“Hopefully there’s plenty of bounce.”
Anyone can contribute to The Roar and have their work featured alongside some of Australia’s most prominent sports journalists.
Glenn Maxwell and Ashton Agar were the only Australian batsmen to make The Oval scoreboard operators toil for a decent period overnight as England made heavy weather of winning the first of five ODIs.
Maxwell’s 62 and Agar’s 40 stood out in 214 as the Australians failed to bat out the 50 overs by three.
England weren’t too crash hot either in making 7/218 off 44 overs, with skipper Eoin Morgan’s 69 and Joe Root’s 50 the standouts and with David Willey’s unbeaten 35 batting eight the difference, finishing the game with a straight driven six.
New Australian coach Justin Langer got it right when he predicted Maxwell was close to making a big score.
While 62 wasn’t a big score, it was a helluva lot bigger than the 92 runs he’d managed in his last ten visits, with his sixth wicket stand of 84 with the underrated Agar the only bright light.
Irresponsible batting accounted for the rest of the order, leaving Langer with plenty of work to do before the second ODI at Cardiff on Saturday.
Aaron Finch (19), Shaun Marsh (24) and Marcus Stoinis (22) all got a start but threw away their innings by losing concentration when they were looking good.
And why did skipper Tim Paine (12) bat in front of Maxwell? That didn’t make any sense, nor did going into the game a batsman light by dropping opener D’Arcy Short.
Throw in the fact the Australians faced 162 dot balls, the equivalent of 27 overs, so rarely did the Australians place the England attack under pressure, while adding pressure on themselves.
Effectively they scored 214 off 27 overs at a rate of 10.7 an over – that’s more like it.
Let’s face it, 214 was a very ordinary score on a good batting track with a fast outfield in front of a near capacity crowd that was appreciative of the good shots when they surfaced.
The Australian bowlers fared much better, with two vital periods of three wickets apiece to stay in with a sniff.
The first three went for 38 – Jason Roy with a second ball of the innings duck, Alex Hales (5) and Jonny Bairstow (28) – while the fourth, fifth, and sixth wickets of Eoin Morgan (69), Josh Buttler (9), and Joe Root (50) three went for just 10.
So one down with four to go, with the strangest delivery I’ve ever seen deserving of mention. How on earth did Australian paceman Kane Richardson manage to leave the ball behind him on the ground by banging his right hand on his left knee on delivery? Try it – even a contortionist would find that virtually impossible.