Australia v England: Three talking points as Cook’s men FINALLY win
Australia v England: Three talking points as the tourists finally ended their losing streak Down Under on Friday
Better late than never
Pinch yourself, you’re not dreaming – England have won a game of cricket! It had reached the point where it could not get any worse, nothing they could do could prevent them from being confined to the upper-most echelons of England’ s most embarrassing tours. As a result they played with no fear or pressure. The last two months are still collectively among the worst in the country’s sporting history but credit where credit is due, this was a really good performance, albeit against a changed Australia side. How refreshing to see Alastair Cook and Ian Bell going after the new ball at better than a run a ball. They racked up England’s highest first wicket partnership of the tour and it meant that the middle order’s job was not ‘rebuilding’. Eoin Morgan added a useful 33 and proved a perfect foil for Jos Buttler, whose brutal 71 from 43 ensured the target was a daunting 317. Without the likes of Michael Clarke, David Warner and Brad Haddin Australia fell comfortably short and were eventually bowled out 57 runs shy and finally bring a smile to Cook’s face.
Stokes shines again
It was a gauge of the desperation for positives when praise was being lavished on Ben Stokes toward the end of the Test series after one good innings with bat and ball. He had not been consistently outstanding, merely contributed an amount that if you multiplied by eleven would have given England a fighting chance of retaining the urn. Since then, however, he has continued his good work and another man-of-the-match performance means he can be considered a real positive of the tour. Given a solid foundation by the openers, the Durham all-rounder was able to play a steady innings that brought him 70 from 84, including a huge six to take him to his half-century. He then played a valuable part in securing victory with the ball, cleaning up the tail-end to record figures of 4-39 from his nine overs. He is almost exclusive in being able to return home with his head held high.
Finch has potential for greatness
With wickets tumbling all around for him, Aaron Finch almost threatened to continue England’s miserable streak by himself with a century. What a find the Victorian has been. A relatively late find having only 22 ODI’s under his belt at the age of 27, he has wasted no time in cementing his place in the side. His opening partnership with David Warner that is reminiscent of Matthew Hayden and Adam Gilchrist. Warner is a maker of real strokes and has the capability to attack, while with Finch already has three ODI centuries at an average of 36. In T20s he has been a revelation too, averaging over 50 at an unbelievable strike rate of 178. Not a huge fan of quick singles, Finch is the Australian’s answer to Chris Gayle and if he continues at the rate he’s going, he could be looked back on as one of his country’ s great limited overs players.