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Clarke shines as Australia draw first blood

By Chris Devine at Emirates Old Trafford.

Michael Clarke’s eighth one-day international hundred helped Australia move 1-0 ahead in the NatWest Series with an 88-run victory over England at Emirates Old Trafford.

Clarke struck 105 from 102 deliveries and shared 155 with George Bailey, whose 82 spanned just 69 balls, as the tourists posted 315 for seven after being inserted.

That left England needing to pull off their highest successful chase in ODIs, a scenario that never looked on the cards following the loss of three early wickets.

Kevin Pietersen, Eoin Morgan and Jos Buttler impressed with 60, 54 and 75 respectively but Steven Finn was the only other man to reach double figures as England were dismissed for 227 with more than five overs unused.

A centurion at this venue during the Investec Ashes, Clarke displayed fluency from the moment he came to the crease, scoring at roughly a run-a-ball from the outset and striking 14 fours all around the wicket.

His partnership with Bailey provided an object lesson in how to score freely in the middle overs and effectively took the game away from England, who must now regroup ahead of Wednesday’s encounter at Edgbaston.

Australia’s innings started miserably as Finn angled one across Shaun Marsh to have the opener caught behind before a run had been scored.

Finn thought he had claimed a second wicket in as many balls when Shane Watson was trapped plumb in front, but the decision was overturned on review when replays identified an inside edge.

Watson and Aaron Finch made skittish progress for the remainder of the powerplay, combining flashes of brilliance with a number of loose strokes.

It took another review - this time from England - to end Watson’s innings on 38. Umpire Richard Kettleborough was not convinced by Ravi Bopara’s enthusiastic appeal for caught behind but there was audible evidence of a nick when the decision went upstairs.

Finch needlessly give his wicket away with the score on 116, holing out to long-on for 45 when the expensive James Tredwell had already conceded two boundaries earlier in the over.

Yet Clarke was already into his stride by that stage and found a willing ally as Bailey progressed with similar confidence.

Extra-cover represented a particularly profitable region for the busy Clarke, while Bailey largely favoured leg but collected three of his four sixes with lofted strokes down the ground.

Clarke moved serenely to three figures before a flurry of wickets prevented Australia from doing too much damage in the closing overs.

Bailey picked out Tredwell at short fine-leg from a loose Bopara delivery, while Rankin - the pick of England’s attack - struck with successive balls to have Clarke caught behind and Matthew Wade bowled via inside edge. James Faulkner added a breezy 18 before falling to Finn in the final set of six.

England knew a good start was essential in reply but quickly found themselves 38 for three.

Mitchell Johnson did the initial damage, producing a snorter to dismiss Jonathan Trott after Michael Carberry had cut carelessly to backward point, and Joe Root was bowled through the gate by Faulkner.

Pietersen did his best to keep home hopes alive with some typically destructive strokeplay, the highlight a stunning flat six over midwicket off Fawad Ahmed.

However, the opener’s departure, to a simple catch at cover, was followed swiftly by Adam Voges having Ravi Bopara caught and bowled and Australia were in no mood to give up their advantage.

Morgan, fresh from a career-best score of 124 not out against Ireland on Tuesday, continued his fine form with another impressive knock featuring four fours.

Further encouragement was provided by Buttler accelerating to a maiden ODI fifty and beyond with the aid of three sixes, yet his most spectacular work came only when England were eight down and all but beaten.

Match Scorecard

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England Innings

Highlights of England's reply at Emirates Old Trafford

5:47pm - WICKET! Finn c Voges b McKay 16; Eng 227 all out - Australia win by 88 runs and lead the NatWest Series 1-0 - Finn's fun - and the match - is brought to an end when he holes out off McKay, who finishes with 3-47.

5:44pm - Go on Steven Finn! The Watford Wall nickname may have to be shelved for a while given England's number 10 has just smeared Ahmed over cow corner for six before almost cleaning up the umpire with a straight hit for four.

5:41pm - WICKET! Buttler c Johnson b Ahmed 75; Eng 216/9 - Buttler's entertaining innings concludes with a skier to midwicket.

5:39pm - England's ninth-wicket stand is worth 43 following another big six from Buttler but the game is all but over as a contest with 104 needed from the final seven overs.

5:29pm - Buttler helps himself to another maximum, this time clearing long-on from a McKay slower ball.

5:22pm - FIFTY! Buttler (49b 3x4 1x6) - Buttler is not going down without a fight. A huge pulled six off Faulkner brings up a maiden ODI fifty for the Somerset man.

5:10pm - WICKET! Tredwell run out 1; Eng 169/8 - The end may not be long in coming. Tredwell is swiftly run out attempting to get back to the non-striker's end for a second.

5:06pm - WICKET! Stokes c Bailey b McKay 5; Eng 167/7 - Stokes is unable to hang around. A miscued pull is easily held in the deep to give McKay a second scalp in as many overs.

4:56pm - WICKET! Morgan c Clarke b McKay 54; Eng 154/6 - And that could well be that. Morgan sends one skywards and is caught by Clarke running back from cover.

4:53pm - England mirror their opponents by calling for the batting powerplay at the start of the 34th over. It's make or break time with the required rate pushing towards 10.

4:44pm - FIFTY! Morgan (65b 4x4 0x6) - England's skipper continues his good form by moving to 50. He needs to go on if the hosts are to get close.

4:40pm - REVIEW - Morgan is lbw on the sweep to Voges but successfully reviews, having got a thin bottom edge before the ball struck his pad.

4:32pm - Buttler is almost snaffled at backward point off Ahmed by a leaping McKay. Australia's frontline spinner, like James Tredwell before him, has proven expensive, conceding 30 from four overs thus far.

4:28pm - England have a mountain to climb now. Jos Buttler has settled in alongside Morgan and Ben Stokes is still to come but the target is 193 from 23 overs.

4:15pm - WICKET! Bopara c & b Voges 1; Eng 103/5 - Or not... Bopara chips a return catch back to Voges, replays showing it was not a bump ball.

4:13pm - The optimists among you can take solace in the fact Morgan and Ravi Bopara shared a world-record alliance of 226 when they last batted together. Just 219 would do this time around.

4:06pm - WICKET! Pietersen c Faulkner b Watson 60; Eng 97/4 - An exciting innings from Pietersen comes to a rather soft end as he slashes a wide ball directly to Faulkner at cover.

3:53pm - After seeing Pietersen pull off an audacious ramp over fine-leg for four off Shane Watson, Clarke turns back to strike bowler Johnson.

3:45pm - FIFTY! Pietersen (54b 5x4 2x6) - England probably need something special from Pietersen here and he looks in the mood to provide it. The opener moves to 50 with a single off Ahmed, who is duly lapped fine for four by Morgan.

3:37pm - Pietersen strikes a flat six over midwicket in Fawad Ahmed's first over, which ends with Morgan getting in on the act courtesy of a reverse-swept four.

3:30pm - The nimble-footed Pietersen exhibits his class when lifting Voges over cover for his fourth four. He has 35 of England's 53.

3:23pm - With his side firmly on top, Michael Clarke calls upon Adam Voges for an over of left-arm spin. Eoin Morgan, fresh from a career-best ODI score against Ireland on Tuesday, is Pietersen's new partner.

3:16pm - WICKET! Root b Faulkner 3; Eng 38/3 - James Faulkner's second ball is too good for Root, who finds himself bowled through the gate.

3:11pm - KP is putting his foot down now. He prospers through midwicket once more and then clubs McKay over long-on for six. England end the ninth over on 32 for two and there is another four for Pietersen when an inside edge off Johnson narrowly evades the stumps.

3:07pm - CHANCE - Pietersen pierces the field at midwicket to collect three before steering a wide ball from Johnson through the off side. A reprieve for Joe Root follows when Wade spills a chance diving to his left.

2:58pm - England are in a pickle here. Johnson is bowling with appreciable pace while McKay gives little away at the other end.

2:50pm - WICKET! Trott c Wade b Johnson 0; Eng 9/1 - Jonathan Trott faces a leg-side wide first up but is then undone by a short delivery that he can only steer behind. Johnson has started superbly.

2:46pm - WICKET! Carberry c Clarke b Johnson 4; Eng 8/1 - Carberry departs in tame fashion, cutting straight to Michael Clarke at backward point.

2:41pm - England pick up their first four as Carberry punches through point. The ball is nibbling around under overcast skies.

2:37pm - Michael Carberry survives a half-hearted appeal for caught behind off Mitchell Johnson, who then beats the bat with a jaffa that rears up off a length and nearly knocks wicketkeeper Matthew Wade off his feet. It's another maiden.

