnan, until then as poised as a debutante with a book on her head, pushed into the covers and set off for a single. England needed the runs; maybe he was happy to allow Collingwood to see off Tait. If so, it failed to work as Ponting made a direct hit.

With his sixth one-day hundred in view and, who knows, perhaps an England victory after that, Collingwood essayed a drive at another Tait thunderbolt. It was a mere 93.7mph but it took the inside edge of the bat and ricocheted into leg stump.

That really was that. Graeme Swann pirouetted awhile as the match concluded, striking 26 off two overs, making typically merry. But Tait fittingly ended the affair by having him caught in the covers. He had taken 4 for 48.

Tait was called up as an unlikely replacement for off-spinner Nathan Hauritz, who went home to Australia with a foot injury. He happened to be in England playing Twenty20 for Glamorgan and the Australians recognised, belatedly, he might provide the cutting edge they had been missing.

Watching his compelling bursts yesterday, it was obvious that he could have a part to play in the Ashes this winter. But Tait has withdrawn from Test cricket, citing a rickety body. The game at the top level has also played havoc with his mind before now, but what his bowling can do to batsmen's minds was evident from the faces on the England balcony yesterday.

They would, and should, have been disappointed that it came to that. They continue to insist they are a work in progress and precisely reflected their own assessment. Australia were rather let off the hook. Constrained for most of their innings, the tourists were rampant in the closing overs. From 107 for 4 at the end of the 30th, they added another 170. Most of the damage was caused when the second ball was compulsorily introduced after 34 overs.

If England muddled their bowling strategy and failed to bowl with sufficient skill or intelligence, Australia judged it perfectly. In veteran Mike Hussey and relative newcomer Shaun Marsh they found a pair who refused to panic and recognised that the closing overs can yield untold bounties.

The ball was one factor, the batting power play was another. Hussey and Marsh took it at the end of the 39th, giving them five overs to take advantage of the reimposed fielding restrictions. It was what making hay in the sun is about: Hussey made 79 from 60 balls having not struck a four until his 38th ball; Marsh made 59 off 50. It was the best batting of the day after England had bowled beautifully early on.

Neither Swann (eight overs for 32) nor Yardy (five for 19) were permitted their full allocation. Strauss's one-day captaincy is also a work in progress.

Lord's scoreboard

Australia won toss


Runs 6s 4s Bls

S R Watson c Anderson b Broad 14 0 3 26

T D Paine b Swann 54 0 4 90

*R T Ponting c Kieswetter b Broad 15 0 3 27

C L White c Yardy b Swann 20 0 2 31

S E Marsh c Morgan b Swann 59 3 4 50

M E K Hussey c Anderson b Broad 79 2 5 60

S P D Smith c Anderson b Broad 15 0 1 13

J R Hopes not out 12 1 1 3

R J Harris not out 0 0 0 0

Extras (lb 3, w 6) 9

Total (7 wkts, 50 overs) 277

Fall: 1-27, 2-55, 3-104, 4-106, 5-213, 6-263, 7-265.

Did not bat: D E Bollinger, S W Tait.

Bowling: J M Anderson 10-0-75-0, T T Bresnan 10-1-48-0, S C J Broad 10-0-64-4, L J Wright 6-0-32-0, M H Yardy 5-0-19-0, G P Swann 8-0-32-3, P D Collingwood 1-0-4-0.


Runs 6s 4s Bls

*A J Strauss b Tait 6 0 1 11

C Kieswetter c Hussey b Harris 11 0 1 23

M H Yardy b Tait 0 0 0 2

P D Collingwood b Tait 95 2 7 121

E J G Morgan c Marsh b Hopes 9 0 1 18

K P Pietersen b Smith 0 0 0 4

L J Wright c Marsh b Smith 21 0 1 37

T T Bresnan run out (Ponting) 34 0 5 30

G P Swann c Harris b Tait 33 0 5 21

S C J Broad c and b Bollinger 3 0 0 8

J M Anderson not out 5 0 1 4

Extras (b 4, lb 6, w 8) 18

Total (46.3 overs) 235

Fall: 1-14, 2-19, 3-44, 4-72, 5-73, 6-129, 7-194, 8-194, 9-229.

