Cricket teams of Australia, India and England have begun playing with one another in an ODI Tri-Series sponsored by beer manufacturers Carlton Mid. The first match of the 7-match series (including the final) was played at the SCG on Friday, January 16, 2015 between Australia and England. The match opened the old wounds of England’s miserable show during their ashes tour last summer as they lost to Australia tamely in the series opener. The tourists now had a new captain but his single-handed effort was not enough to stop the confident Australians from romping home with a wide margin of victory achieved in less than 40 overs. Eoin Morgan was like a distant watcher as his colleagues could not stand up to Mitchell Starc’s swinging balls that took the heavy toll of England’s innings. The best Morgan’s century could do for England was lessening the margin of defeat. There was another century in the match but it had a telling effect on the result. After England scored 234 all out in less than 48 overs, Australia reached the victory target of 235 with three wickets remaining. And having won in under 40 over, Australia earned a bonus point as well.
England began disastrously by winning the toss and batting first. The very first delivery of the match from Mitchell Starc found Ian Bell plumb in front of the wicket. James Taylor, who replaced Bell played one ball and on the next he got out in the same way as Starc brought in another sharp in-swinger to trap Taylor. Three balls, two wickets and a blob on the board was how England began. Eoin Morgan could not have thought of a worse beginning as a first-time skipper in Australia after England notched up smart victories in two of their warm-up games. Moeen Ali and Joe Root tried their best for the next 20 odd balls but Root fell to another tempting ball and edged it Watson in the slips. This time the bowler was Pat Cummins and he literally followed the lines drawn by Australian think-tank. The captain walked in at 12/3 in 3.4 overs and joined Moeen Ali, who had kept the one end going until then. England progressed to 16/3 in 6 overs before Moeen Ali first stepped out to blast Mitchell Starc out of the ground for 6 and then thumped Watson through the covers for 4 in the next over. But that was all Moeen Ali would do for England and his skipper. In the 9th over from James Faulkner, Ali tried the aerial shot again and met with dire consequences. Faulkner had stationed Glenn Maxwell at deep midwicket and as Ali tried to lift the bowler on the up, he only succeeded in holing out to Maxwell. It was now Ravi Bopara with Morgan and together the two of them added 36 for the fifth wicket. However, Bopara also fell to the off-side trap as he failed to keep his shot down to the new bowler Xavier Doherty. 69/5 was pathetic but new batsman Jos Buttler and Eoin Morgan crafted England’s first reasonably long partnership that lasted 77 runs and 19 overs. Morgan carried on first with Chris Woakes and then with Chris Jordan. Although, the two batsmen couldn’t make any notable personal scores, they still provided invaluable support to their skipper. Morgan finally fell at 234 and since after him, the last batsman also fell at the same score off the next ball, England’s innings came to a premature end. The score of 234 all out, meant Australia had an easy-looking victory target of 235 in 50 overs.
David Warner and Aaron Finch began the chase strongly putting on 33 in the 7th over before Finch was bowled by Chris Woakes for 15. Shane Watson came next but he didn’t last long either falling to Chris Jordan for 16. But Australia’s victory chase and the innings’ character belonged to David Warner. He not only kept one end sealed but the flow of runs from his bat remained incessant. Steven Smith scored 37 runs and helped add 87 for the fourth wicket but mostly Warner played solo. After Finch, Watson and Smith, George Bailey and Glenn Maxwell came to visit the crease, say hello to Warner and went off. Warner didn’t mind as he had already gotten into his groove and when he was out for 127 off 115 balls, Australia had come to within touching distance to their victory target. Brad Haddin produced an 8-ball 16 run cameo that ensured that Australia’s win comes with a bonus point.
It was an irony that the quality of Warner’s hundred was equally matched by the one scored by England captain but while Warner’s century became a critical score for Australia, Morgan’s knock only provided respectability to England’s score. It was truly disappointing for England as none of their other batsmen could cross 30 runs.