Aussies bounce back against England
Quick Ryan Harris and batsmen Michael Clarke and Ricky Ponting led Australia’s face-saving operation in their 78-run one-day victory over England at The Oval on Wednesday.
The tourists finally posted a decent total with Clarke (99no) and Ponting (92) putting their heads down as Australia posted 5-290 from 50 overs in game four of the five-match series.
Chasing 291 to remain on track for a series whitewash, Harris (5-32 in 8.4 overs) bustled his way through England’s batting order as the home side succumbed for 212 in 42.4 overs.
The result ended England’s one-day winning streak at eight but England still hold an unbeatable 3-1 lead heading into Saturday’s final match at Lord’s.
“When you are 3-0 down in our situation today, it says a lot to be able to bounce back and pick yourselves up off the ground and play a game like that today and that is what I am most proud of,” Ponting said.
“We have lost the series, it is nice to play well again and even for me personally to feel that I am back to how I want to play today and the whole team will hopefully take a bit away from that performance.”
England captain Andrew Strauss said Australia’s fightback was not a surprise.
“Australia as you almost expect them to do, they came back hard at us and put in the better performances today,” he said.
“Ponting, Clarke, Ryan Harris were the three excellent performances of the day and that is why they won.”
He said his men were desperate not to slip up at Lord’s despite the clash being another dead rubber.
“We would not want to finish the series 3-2,” he said.
Clarke became the third Australian to be stranded one short of a one-day century and Ponting rediscovered his touch in their telling 155-run third wicket stand.
It was the skipper’s highest international score at the south London venue and he will be happy to have some fonder memories from the ground in which Australia have twice handed over the Ashes under his charge.
During his innings, Ponting (13,057) became the third batsman to pass 13,000 one-day international runs behind India’s Sachin Tendulkar (17,598) and Sri Lanka’s Sanath Jayasuriya (13,428).
The captain wasn’t such a happy camper at the non-striker’s end earlier on when opener Shane Watson (41) failed to convert another start by sweeping spinner Graeme Swann straight to Eoin Morgan in the deep.
That brought Clarke to the crease and he had a life on five, James Anderson dropping a sharp chance off a full blooded drive at short extra cover off Swann’s bowling.
England paid heavily for that miss.
Harris put the skids on the English response by clean bowling opener Craig Kieswetter (12) and trapping Kevin Pietersen (8) in front.
Pietersen has had a lean run in one-day internationals, it is now 15 matches since he scored a half century.
And he was filthy with his dismissal, glaring at English umpire Richard Kettleborough and shaking his head as he trudged off.
Strauss (37) joined him soon afterwards after being caught behind off Shaun Tait but Paul Collingwood (15) had a right to complain about his decision, Smith’s ball striking him outside off stump and appearing to be turning away.
Morgan (47) lifted England’s spirits with consecutive sixes off James Hopes’ medium-pacers in the 27th over but Harris returned to take care of the crafty Irishman.
After slipping to 6-151 in the 32nd over, it was always going to be a tough ask even if all-rounder Mike Yardy (57) did his best.© AAP 2013
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