All-round England take 2-0 series lead

Updated: July 1, 2012, 3:36 PM IST
All-round England take 2-0 series lead

London: Ravi Bopara starred with both bat and ball as England coasted to a six-wicket win over Australia with 26 balls to spare in the second one-day international (ODI) at The Oval on Sunday.

England saw allrounder Bopara top-score with 82 in a total of 252 for 4 after taking 1 for 16 with five overs of his medium-pace as Australia were restricted to 251 for 7.

Man-of-the-match Bopara, run out by Brett Lee with England just two runs shy of victory, faced 85 balls with eight fours. England's eighth successive ODI win gave them a 2-0 lead in this five-match series after Friday's 15-run victory at Lord's.

It also kept them on course for a 5-0 whitewash that would see them replace arch-rivals Australia at the top of the 50-over world rankings.

But victory was far from certain when, two balls after Australia captain Michael Clarke bowled Ian Bell for 75, the left-arm spinner appealed for lbw against Eoin Morgan, still then on nought.

Umpire Richard Illingworth raised his finger but former Ireland international Morgan immediately called for a review. Eventually, after several minutes' study, third umpire Aleem Dar, one of world cricket's most respected officials, told Illingworth to reverse his decision on the basis of a 'Hotspot' replay that indicated a faint edge.

England were still 171 for 3 and not 171 for 4 and left-hander Morgan, Man-of-the-Match at Lord's with an unbeaten 89, pressed on to 43 not out, having helped Bopara add 79 at better than a run-a-ball for the fourth wicket.

Opener Bell made Australia pay on Sunday for dropping him on 38 and 70 with a typically stylish 113-ball innings featuring one six and six fours. Australia left-arm quick Mitchell Johnson, replacing Pat Cummins after the teenage paceman was ruled out of the rest of the series with a side injury, helped England with a couple of early no-balls that led to free hit fours.

The seamer's first two overs cost an expensive 20 runs and left-arm spinner Xavier Doherty then saw his opening delivery eased through the covers by England captain Alastair Cook. But seamer Clint McKay had left-hander Cook lbw for a run-a-ball 18.

Bell advanced down the pitch to drive medium-pacer Shane Watson straight back over his head for an elegant six. But, four balls later, Warwickshire team-mate Jonathan Trott tried to follow his lead and instead was clean bowled by the medium-pacer.

Johnson, the butt of England fans' jokes when struggling in successive Australian Ashes defeats, returned only for Bopara to sweetly time a drive past mid-off for four.

Earlier fast bowler Steven Finn led England's pace attack in the absence of James Anderson, out with a groin injury, by taking they key wicket of dynamic opener David Warner for just 10 on his way to 1 for 36 in nine overs.

Australia, who won the toss, saw opener Watson top-score with 66 and middle-order batsman George Bailey make a career-best 65. However, the tourists' innings was often becalmed, with a mere 24 runs coming in a 10-over spell from overs 21 to 30 inclusive.

The series continues with a day/night match at Edgbaston on Wednesday.

First Published: July 1, 2012, 3:36 PM IST

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