3rd Match: England v Australia at Bristol, 10 Jun 2001|
Yet Ponting’s century and his brilliant stands with Mark Waugh and Damien Martyn could have easily been wasted had Stewart utilized his frontline bowlers a bit more judiciously.
Having used up the 30 overs from Gough, Cork and Mullally well before the final showdown, he had only had Ealham and Hollioake to try preventing the Australians from getting 27 odd runs in the last 3 overs, and it was simply expecting too much from these two comparative youngsters especially when pitted against Waugh and Co.
Still full credit to the a relatively young home side, who went into this match against the arch-rivals without their premier batsman and bowler – Thorpe and Caddick – yet they fought till the very end and made the opposition pay for every run.
Earlier, it was the left-handed Mullally who at last broke a fine 97-run Ponting-Martyn partnership. Martyn was well on his way to his fifty, when coming down on a delivery, he missed the line completely and found his off stump disturbed.
A single by Ponting on the last ball of the same over brought up the 200 of the innings in 41st over. Another single in the next Hollioake-over and Ponting had reached his 8th hundred, the first against England, off 113 balls, which contained 9 fours and 2 sixes.
Symonds, promoted in the order, survived a couple of appeals in the same over – the first being for lbw and the second for caught behind, yet he stayed on to hit the biggest six of the match on the last ball.
There was excitement and of course joy for the English fans in the following over, when Ponting was run out after making 102 (116 balls). It was a nice shot from Symonds, and after completing the first run comfortably, Ponting returned for the second, only to be sent back by his partner. He was out by whiskers as Stewart shook the stumps on Mullally’s nice through from the bowling end.
Symonds was next to depart after hitting two sixes and one four on his way to 23 off 15 balls. Harvey, another talented all-rounder, followed him to the crease and he along with the skipper, Steve Waugh, added 42 off 29 ball for the unbeaten 6th wicket to see Australia through.
Steve Waugh remained not out on 26 off 22 balls whereas Harvey got an unbeaten 19 off 13 ball, which also included a six to long off in the penultimate over from Hollioake.
The introduction of Robert Croft's off-spin, along with an experienced Cork, made the Aussie batsmen comparatively quieter, after they had compiled 79 in 17 overs.
The Glamorgan spinner, however, had trouble finding his line and length initially, with his first two over yielding 12. However, displaying better control in the next over, he gave away just two in it.
Australia brought up the 100 in the 23rd over, bowled by Cork, as Ponting turned him away to point for a single. The very next ball brought England the wicket they were looking for.
Playing all around an in-coming delivery, Waugh offered a big gap between bat and pad, only to find his stumps shaken. He made 46 off 61 balls, having hit three fours and a six. The wicket fell at 101, the second wicket having added a fine 89 in about 18 overs.
A single to long on in the next Croft-over brought up the second consecutive fifty for Ponting in the tournament. His 26th ODIs half-century utilized 63 balls, of which 7 were dispatched to the boundary, including the one that went soaring over long on for six.
The arrival of Damien Martyn, ahead of both the skipper and Matthew Hayden, might have raised a few eyebrows. But the stocky right-hander was up to the task in finding quick runs all around the wicket, thus, ably making for the absence of Michael Bevan, who is considered a specialist in such situations.
These two have so far added 40 (45 balls), with both having hit Croft for one six each in consecutive overs. Ponting, looking better and better with the passage of time, has 70 off 84 balls against his name, whereas Martyn has 19 off 22 balls.
England pace duo – Gough and Mullally – applied a tight line and length in their first overs, with only one run coming from them.
The third over, by Gough, and Waugh soon came into his own, cutting the pace man for two consecutive boundaries to point.
However, Gilchrist, while trying to treat the bowler in the same vein, was well taken by Owais Shah at mid wicket – the first catch for the debutante. The Aussie stumper got 4 (13 balls) with the wicket falling at 12 in the 5th over.
Thereafter, the run-rate fell dramatically, with Ricky Ponting, coming in at his usual one-down position, never looking as confident as against Pakistan the other day. No wonder, Australian scorecard showing 16 for 1 in 7 overs, of which three were maidens.
Mark Waugh, in contrast, looked his usual self as he chipped Mullally over square leg for the first six of the innings. This shot seemed to have inspired his partner as well. He lunged forward at a Mullally-delivery and hoisted it into the crowd well beyond the long on boundary and followed up with a pull to mid wicket that went over the rope on first bounce.
Ponting who had just had 2 against his name off 19 balls, suddenly jumped on to 19 off 27, with Australia reaching 44 after 11 overs, the last 4 overs having produced 28.
This rapidly rising run-rate was checked only after the arrival into the attack of Ealham, as only 3 runs came off his first over. Australia acquired the fifty of the innings in the next over, by Cork, with five run, including a boundary by Ponting, coming off it.
Two consecutive fours by Ponting off Ealham brought up the fifty of the partnership in 59 balls.
At the end of 15 overs, Australia have reached 66 for 1, with Waugh and Ponting batting magnificently on respective scores of 25 (34 balls) and 34 (41 balls).
Coming together on 198 in the 43rd over, the two youngsters took some time to get acquainted to the conditions in the middle. It was only after the 45th over when they launched into their strokes, to take England to a respectable total by the end of their 50 overs.
Earlier, the fall of Trescothick's wicket signalled a marked fall in the run rate. With boundaries mostly dried up, England inched their way to 150 in the 31st over and managed just 29 more runs in the following seven overs.