Bowling: S W Tait 8.3-0-48-4, D E Bollinger 8-0-26-1, R J Harris 8-1-38-1, J R Hopes 10-1-42-1, S P D Smith 10-0-49-2, M E K Hussey 2-0-22-0.

Umpires: Aleem Dar (Pak) and N J Llong (Eng).

T V Umpire: R A Kettleborough.

Match referee: J Srinath (Ind).

Australia win by 42 runs

England win series 3-2

Man of the Match: S W Tait (Aus).

Man of the Series: E J G Morgan (Eng).

Suggested Topics
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
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

Refugee crisis: David Cameron lowered the flag for the dead king of Saudi Arabia - will he do the same honour for little Aylan Kurdi?

Cameron lowered the flag for the dead king of Saudi Arabia...

But will he do the same honour for little Aylan Kurdi, asks Robert Fisk
Our leaders lack courage in this refugee crisis. We are shamed by our European neighbours

Our leaders lack courage in this refugee crisis. We are shamed by our European neighbours

Humanity must be at the heart of politics, says Jeremy Corbyn
Joe Biden's 'tease tour': Could the US Vice-President be testing the water for a presidential run?

Joe Biden's 'tease tour'

Could the US Vice-President be testing the water for a presidential run?
Britain's 24-hour culture: With the 'leisured society' a distant dream we're working longer and less regular hours than ever

Britain's 24-hour culture

With the 'leisured society' a distant dream we're working longer and less regular hours than ever
Diplomacy board game: Treachery is the way to win - which makes it just like the real thing

The addictive nature of Diplomacy

Bullying, betrayal, aggression – it may be just a board game, but the family that plays Diplomacy may never look at each other in the same way again
Lady Chatterley's Lover: Racy underwear for fans of DH Lawrence's equally racy tome

Fashion: Ooh, Lady Chatterley!

Take inspiration from DH Lawrence's racy tome with equally racy underwear
8 best children's clocks

Tick-tock: 8 best children's clocks

Whether you’re teaching them to tell the time or putting the finishing touches to a nursery, there’s a ticker for that
Charlie Austin: Queens Park Rangers striker says ‘If the move is not right, I’m not going’

Charlie Austin: ‘If the move is not right, I’m not going’

After hitting 18 goals in the Premier League last season, the QPR striker was the great non-deal of transfer deadline day. But he says he'd preferred another shot at promotion
Isis profits from destruction of antiquities by selling relics to dealers - and then blowing up the buildings they come from to conceal the evidence of looting

How Isis profits from destruction of antiquities

Robert Fisk on the terrorist group's manipulation of the market to increase the price of artefacts
Labour leadership: Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea

'If we lose touch we’ll end up with two decades of the Tories'

In an exclusive interview, Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea
Tunisia fears its Arab Spring could be reversed as the new regime becomes as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor

The Arab Spring reversed

Tunisian protesters fear that a new law will whitewash corrupt businessmen and officials, but they are finding that the new regime is becoming as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor
King Arthur: Legendary figure was real and lived most of his life in Strathclyde, academic claims

Academic claims King Arthur was real - and reveals where he lived

Dr Andrew Breeze says the legendary figure did exist – but was a general, not a king
Who is Oliver Bonas and how has he captured middle-class hearts?

Who is Oliver Bonas?

It's the first high-street store to pay its staff the living wage, and it saw out the recession in style
Earth has 'lost more than half its trees' since humans first started cutting them down

Axe-wielding Man fells half the world’s trees – leaving us just 422 each

However, the number of trees may be eight times higher than previously thought
60 years of Scalextric: Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones

60 years of Scalextric

Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones