Australia set England 279 to win

Published: Sunday 1st February 2015 by The News Editor

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Australia set England 279 to win the Tri-Series final at the WACA, with Glenn Maxwell’s 95 and James Faulkner’s brutal half-century providing the first-innings backbone.

England began impressively after inserting the hosts, with Australia 60 for four in the 18th over.

But a fifth-wicket stand of 141 between Maxwell and Mitch Marsh (60) put the game firmly in the balance.

Maxwell was denied a maiden international hundred by three-wicket Stuart Broad but Faulkner ensured his work was not in vain, clubbing 50 not out in just 24 balls at the end.

England’s Chris Woakes was a prime target for both men, shipping 89 runs in 10 wicketless overs.

The tourists were well on top in the opening skirmishes, James Anderson turning in a wonderful opening spell of two for 11 in six overs.

He might have had Aaron Finch with the first ball of the match, but a suspected thin edge went undetected in the middle.

There was no doubt two deliveries later when Finch nicked a well-pitched outswinger cleanly to first slip.

David Warner was only moderately more successful, managing 12 before spraying Anderson to backward point.

A measure of extra bounce had done for Warner and he walked away with an accusatory look at the pitch.

That brought together Steve Smith and George Bailey, two men in wildly different form.

Smith got going instantly, timing the ball immaculately as he has done for most of the last six months, but Bailey groped haplessly at the other end.

Bailey took 16 balls to get off the mark and fell to 17th, fending a Stuart Broad bumper straight to the waiting short-leg.

Smith raced to 40, exactly two thirds of his team’s total, before lapsing against the fourth ball of Moeen Ali’s spin.

Smith advanced down the wicket, was beaten in the air and stumped at the second attempt as Jos Buttler recovered from a fumble.

Australia required some middle-order steel and Maxwell and Marsh provided it. They batted for the next 23.2 overs at just better than a run-a-ball.

It was slow going initially, Maxwell scoring just five off his first 18 deliveries, but gradually the fifth-wicket pair found their feet.

Scoring became easier as the white balls softened up and the pair soon had a trouble-free 50.

Maxwell was predominantly playing sensible, powerful strokes but dipped into his Twenty20 repertoire with a fine reverse sweep for four to bring up his half-century.

The powerplay was his chance to go hard and he needed no prompting. He swung freely and plundered seven fours, four consecutively from the struggling Woakes.

Marsh had already hit Woakes for the first six of the innings as Australia added 46 runs without loss in the five-over spell.

He finished five short of his hundred, top-edging Broad straight to Buttler going for one more big hit.

That left Australia 201 for five with nine overs left.

Their late push started badly as Marsh was run out by Buttler for 60 and Brad Haddin bested by Broad for nine – b ut Faulkner was in irresistible touch.

He faced only 24 deliveries but finished 50 not out, with four fours and four sixes to his name.

The penultimate over, sent down by Woakes, was butchered for 24 and Faulkner brought up his fifty by flogging the last ball of the innings over the long-leg ropes.

The innings finished at 278 for eight, giving the returning Mitchell Johnson plenty to bowl at.

Published: Sunday 1st February 2015 by The News Editor

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