Australia seize initiative
Paul Collingwood’s stubborn fifty was not enough to salvage a series-levelling victory as England finished 39 runs short of Australia’s 249 for eight at Lord’s.
Collingwood, who came to the crease during a collapse from 74 without loss to 97 for four, regularly lost partners until he was last out in the 47th over with 56 to his name.
Australia’s bowlers combined to squeeze England, taking a 2-0 lead in the best-of-seven NatWest Series following Friday’s four-run win south of the river at the Brit Oval.
The sides now move onto the Rose Bowl for a day/night fixture on Wednesday which the hosts must win to have realistic hopes of competing in the rubber.
In particular, they must focus on their batting having fallen short of two attainable targets in three days. Andrew Strauss was their next best contributor today with 47.
Brett Lee, Nathan Bracken, Mitchell Johnson and Shane Watson each highlighted England’s frailties with a brace of wickets.
Earlier, Strauss' men in a fine bowling display themselves. The attack capitalised on his winning the toss and opting to bowl in initially overcast conditions to restrict Australia to 249 for eight in 50 overs.
That the wickets were shared around was worthy of a unit with no weak link. Only Callum Ferguson reached a half-century for the tourists, following up his unbeaten 71 on Friday with 55 from 58 balls.
It was also a reflection of England’s strength in depth given that Ashes hero Stuart Broad was ruled out with a strained neck following a dive in the field at the Brit Oval.
Tim Bresnan came in for Broad, one of two changes as leg-spinner Adil Rashid was unfortunate to be left out after a fine all-round performance two days earlier.
Eoin Morgan effectively took Rashid’s place as the hosts strengthened their batting. Unsurprisingly, Australia were unchanged.
Of the bowlers Luke Wright, whose consistency ensured he sent down his full allocation, picked up 2-52 while Graeme Swann claimed 2-31 from eight overs.
England gave the tourists no quarter in an uneventful first 15 overs, which included the bowling powerplay, as Australia reached 62 for one. Watson and Tim Paine progressed steadily without taking undue risks,
Ryan Sidebottom, whose first six overs cost 19, bowled with impressive control from the Pavilion End. Only 19 runs came from overs 11 to 15 as Bresnan and Wright were tight too.
It was Bresnan who broke Australia’s stodgy first-wicket partnership on the verge of drinks. He encouraged Watson to drive uppishly to a diving Wright at extra cover for 34.
In the next over Wright picked up Paine who holed out to Morgan to fall for 25. Crucially, captain Michael Clarke followed suit a couple of Wright overs later, gloving a well-directed short ball down leg to Matt Prior for four, to leave Australia 73 for three.
Cameron White and Ferguson rallied, showing more assertiveness against Collingwood and Swann, who were introduced shortly after the halfway stage.
Accordingly, Strauss replaced Collingwood with Ravi Bopara who struck with his first delivery as White edged to Prior, standing up, for 42. Thus ended a stand of 69.
Swann continued and produced a beauty to remove Mike Hussey for eight soon after. The spinner invited his fellow left-hander to play to leg but beat Hussey’s outside edge to clip off stump.
Swann, who by now had found his rhythm, trapped James Hopes lbw for 11 but Ferguson remained, going to his fifth ODI fifty from 54 balls with a hooked four off Wright.
Australia finally took their batting powerplay after 44 overs but it signalled the end for Ferguson who had his middle stump knocked back by James Anderson’s yorker.
Lee followed soon after for nought, locating Owais Shah as he attempted to hit Sidebottom through extra cover.
Johnson added important runs during the remainder of the fielding restrictions, which contributed to him earning the man-of-the-match award, finishing unbeaten on 43 from 23 balls with Nathan Hauritz on 10.
In reply, England’s opening pair began steadily but accelerated in the bowling powerplay which came after 10 overs and featured spinner Hauritz.
While the first nine overs only yielded three boundaries, all from Strauss, the pair reached the rope six times in the next four as Bopara began to find his touch.
However, Watson trapped Bopara lbw for 27 the ball before drinks, the same stage at which Australia’s first wicket fell.
The pattern of the first innings continued as a flurry of wickets followed, four in total compared to the tourists’ three in overs 15 to 20.
Prior was caught behind for one to become Watson’s second victim and Strauss’ leading edge gave Hauritz a straightforward caught and bowled. Worse followed when Shah was run out for 12 following a mix-up with Collingwood.
The only light moment for England fans during this period came when an Lancaster bomber flew overhead, briefly holding up play. However, Johnson trapping Morgan in front for 14 dampened the mood again.
Collingwood dug in but could not find a steady partner as Wright (19) and Bresnan (five) were caught behind off Lee and Johnson respectively.
He scampered a single to reach his 22nd one-day fifty from 74 deliveries but Swann perished for 14, missing an ill-judged heave off Bracken. The same bowler then cleaned up Sidebottom for a second-ball duck.
England took their batting powerplay after 44 overs but Lee yorked Collingwood to end proceedings with 23 balls of the innings unused.