England goes down in first T20I despite Ravi Bopara’s unbeaten 27-ball 65
Cameron White returned to the Australian Twenty20 International team on Wednesday (January 29) after a gap of 15 months but ensured that it wouldn’t be the last time he turned up in Australia colours.
Dropped after Australia’s loss to West Indies in the 2012 World T20 semifinal, White produced a 43-ball 75 that was the backbone of Australia’s 13-run win over England at Bellerive Oval in the first game of its three-match series.
Bolstered by half-centuries from White and Aaron Finch (52 off 31 balls) at the top of the order and Chris Lynn’s late cameo, Australia, having opted to bat first, posted 213 for 4. Nathan Coulter-Nile then returned career-best figures of 4 for 31 as England was restricted to 200 for 9 in its quota of overs.
White, opening the innings for the first time in his international career, got going from the first ball, but it was Finch who was the more attacking of the two in their quickfire 106-run stand. He flicked Tim Bresnan over the midwicket fence and then cut down Jade Dernbach’s aggression with two fours and a six in three balls. He then treated Danny Briggs to back-to-back fours on the off side.
Finch fell against the run of play when he tried to slog Stuart Broad only for Alex Hales to take a good high catch at midwicket.
White, who had been scoring fluently anyway, shifted gears at that stage to hit 24 runs in 13 balls before missing a full delivery from Luke Wright to be adjudged lbw. White’s innings included six fours and four sixes.
Glenn Maxwell then used the reverse sweep for a four and an attractive six off Briggs, but the shot proved to be his downfall when he perished while attempting it against Ravi Bopara’s back-of-the-hand slower delivery.
Enter Lynn, on debut but no sign of nerves giving that away. He warmed up with a straight six off Bresnan and then hit Dernbach over square leg and into the adjoining construction site before ending with an unbeaten 37 off just 19 balls.
Faced with an avalanche of runs, England’s top order cracked and four wickets went down within seven overs. Coulter-Nile got Michael Lumb to hit a full delivery straight to mid off, Wright played on to Moises Henriques and the same bowler then trapped Alex Hales lbw. Then, off the second ball after the Power Play, Eoin Morgan tried to play Maxwell across the line and lost his stumps.
Joe Root (32) and Jos Buttler (20) added 47 runs in quick time, welcoming James Muirhead, the 20-year-old legspinner, to the attack with a six and four in his first over in international cricket. But Muirhead played his part in sending Buttler back when he caught the batsman at sweeper cover off Coulter-Nile. Soon after that, Coulter-Nile had Root holing out to Finch at long off.
Bopara and Bresnan added 47 runs before Muirhead bowled Bresnan and Coulter-Nile retuned to uproot Broad’s stumps with a low full toss and Dernbach was run out. Bopara’s stroke-filled 65 off just 27 balls, which included three sixes in the final over, only managed to bring down the margin of defeat.
The next game will be played in Melbourne on Friday.