2:32pm - Kevin Pietersen plays out a maiden from Clint McKay at the start of England's reply.

Australia Innings

Watch highlights of Australia's innings at Emirates Old Trafford, which featured a century for Michael Clarke

1:57pm - END OF INNINGS - Aus 315/7 - Faulkner is caught at cover off Finn for 18 in the final over but Australia finish with a very healthy total. England will have to chase more than they have ever chased before if they are to avoid going 1-0 down in the NatWest Series.

1:51pm - Rankin's figures are spoiled as Faulkner comfortably clears mid-off for a six that lifts Australia to 303. A straight four follows from Rankin's final ball. 

1:42pm - James Faulkner sees out the hat-trick delivery but England are finishing well. These overs could yet prove crucial.

1:39pm - WICKET! Wade b Rankin 0; Aus 283/6 - Well, well. Matthew Wade plays on first ball and Rankin is on a hat-trick!

1:37pm - WICKET! Clarke c Buttler b Rankin 105; Aus 283/5 - Rankin, the pick of England's attack, is the man to end Clarke's excellent knock. Australia's captain aims a violent swipe at a back-of-a-length ball and edges behind.

1:35pm - Finn concedes five on his return to the attack. It looks as though he and Rankin will bowl the remaining four overs.

1:23pm - WICKET! Bailey c Tredwell b Bopara 82; Aus 271/4 - England claim a much-needed breakthrough as Bailey pulls a loose delivery straight to short fine-leg. That was an excellent innings from Australia's T20 skipper.

1:22pm - CENTURY! Clarke (94b 14x4 0x6) - Clarke edges a high full-toss from Bopara, which is called a no-ball, for four and then brings up his ton with two to leg. He made a superb hundred here during the Investec Ashes and has shone again today.

1:13pm - Oh dear. Stokes is five yards in from the rope at midwicket and that proves costly as Bailey just about clears the fielder to register four. The next ball is smeared over the same region for six and a straight four from Clarke does further damage to Bopara's previously admirable figures.

1:08pm - It's been a tough day for England's bowlers but Ravi Bopara has done a fine job. Another tight over from the medium-pacer is spoiled when Clarke opens up his stance to strike four over mid-off.

1pm - FIFTY! Bailey (47b 3x4 3x6) & CENTURY PARTNERSHIP - Another straight six, this time off Stokes, moves Bailey past 50 and the partnership into three figures. The powerplay ends with 43 runs having been added.

12:51pm - Clarke and Bailey punish short balls from Finn with fours through midwicket. The second boundary takes Australia past 200. It looks like England will have a big chase on their hands.

12:40pm - Clarke's swift progress continues with back-to-back fours, straight and through midwicket, off Finn. He has 70 and Bailey 33. Time for another drink.

12:34pm - A change in ends brings a change in fortune for the previously expensive Tredwell. Just two runs come from his seventh over as he comes round the wicket to the right-handers. Australia respond by taking the batting powerplay at 177 for three after 33 overs. Finn is back to start it off.

12:24pm - FIFTY! Clarke (60b 6x4 0x6) - Clarke moves past 50 with a swept four off Joe Root. Australia will be hoping to reach 300 here. They have 159 on the board with 20 overs to come.

12:21pm - Bopara follows Stokes’ excellent over with a tight one of his own and England are almost rewarded with a wicket when Clarke takes on Stokes. He fails to connect cleanly but is able to clear mid-on. A few dirty clouds have started to gather in the distance but it is still sunny overhead. Bailey shines again when clearing long-on in effortless fashion.

12:12pm - A slip is introduced after Stokes beats Bailey with successive deliveries. The all-rounder then sends a shorter ball past the edge of Clarke.

12:08pm - Just when it seemed as though we were set for a quieter period, Bailey advances to strike a magnificent straight six off Tredwell. Australia have definitely targeted the off-spinner today.

11:58am - Stokes is back on for England, who will be delighted to have got rid of Finch. Clarke has looked a million dollars so far but may have to rein in his attacking instincts for the time being. George Bailey is the skipper's new partner.

11:54am - WICKET! Finch c Root b Tredwell 45; Aus 116/3 - Tredwell concedes two more boundaries before Finch foolishly gives his wicket away by picking out Joe Root at long-on. With runs coming easily there was no need for the opener to play that shot.

