Half-centuries from captain Eoin Morgan (69) and Joe Root (50) and 3/43 earlier in the script from Moeen Ali helped England beat Australia by three wickets in the first one-day international of the five-match series at The Oval on Wednesday 13 June.
Chasing only 215 runs for victory after Australia, who had won the toss and elected to bat, had been bowled out for 214 in 47 overs, England were 38/3 in the eighth over after losing openers Jason Roy and Jonny Bairstow as well as Alex Hales.
But Morgan and Root added 115 runs for the fourth wicket to revive England’s innings and put them in a winning position at 153/3. Even though the hosts lost wickets towards the end with Morgan, Root, Jos Buttler and Ali falling in quick succession, an unbeaten 35 by David Willey got them home with six overs to spare.
Morgan was quite pleased with the performance of his bowling unit, which had conceded 371 runs against Scotland only a few days ago.
“The Scotland game kicked us into touch and helped us hone our skills,” Morgan said. “Very pleased, particularly with the bowlers, thought they did amazingly well. The spinners turned the momentum in our favour.”
Ali got the wickets of Aaron Finch (19), Shaun Marsh (24) and Tim Paine (12) to put Australia on the back foot early on in their innings at 70/4, and Adil Rashid sent back Marcus Stoinis and Ashton Agar later to return 2/36.
“Moeen had a few left-handers to bowl at. He always gives you options, like Ben Stokes. He's had a great day,” Morgan said.
The @MRFWorldwide No.1 ranked 🏴 recovered from their jolt against 🏴 with victory against 🇦🇺, but they didn't have it all their own way!#ENGvAUS REPORT 👇 https://t.co/A2j7Fj82jE pic.twitter.com/3PN2RFuYe0— ICC (@ICC) June 13, 2018
Morgan conceded that at 38/3 England were ‘way off the mark’.
“The big positive from today is that we were way off the mark with our batting but managed to win the game,” he said. “It was nice to bat with Joe and get the momentum going, but more importantly we won. We can improve with the ball and with the bat … building partnerships is crucial.”
Ali was pleased with the way he bowled, especially with the field restrictions in the first 10 overs. “The most important thing is we won and to bowl the way I bowled was fantastic,” he said. “I back myself in the Powerplay, I have bowled with the new ball recently and feel confident with it. You wanted to make the batters hit through the off side. You just try to hold your nerve.”
Paine, the Australia captain, felt his team was let down by the batsmen, while maintaining that the bowling unit had done a terrific job trying to defend 214.
“England's batting line is really deep, a hard side to bowl, but our bowlers did a terrific job. Let down as a batting group,” Paine said. “A lot of those guys have good white-ball skills. They played our spinners much better than we played theirs.”
Australia were 90/5 at one stage before Glenn Maxwell (62) and Agar (40) added 84 runs for the sixth wicket to stabilise the innings and help Australia reach a total of respectability.
Finished with a six! England win by three wickets!— ICC (@ICC) June 13, 2018
It got a bit close in the end, but having bowled out Australia for 214, half-centuries from Joe Root and Eoin Morgan and 35* from David Willey were enough to see them home.#ENGvAUS SCORECARD 👇https://t.co/DwxugvD08I pic.twitter.com/1dfUcv7dI1
Paine blamed the top five for giving their wickets away but praised Maxwell for playing the reviving innings. “We gave a few wickets away. Our top four or five didn't get the job done,” he said.
“Maxi has been hitting the ball well in the nets and nice to see him translate that to the middle. Thought it was simple today, our top order didn't get the job done.”