Bowlers follow Taylor's lead as England win
James Taylor’s maiden international century was followed up by a fine bowling performance as England kept the Royal London One-Day Series alive with a 93-run victory over Australia at Emirates Old Trafford.
Picking the gaps and running hard between the wickets, Taylor struck only five fours in a score of 101 off 114 balls that led the hosts to 300 for eight after they won the toss.
The right-hander, with 46 of his runs coming in singles, shared a superb third-wicket stand of 119 in 113 deliveries with Eoin Morgan, who made 62, following Jason Roy's rapid 63.
With a record one-day international run-chase in Manchester facing Australia, spinners Moeen Ali and Adil Rashid got to work under the floodlights on a pitch that offered assistance.
Rashid returned 2-41 from 10 consecutive overs, including the scalp of fit-again Aaron Finch for 53, while Moeen took a career-best 3-32.
Liam Plunkett also weighed in with 3-60 to help dismiss Australia for 207 in 44 overs, reducing their lead to 2-1 with two matches to play, while Steven Finn and Jason Roy took brilliant one-handed catches to complete the perfect display.
Roy got England off to a solid start by dominating a 52-run stand with Alex Hales, the right-hander’s exquisite timing highlighted when he creamed Mitchell Starc for four fours in five balls.
While Roy was racing along, hitting eight boundaries in a fast fifty, Hales was struggling for fluency and his scratchy 31-ball innings ended on nine when he clipped Pat Cummins’ third delivery to midwicket.
Roy’s excellent knock was curtailed in soft fashion, chipping to cover to hand debutant Ashton Agar his first ODI wicket, but his dismissal allowed Taylor and Morgan to follow his lead.
With the slow bowlers working in tandem, the third-wicket pair milked the singles to rotate the strike and ran hard to set a platform.
Morgan, on 15, survived a stumping opportunity off Agar as Matthew Wade failed to gather and punished Australia by completing his sixth half-century in eight ODI innings, off only 46 balls.
The left-hander then clubbed the first maximum of the innings in the next over, Mitchell Marsh’s first, to bring up the century stand - the same set of six in which Taylor advanced to a fifty that included a solitary boundary.
Morgan hit seven fours, helping England move from 150 to 200 in 33 balls with Taylor, only for his aggression to prove his downfall as he miscued Glenn Maxwell to Starc at long-off.
England stalled following the skipper’s exit, which came with the score at 205 in the 34th, as they managed just 64 runs in the last 10 overs.
After Ben Stokes skied Maxwell to mid-on, Moeen fell in similar fashion and Jonny Bairstow and Plunkett were run out.
Taylor required a full-length dive to complete the single which took him to three figures before he became the fourth wicket to fall for just 20 runs in the final over.
Finch looked at ease at the crease on his return to the international scene, playing several lofted drives down the ground for four during his 60-ball stay at the crease.
The reaction to @finnysteve's astonishing catch to get rid of Smith for 25. Let's hope catches win matches #ENGvAUS pic.twitter.com/5FyC0J3S2x — England Cricket (@englandcricket) September 8, 2015
He lost opening partner Joe Burns when the right-hander sliced an attempted drive to mid-off off Finn, who then remarkably held on one-handed diving full-length to his right at midwicket to give Rashid the scalp of Steven Smith.
Having found the boundary eight times in a 53-ball half-century, Finch holed out in the deep off Rashid to start his side’s collapse.
Maxwell tried one reverse sweep too many and was caught at the wicket by Bairstow, George Bailey clubbed a Moeen full-toss straight down Stokes’ throat at deep midwicket and Marsh clipped Plunkett to Woakes.
Roy then took centre stage with his catch in the outfield, parrying the ball in the air while falling backwards before holding on at the second attempt to send Agar on his way.
Moeen produced a brilliant ball to have Starc caught behind and after Plunkett had Cummins held in the deep, England’s victory was confirmed when Wade was bowled by Finn for a 41-ball 42.