ENGLAND fell to a 59-run defeat in the first Royal London Series match against Australia as Matthew Wade’s bustling batsmanship proved decisive at the Ageas Bowl.
Australia needed Wade and Mitch Marsh’s unbroken century stand for the seventh wicket to keep them competitive, following their mid-innings stumble to Adil Rashid (four for 59).
Then England’s attempt to chase 305 for six fizzled out under lights as they too lost quick wickets when they could least afford to – their last eight for 94 to end up 246 all out with 4.3 overs unused.
There was a half-century at the top of the order for the tourists by David Warner (59), but it was Wade’s unbeaten 71 from number seven which proved telling after Steve Smith had chosen to bat under cloud cover.
On a pitch of decent pace, and a characteristically quick outfield at this venue, Rashid and the wicketless Chris Woakes were the pick of England’s bowlers. Among their batsmen, opener Jason Roy (67) hit a heartening maiden 50 – but this year’s World Cup winners prevailed again to go 1-0 up with four to play.
Australia reached the 30-over mark on 155 for two. Joe Burns poked a full toss back at Rashid after putting on 76 with Warner. Then Rashid did the trick again with the second delivery of his second spell, Warner giving himself room to drive a googly through the off-side but edging the attempted big hit to short third man. Rashid continued his golden-arm day when Smith hit another full toss straight to deep mid-wicket, and the leg-spinner pinned George Bailey lbw on the back foot. That was three wickets in 19 balls for Rashid, and when Mark Wood got in on the act – Glenn Maxwell caught behind down the leg-side. From the last ball of Rashid’s ten overs, there was another home success – Shane Watson run out responding to a faulty single into the off-side called by Wade, as the tourists’ troubles extended to the loss of four wickets for 29.
But Wade made up for his early own goal in a half-century of rasping cuts and effective scurry which arrived in just 40 balls, after he had taken nine to get off the mark.
Roy and Alex Hales gave England’s reply a highly encouraging start, taking heavy toll of an initially off-colour Mitchell Starc. Hales met a tame end, though, with a pull to mid-wicket off Marsh.
Roy too, after a fine maiden half-century in international cricket went in anti-climactic fashion when he chipped a catch to point in the first over of off-spin from Maxwell.
The recalled James Taylor started with some typically busy shots and running, until he went one short of his 50, bowled by Watson. Starc returned to present more of a threat with the older ball, in a three-over second spell which cost just six runs and also did for Ben Stokes who chipped a catch to mid-wicket. But it was the loss of three wickets for no runs in four balls which stopped England in their tracks. Eoin Morgan gloved behind then Jos Buttler drove Nathan Coulter-Nile to mid-off, and Woakes went first ball to the same bowler to make it 194 for seven. England had no Wade or Marsh to bail them out, so it was game over.
J A Burns c & b Rashid 44
D A Warner c Woakes b Rashid 59
S P D Smith c Stokes b Rashid 44
G J Bailey lbw b Rashid 23
G J Maxwell c Buttler b Wood 15
S R Watson run out 6
M S Wade not out 71
M R Marsh not out 40
Extras (lb1 w2) 3
Total (6 wkts, (50 overs) 305
Fall: 1-76 2-133 3-164 4-178 5-192 6-193. Bowling: Finn 7 0 41 0; Wood 10 0 72 1; Woakes 9 0 57 0; Rashid 10 0 59 4; M M Ali 8 0 37 0; Stokes 6 0 38 0.
J J Roy c Warner b Maxwell 67
A D Hales c Watson b Marsh 22
J W A Taylor b Watson 49
E J G Morgan c Wade b Watson 38
B A Stokes c Burns b Starc 13
J C Buttler c Marsh b Coulter-Nile 4
M M Ali c Marsh b Cummins 17
C R Woakes c Wade b Coulter-Nile 0
M A Wood not out 10
S T Finn b Cummins 10
Extras (lb1 w4) 5
Total (all out, (45.3 overs) 246
Fall: 1-70 2-112 3-152 4-172 5-194 6-194 7-194 8-220 9-232. Bowling: Starc 10 0 55 2: Coulter-Nile 8 1 39 2; Cummins 9.3 1 48 2; Marsh 4 1 35 1; Watson 8 0 39 2; Maxwell 6 0 29 1.
Australia won by 59 runs and lead five-match series 1-0