By Chris Devine at the Emirates Durham ICG
Alex Hales bashed 94 and shared a record-equalling partnership with Michael Lumb as England secured a 1-1 draw in the NatWest International Twenty20 series with a 27-run win at the Emirates Durham ICG.
For the second time in his career, Hales fell agonisingly short of recording the first T20 hundred by an England player. He and Luke Wright, each awarded increment contracts by the ECB today, made 99 last year.
However, there was adequate consolation for the tall Nottinghamshire batsman as England comfortably defended a total of 195 for five despite 53 from David Warner.
Hales and Lumb laid the perfect platform after George Bailey had won the toss, putting on 111 in 11.2 overs to equal the previous record stand for England against Australia set by Craig Kieswetter and Kevin Pietersen in the 2010 World T20 final.
After a tight first over from Mitchell Johnson, the tourists were unable to build any pressure as England’s openers exhibited their power with a series of lusty blows.
Hales and Lumb rode their luck on occasion, yet there was much to admire in their clean striking and the hosts were always on top as a result.
It was Fawad Ahmed who eventually claimed Australia’s first wicket, removing Lumb for 43 to pick up his maiden international scalp, and the leg-spinner completed impressive figures of 3-25 when striking twice in the final over.
That came after Hales had holed out to long-on from the last ball of the penultimate set of six, but England could still be more than happy with their total, which also featured handy cameos from Luke Wright and Eoin Morgan.
Aaron Finch, who clubbed an astonishing 156 in Australia’s 39-run victory at the Ageas Bowl, made just five on this occasion before falling to Stuart Broad.
Although Warner enjoyed greater success, striking five fours and three sixes, Australia could not keep up with the required rate and soon lost their way.
For the second game in a row, Jade Dernbach represented the pick of England’s attack.
Having returned 3-34 at Southampton, he took the key wicket of Warner today before claiming two more in successive balls towards the end for figures of 3-23.
There were also two scalps for Danny Briggs, who continued as the frontline spinner in an unchanged England line-up.
5:39pm - END OF MATCH - AUS 168/9 - ENG WIN BY 27 RUNS AND DRAW THE SERIES 1-1 - It's a pretty straightforward win for Broad's men in the end. Dernbach, who claimed a wicket off a no-ball in the last over, finishes with 3-23, but Alex Hales will surely win the match award for his 61-ball 94.
5:34pm - WICKET! Coulter-Nile c Briggs b Finn 13; Aus 162/9 - Nathan Coulter-Nile may be in at 10, but he can certainly give it a whack! With 46 required from 12 balls, he strikes successive sixes off Finn. England's nerves are soon settled as the tailender is caught at fine-leg.
5:28pm - Mitchell Johnson takes a single to deny Dernbach three in a row. He boasts figures of 3-16 at present, though.
5:27pm - WICKET! Faulkner c Morgan b Dernbach 5; Aus 148/8 - Dernbach is on a hat-trick! A top-edge from James Faulkner loops to backward point, where Morgan pulls off a terrific catch leaping high into the air.
5:25pm - WICKET! Maxwell c Lumb b Dernbach 27; Aus 148/7 - That might be the end of Australia. Maxwell holes out to deep square-leg when Dernbach returns.
5:23pm - Maxwell is not giving up; he collects a six and two fours off Bopara in an over worth 19. Australia still need 48 from the last three.
5:16pm - WICKET! Wade b Briggs 4; Aus 123/6 - Wade aims a big hoick at Briggs and the top of off stump is knocked back.
5:10pm - WICKET! Bailey lbw Briggs 23; Aus 113/5 - Australia are up against it now. Bailey falls lbw on the sweep and the target is 83 from 38 deliveries as Matthew Wade joins Glenn Maxwell.
5:07pm - WICKET! - Warner c Hales b Dernbach 53; Aus 111/4 - Warner sends the ball into orbit off Dernbach. Finn, running back from mid-off, calls for it but is beaten by the breeze and fails to get his hands on the ball. Never mind Finny, Warner is gone next ball anyway! The left-hander carves to deep point, where Alex Hales makes no mistake.
