Faulkner heroics leave England scratching heads

James Faulkner, left, and Clint McKay of Australia celebrate their dramatic one'wicket win. Picture: Getty
James Faulkner, left, and Clint McKay of Australia celebrate their dramatic one'wicket win. Picture: Getty
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Captain Alastair Cook admitted the England dressing room was “a tough place to be” after their winless run against Australia was extended by the most dramatic of one-wicket defeats in the second one-day international in Brisbane.

England were on the brink of finally beating Michael Clarke’s side for the first time in 84 days since arriving Down Under, only to be denied by James Faulkner’s unbeaten 69 from 47 balls.

When last man Clint McKay joined the all-rounder, Australia required 57 runs in six overs.

Faulkner responded to the danger with aggression, typical of Australia’s cricket this summer, as he blasted away England’s death bowling.

With 25 needed from ten balls, Faulkner hit Ben Stokes for back-to-back sixes, before smacking the 12 needed from Tim Bresnan’s final over from the first three balls. It meant Australia went 2-0 up in the five-game series, and also that Eoin Morgan’s brilliant 106 was in vain after England posted 300 for eight batting first.

“It’s an emotional dressing room right now and a pretty tough place to be, but when we look at it in the cold light of day, it was an astonishing innings [from Faulkner] that beat us,” Cook told the post-match presentation. “So we did a lot of good things here. Obviously I’ll have to look at our last few overs but I’m proud of the way we got stuck in. But little things needed to go our way and they didn’t.”

Cook did not attend the post-match press conference, with Morgan instead put forward to explain away this latest defeat.

The left-hander attempted to relay the positives of a performance that England did control for long periods – thanks largely to his 94-ball century – but admitted his team-mates could not help but feel they had let themselves down.

“Guys probably shouldn’t be as harsh as they will be on themselves,” Morgan said. “Naturally they will be, but if you look through today’s game we’ve done a lot of things right.

England’s death bowling will come under closest scrutiny and Morgan admitted allowing Faulkner to retain the strike at the end proved fatal.

“We allowed James Faulkner to play like he does, which isn’t part of our plans,” he said. “With a number 11 batting at the other end you’d expect him to face the majority of the balls.”

Morgan also defended Stokes, whose ten overs cost 74, after he came in for punishment at the end, adding: “Stokesy is a good yorker bowler and backs himself at the death. We’ve seen his skill throughout the whole of this summer and what he can do. He’s got endless capabilities, but today he just didn’t finish as well as he would have liked.”