Morgan ton guides England past Australia in opener
The much-scrutinised one day series between England and Australia began yesterday at the Rose Bowl, marking the final bout between the sides before the Ashes series at the end of the year.
Many players have questioned the timing of the series and its placement in the cricketing schedule.
There have also been the inevitable mind games flying over from Australia and the even more expected grumblings of disapproval from the England camp.
Australia won the toss and did not hesitate to bat first on a gloriously sunny day and with a considerably weaker bowling attack to protect their first innings total. Shane Watson and Tim Paine, replacing the injured Brad Haddin, got the Aussies off to a controlled start.
Immediately, however, the signs did not appear too encouraging as the pitch seemed to possess few demons. The openers brought up the 50 partnership as James Anderson and Tim Bresnan toiled with the new ball.
The introduction of Stuart Broad however, gave England the breakthrough. His short delivery rushed Shane Watson who returned a catch to Broad.
Tim Paine soon followed as Luke Wright struck in a surprise spell. Ricky Ponting was next to the wicket, like Stuart Broad on the back of a break from the game. However Wright continued to cause problems, forcing Ponting to flick a short ball to Broad at fine leg.
Promoted up the order was Cameron White, but he soon dragged onto his stumps off Anderson for just 10leaving Australia reeling at 98-4. Michael Clarke, on the back of two ducks in warm up games against Middlesex and Ireland, set about rebuilding alongside Michael Hussey.
Spin applied the breaks to a successful resurrection by Clarke and Hussey. On his return to the fifty over scene, Michael Yardy broke the partnership, Hussey edging to Kieswetter. Clarke, with good support from James Hopes (34), helped the tourists pass 200.
A quick-fire 22 from Nathan Hauritz pushed the total to 267 despite two late wickets shared by Anderson and Broad, Clarke ending on 87 not out.
England appeared to be off to a flyer as Strauss hit two boundaries off Doug Bollinger’s first over. Yet the skipper soon departed edging a full Harris delivery to the grateful Paine.
Kevin Pietersen along with Kieswetter put the early loss well behind them playing with typical aggression.
As with Luke Wright in Australia’s innings, it was another surprise spell that made in-roads to the England batting line up. Shane Watson took the wickets of Pietersen and World T20 winning captain Paul Collingwood in quick succession.
In between 19-year-old Josh Hazlewood bowled Craig Kieswetter on his international debut; becoming the youngest Australian to feature for the Aussies in one day cricket.
It was left to two of England’s newest stars to rescue the innings. Eoin Morgan and Luke Wright constructed a pivotal partnership of 95 that kept England in the game when the pressure was well and truly upon the hosts.
Morgan carried on despite losing his partner and was offered support from Tim Bresnan who occupied the crease well allowing the Irishman to continue his signature flamboyant stroke play.
The Middlesex man dominated the Aussie attack towards the back end of the innings striking boundaries to all areas. His mix of power hitting and subtlety were again a highlight during yet another sanitising innings.
Fittingly it was Morgan who hit the winning runs, a straight four down the ground off the impressive Harris to bring up his third one day international hundred from 85 balls and give England a 1-0 lead in the five match series.