‘s bowling underbelly was exposed under the MCG lights as England beat the hosts for the first time this summer. The visitors inflicted ‘s eighth defeat from their past nine completed one-day internationals.
Aaron Finch had earlier posted his ninth ODI ton, but an early barrage in the run chase from England opener Jason Roy set the tone for what was an all-too-comfortable chase from the tourists, who cruised past ‘s total of 8-304 with seven balls to spare and five wickets in hand. Roy broke umpteen records with his 180 from 151 balls, posting new marks for the highest ODI score for England, and the biggest individual ODI score at the MCG, while England’s total was the highest second innings score in ODIs at the venue.
‘s frontline bowling foursome of Pat Cummins, Mitchell Starc, Josh Hazlewood and Nathan Lyon did the heavy lifting during the 4-0 Ashes victory, but with Hazlewood rested and Lyon continually overlooked in ODIs, it was left to Cummins and Starc to lead the attack. ‘s over-reliance on the pair was soon apparent. While both took early wickets in the chase, they also took a battering from Roy, who successfully reviewed an incorrect LBW call on 91 to score his first ODI ton in 18 months. He combined with Joe Root in a 221-run third-wicket stand which nullified the attack, giving plenty to ponder ahead of the second game of the five-match series in Brisbane on Friday.
Jonny Bairstow edged Starc to gloveman Tim Paine for 14 in the fifth over, before Alex Hales fell to Cummins for four the next over, but there was little else to celebrate for ‘s bowlers. Starc and Cummins both went at well over six runs an over, with Roy – who was badly out of sorts in his recent Big Bash League stint with the Sydney Sixers – taming the quicks.
Debutant seamer Andrew Tye kept things relatively tight but wasn’t particularly penetrative, while leg spinner Adam Zampa’s poor run of ODI form continued, conceding 72 from his 10 overs. Marcus Stoinis and Mitch Marsh had both impressed with the bat, but neither looked overly dangerous with the ball. It begged the question, if not the big four, then who is going to take the wickets?
Roy finally departed following 16 fours and five sixes after top-edging Starc, but the damage had well and truly been done, as Root (91 not out) led England to the target.
Hazlewood will return for the second game of the series and Cummins is due to be rested.Given their struggles in this match, appear likely to strongly consider West n quick Jhye Richardson, who was overlooked for a debut on this occasion.
English captain Eoin Morgan had earlier won the toss on a pitch with a reasonable sprinkling of grass, the type of somewhat lively deck that would have been welcomed much more on Boxing Day than a wicket so dead it led to strong criticism from the ICC.
Finch hit fours either side of the wicket from two of the first three balls of the match, sent down by Chris Woakes, who looked as unthreatening as he had for most of the preceding Test series. In contrast the sharper Mark Wood, whose Ashes hopes were dashed through injury, provided an early reminder of what England missed in his absence, delivering a punishing opening spell full of speed and bounce. It was a combination which brought about the demise of David Warner, who popped a 142 km/h short ball from Wood up to the slips cordon, to be gone for two in the second over. Finch bided his time against Wood, before taking to England’s more sedate bowlers, making 107.
looked vulnerable at 3-78 after Steve Smith edged Adil Rashid to wicketkeeper Jos Buttler for 23 in the 11th over before Travis Head (five) chopped on from Liam Plunkett in the 14th. But their middle order concerns were allayed at least temporarily by a steadying 50 from Marsh, before an accelerated 60 from Stoinis and 27 from Tim Paine.
“I think we probably left ourselves a little bit short,” Smith said, suggesting that the par score on the wicket was around 330.
Recalled veteran Cameron White had missed a spot in the XI but is expected to get a chance later in the series.