11:46am - Finch slog-sweeps Tredwell for a maximum before Clarke clips elegantly over mid-off for four. Australia are going along nicely at present, the run-rate having moved above five. Tredwell's three overs have cost 27.

11:36am - REVIEW - England go upstairs again when Tredwell raps Finch on the pad. This time the review proves unsuccessful as replays show the point of impact was marginally outside off stump. Michael Clarke subsequently drives to the extra-cover rope.

11:23am - Finch just about clears mid-off to collect four from Bopara. Drinks come on to the field with Australia 69 for one after 15 overs.

11:13am - WICKET! Watson c Buttler b Bopara 38; Aus 60/2 - Watson chases a wide delivery from Bopara and England are convinced there is a nick. The hosts call for a review after their appeal goes unanswered and audible evidence is enough to send Watson on his way! 

11:07am - Finch is lucky not to be run out following a dreadful mix-up with Watson. Both men were briefly stranded in the middle of the pitch but Joe Root failed to effect a direct hit at the non-striker's end from mid-off. James Tredwell takes over from Stokes at the Pavilion End and is clubbed over long-on by Watson for the game's first six.

10:56am - Finch plays the most convincing stroke of the morning to date, a powerful pull sending the ball to the square-leg rope in the blink of an eye. Australia have moved on to 43 for one after nine overs and we are about to see Ben Stokes for the first time.

10:51am - You have to sympathise with Rankin here. After a thick outside edge from Aaron Finch lands safely, Watson nicks behind only for the ball to drop marginally short of wicketkeeper Jos Buttler. To make matters worse, Watson then drives through the covers for his fifth four.

10:42am - Watson goes from the ridiculous to the sublime, following a wild swipe at fresh air outside off stump with a glorious straight-driven four. Finn finishes his third over by beating the bat again and Watson continues to look shaky outside off in the next set of six before collecting another pulled four.

10:35am - Australia's first boundary belatedly arrives as Watson pulls Rankin past midwicket. The tourists end the fourth over on 10 for one.

10:28am - Boyd Rankin keeps the pressure on with a tight over yielding two singles.

10:22am - REVIEW - Shane Watson plays all around his front pad first ball and is adjudged lbw. However, a review goes in the batsman's favour when an inside edge is identified. Steven Finn completes an eventful wicket-maiden.

10:17am - WICKET! Marsh c Buttler b Finn 0; Aus 0/1 - That's just the start England wanted. Shaun Marsh nibbles at a full one angled across him and is caught behind for a blob!

Pre-Play News 

10:05am - Captain Morgan believes the ball is likely to do a bit this morning. England will certainly be targeting early wickets and the ground is filling rapidly as the start of play approaches.

9:50am - Here are the teams in full:

England: Michael Carberry, Kevin Pietersen, Jonathan Trott, Joe Root, Eoin Morgan (captain), Ravi Bopara, Jos Buttler (wicketkeeper), Ben Stokes, James Tredwell, Boyd Rankin, Steven Finn.

Australia: Aaron Finch, Shaun Marsh, Shane Watson, Michael Clarke (captain), George Bailey, Adam Voges, Matthew Wade (wicketkeeper), James Faulkner, Mitchell Johnson, Clint McKay, Fawad Ahmed.

9:46am - ENGLAND WIN TOSS AND BOWL - Eoin Morgan inserts Australia. Pietersen, Trott and Root replace Luke Wright, James Taylor and Gary Ballance in England's line-up but the bowling attack is the same one that faced Ireland. Australia are unchanged from their victory over Scotland.

9:40am - Both teams come into this game on the back of recent victories, England having beaten Ireland by six wickets on the same day Australia recorded a 200-run trouncing of Scotland. Kevin Pietersen, Jonathan Trott and Joe Root are available to the hosts after missing the trip to Malahide.

9:30am - Happily, the sun is shining brightly in Manchester this morning. There is a chance showers could arrive later but for the time being we have perfect conditions. The toss takes place in 15 minutes.

9:15am - Morning everyone. After Friday’s rain-induced false start at Headingley, the NatWest Series is set to begin at Emirates Old Trafford. England and Australia are readying themselves for a 10:15am start and ecb.co.uk is in position to keep you updated.

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