5pm - FIFTY! Warner (38b 5x4 3x6) - Warner brings up his 10th half-century in T20 internationals with a single off Briggs. Australia need him to go on.
4:58pm - George Bailey is Warner's latest partner and the skipper goes four, two, six off Broad to leave 101 needed from 54 balls.
4:53pm - WICKET! Marsh b Root 14; Aus 82/3 - Australia find themselves three down at halfway as Root, having been slog-swept for six two balls earlier, cleans up Marsh.
4:50pm - Root is given a bowl and the fifty partnership arrives in his first over, Marsh having contributed five. Ravi Bopara then comes on as captain Broad rings the changes. The medium-pacer sends down two wides but is otherwise economical.
4:43pm - Marsh cannot get on strike but that may be a good thing as Warner continues to prosper, taking Danny Briggs for four and six. The latter boundary saw the ball just clear a leaping Joe Root on the long-on fence.
4:39pm - Warner clears the rope at long-on again, this time off Jade Dernbach. Australia end the powerplay on 42 for two. England were 61 without loss at the same stage.
4:34pm - Finn continues and responds well after being thumped down the ground by Warner for the first six of the innings.
4:29pm - Warner takes Broad for fours down the ground and square of third man. Australia end the fourth over on 24 for two, Marsh having played and missed at a third successive delivery.
4:23pm - WICKET! Watson run out (Morgan) 7; Aus 15/2 - Watson ends a quiet spell by clubbing Finn through long-on for a one-bounce four. He won't be getting any more, though. Having set off for a single to backward point and been sent back by David Warner, the number three is run out by sharp work from Eoin Morgan. New batsman Shaun Marsh is twice beaten all ends up by Finn.
4:15pm - WICKET! Finch c Wright b Broad 5; Aus 8/1 - Today is not Finch's day! He is late on the shot again looking to hook Stuart Broad and offers up a simple catch to midwicket. Shane Watson comes in at three.
4:13pm - Finch is beaten for pace by a Finn bouncer clocked at 89mph. Just four runs come from the first over.
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4:09pm - Are we going to see another special knock from Aaron Finch? It's time to find out. Steven Finn opens the bowling for England.
3:56pm - END OF INNINGS - Eng 195/5 - Morgan clears the ropes but is caught at deep midwicket next ball. Ahmed finishes with impressive figures of 3-25.
3:52pm - WICKET! Buttler b Ahmed 0; Eng 187/4 - Ahmed is called upon for the final over and bowls a beauty to clean up Jos Buttler for a golden duck.
3:50pm - WICKET! Hales c Warner b Faulkner 94; Eng 187/3 - Oh no! Hales falls narrowly short of three figures again, picking out long-on from the final ball of the 19th over. Nevertheless, that was a wonderful knock, spanning 61 deliveries.
3:45pm - Aided by a strong breeze, Morgan comfortably clears deep midwicket off Coulter-Nile, who then oversteps to bring about a free hit that Hales collects two from. A carve over backward point moves the opener to 90.
3:38pm - WICKET! Wright c Johnson b Faulkner 30; Eng 157/2 - That's a better piece of fielding! Johnson times his jump perfectly at mid-off to send Wright back. Eoin Morgan joins Hales.
3:36pm - Wright had been struggling a little but finds his feet with a huge straight six off Glenn Maxwell. The next ball is cut for four before Aaron Finch has a shocker at deep midwicket, walking in a few yards and seeing the ball clear his head to land where he was originally stood! Eighteen come from the over.
3:33pm - The run-rate has dipped since Lumb's departure, although a tight over from Johnson is spoiled when a thick inside edge from Wright beats Wade and goes for four. England are 137 for one with 30 balls to come.
Spin might be the answer. Seven from Maxwell. 1-131 (14). Bailey recalls Johnson who has 0-26 (3) #ENGvAUS
— Cricket Australia (@CricketAus) August 31, 2013
3:25pm - Luke Wright is the new batsman. Hales has 76, having somehow squirted an excellent yorker from Coulter-Nile through fine-leg for his 10th four.