The introduction of Brett Lee for the 39th over didn't change the scenario much as Knight struggled to emulate his earlier shots. What's more, the young speedster managed to dislodge the partnership, which had just crossed the 50-run mark off 71 balls.
Trying to work the ball away to the leg side, Knight was brilliantly caught at short mid wicket by Shane Warne – a very fine diving attempt indeed considering Warne's size – after making a fine 84 off 116 balls, which contained seven fours and two sixes.
After a subdued spell, England at last found the boundary – four leg byes off Lee. That eventful 43rd over from Lee ended with England crossing the 200-run mark, with yet again 4 leg byes, but not before Lee trapped Stewart lbw on the previous delivery. The England skipper hit 25 off 44 balls without finding the boundary.
With Shah and Hollioake having just arrived at the crease, the scoring became really difficult, until the 46th over when Hollioake at last broke the jinx by flicking Harvey for a big six to square leg.
The next over, by Warne, brought 8, including a magnificent first-ball four by Shah, the score reaching 237 for 4 in 47 overs.
Some entertaining and improvised shots in the closing overs brought the 50 partnership up off 34 balls, with England reaching the 250-run mark in the 49th overs. Seven off the last over and the England innings closed at a challenging 268 for 4, with Hollioake and Shah remaining unbeaten on respective scores of 37 (26 balls, 2 fours, 1 six) and 28 (24 balls, 3 fours).
The harsh treatment meted out to the fast bowlers prompted Waugh to introduce Shane Warne into the attack for the 16th over. Warne bowled tidily and the scoring slowed, but only momentarily as the two weighed the experienced campaigner's leg spin.
Two fours in Lee's next over, both off Knights' lightening bat, and the run-rate jumped up again, the right-handed pace man finishing his second spell with 29 coming off just 3 overs.
Knight, who by now had begun to thoroughly enjoy himself in the middle, smashed Warne, into his second over, for a six to mid-wicket. Eight runs from the leggie's next over, including a swept boundary by Trescothick, brought up the hundred for England in exactly 20 overs.
Trescothick reached his 54-ball fifty, his fourth in ODIs, in magnificent style, pulling Symonds for his seventh four. This shot was followed by another four and a six, as the over yielded 14 runs in all. The hundred of this superb partnership was also reached in the same over off 107 balls.
Knight was soon to follow his partner. He took 10 more balls to reach his 14th ODI fifty which contained 6 fours and 2 sixes, with scorecard showing 127 for 1 in 25 overs. These two had added 13 more to the score when Trescothick was out in the most unfortunate of manners. After pushing the ball to mid-wicket, he went for a run, which wasn't quite there. Quick work from Warne didn't allow him to make amends for the mistake. The left-handed opener got a fine 69 of 75 balls, which included eight fours and two sixes.
Alec Stewart, coming to the crease after the wicket, took the score to 147 by the 30th over, with Knight looking extremely good on 60 (81 balls). With eight wickets and 20 overs still in hand, England have a fair chance of posting something really challenging on the board, provided one of these two stays till the very end.
The Aussies had a perfect start to the match, as Brown displayed yet again a weakness for the ball pitched outside off. Flashing at an out-going McGrath-delivery, he was comfortably taken by Gilchrist behind the stumps. Brown hit one four, a nice cover drive in the very first over, on his way to 12 off 16 ball, with the wicket falling at 13.
Thereafter it was all Trescothick and Knight, as both left-handers took complete command of the situation. After being bogged down a bit in opening over, Trescothick got out of the groove by pulling Brett Lee to deep square leg for his first boundary.
Ian Harvey replaced Lee for the 8th over, and the right-handed medium pacer proved a lot cannier for the Englishmen, giving away just three singles despite Trescothick and Knight’s improvisations.
With McGrath as miserly as ever at the other end, the scoring became a difficult business for the batsmen; the scoreboard showing 25 for 1 in 10 overs.
However, Knight who does not like to be bogged down for too long, made good use of his feet against McGrath and got a smashing boundary to deep extra cover, his first. Next over, and it was Trescothick’s turn to come into act, hoisting Harvey over mid on and mid wicket for two fours, taking England to 37 at the end of 12 overs.
Brett Lee returned for the 13th over and was welcomed by a boundary to deep cover by Knight. And with Trescothick apparently beginning to relish facing Harvey, the fifty of the innings came up in 13.4 overs after the left-handed opener had dispatched him for yet another leg side boundary. This four by followed by the first six of the innings, a huge shot to what seems Trescothick mid wicket region.
The first ball of the next over, by Lee, was lifted to long off for Knight’s first six. The following four to the deep square leg brought up the fifty of the partnership, with England reaching 66 for 1 after 15 overs.
Although it so too early to predict anything, yet the way Trescothick (30 off 40 balls) and Knight (22 off 34 balls) are batting at the moment, a big score for England is very much on cards.
After not having a good experience in chasing runs, the England skipper, Alec Stewart has elected to bat first after winning the toss on what seems like a good ODI pitch at Bristol.
Australia have made only one change to their side which trampled Pakistan by seven wickets at Cardiff yesterday. With Michael Bevan taking a well-deserved rest after yesterday's beautiful knock, another left-hander Matthew Hayden has got a chance to display his one-day prowess.
We have a full house at this English port city, with a majority supporting the home side and a few stands occupied by the Aussie fans.
Date-stamped : 10 Jun2001 - 22:38