3:18pm - WICKET! Lumb c Wade b Ahmed 43; Eng 111/1 - Nelson does for England as Ahmed claims his maiden international scalp. Lumb again misjudges a slog-sweep and is caught by Matthew Wade. His partnership with Hales equalled England's record stand against Australia, by Craig Kieswetter and Kevin Pietersen in the 2010 World T20 final.
3:16pm - CENTURY PARTNERSHIP! - Ahmed nearly picks up a wicket during a quieter over as Lumb slog-sweeps and gets an inside-edge into the wicketkeeper’s pad. Johnson returns and another maximum from Hales takes England into three figures. Fours for either opener follow and the score reads 110 for nought after 11 overs.
3:08pm - FIFTY! Hales (34b 8x4 1x6) - Hales brings up a powerful half-century with two to long-on off Ahmed. Can he go on to surpass his T20 best of 99 I wonder?
3:06pm - Hales displays finesse when elegantly square-driving to the fence off Fawad Ahmed, who then appeals for lbw and caught behind off the same delivery without success. There’s an awful mix-up in the next over. Lumb dashes halfway down the pitch after Hales is struck in the midriff, but Faulkner misses after turning to shy at the non-striker’s end.
Some serious hitting from the Notts lads!! Come on boys!! #EngvAus
— James Taylor (@jamestaylor20) August 31, 2013
2:59pm - BASH! That's the biggest hit yet! Lumb clears his front leg and clubs a slower ball from Watson high over the ropes at long-on. England are 74 without loss after seven.
2:54pm - A top-edged Hales pull takes England to 50 in 31 balls and Hales duly bludgeons Coulter-Nile over mid-on and midwicket for fours. The powerplay ends with 11 fours and a six having been struck.
2:51pm - Successive inside edges from Hales off James Faulkner race away for four either side of fine-leg. A monstrous straight hit by the right-hander later in the over is enough to get reporters ducking for cover in the press box, and another boundary through midwicket follows. England are going well now and end the fifth on 46 without loss.
2:47pm - After four scoreless deliveries, Hales clips Johnson to the midwicket rope before pulling a short ball behind square for a second four in succession. In the next over, from Nathan Coulter-Nile, Lumb sends one skywards towards deep midwicket and the ball just about beats Glenn Maxwell, who had dashed round the boundary.
2:38pm - Shane Watson's first ball is hammered through point by Lumb, who subsequently collects four more on the pull when David Warner dives over the ball in the deep. England are 13 without loss after two overs.
2:34pm - Mitchell Johnson sent down a woeful first over two days ago, but proves more economical with his opening set of six on this occasion, giving up just a single to Michael Lumb. There is a huge appeal for caught behind against Alex Hales, but the umpire remains unmoved.
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2:28pm - The players take to the field and we now have a near full house in attendance.
2:20pm - This pitch didn't appear to have too much pace in the women's fixture, so runs are likely to prove tougher to come by than they did in Southampton - although that's not saying much! Having been inserted, England will have to quickly assess what can be regarded as a respectable total.
2:10pm - Here are the teams in full:
England: Alex Hales, Michael Lumb, Luke Wright, Joe Root, Eoin Morgan, Ravi Bopara, Jos Buttler (wicketkeeper), Stuart Broad (captain), Steven Finn, Danny Briggs, Jade Dernbach.
Australia: David Warner, Aaron Finch, Shaun Marsh, Shane Watson, George Bailey (captain), Glenn Maxwell, Matthew Wade (wicketkeeper), James Faulkner, Mitchell Johnson, Nathan Coulter-Nile, Fawad Ahmed.
2:02pm - AUSTRALIA WIN THE TOSS AND BOWL - George Bailey calls correctly and puts England in. Nathan Coulter-Nile replaces Josh Hazlewood in the tourists' line-up. England are unchanged.
1:55pm - The toss will take place in five minutes time and we'll find out whether either side has made changes. I can't see Australia dropping Aaron Finch; the burly opener smashed a world-record 156 on Thursday evening and England will be keen to get him early today.
1:45pm - England Women have wrapped up a fifth win in succession at the Emirates Durham ICG. Now it's the turn of the men in part two of today's double-header. Stuart Broad's side face the challenge of levelling the NatWest International T20 series today following Australia's 39-run win at the Ageas Bowl.