Cricket Captain 2018: The revive of England

England show resistance in a high scoring chase with Root and Morgan leading the victory.

After the 3-0 series romp, County Durham was the venue for an England kickstart in what has been a disappointing start to their one day summer. Home pundits had been calling for changes in a poor showing from the Pommies so far against the under strength Australians and 2 were made. Joe Clarke replaces Malan in another vice versa switch from the 2nd and 3rd ODI- (will they choose who they want at 3?), and Tom Curran replacing brother Sam after an expensive start to his debut series. The Aussies made the singular change with Travis Head rested for experienced Shaun Marsh.

Lynn top scoring with a rapid century backed up by Maxwell’s aggressive 85 and lower order runs to get Australia up to 334 in their 50 overs.

The lethal partnership of Finch and Short was reignited with Tom Curran and Stokes aiming to strike early after new ball woes in the series so far. Stokes, with confidence with his last bat, took the early wicket of Short on a good length delivery, with Short looking to kickstart his innings. Lynn hadn’t fired so far throughout the series but he seized on some abysmal lengths and lines from the opening pair. Finch played a cameo role feeding the strike well to Lynn, who took down Curran and began to take on Rashid. But, the bowler of the series for England, Rashid took the wicket of Finch with another googly as batsman have struggled to pick Rashid’s deliveries. Marsh made a positive start and brought the Australians up to 130-3 after 22 overs in a quick fire run rate. However, after dispatching Curran for a boundary, Marsh succumbed to Curran’s slower ball and was trapped in front for 15 leaving Maxwell to join Lynn at 3-139.

72 runs scored in a power hitting knock from the Queensland batsman

Fireworks begun with Lynn continuing his imperious ball striking and Maxwell showing his destructive nature as Rashid, for the first time in the series, was knocked off his usual line and length. The 50 partnership was reached off only 31 balls giving the Australians hope for 350-400. Lynn took 24 off Woakes’s over before dispatching returning bowler Stokes for his 15th four to bring up his maiden ODI century. However, his celebrations were short lived as a rejuvenated Stokes trapped Lynn for the 3rd LBW out of 4. Lynn’s wicket was the first of 3 to fall for 3 runs as the inform Paine failed to pick Rashid’s top spinner and was bowled before Stokes took another in the next over as Stoinis inexpiably played a failed ramp and was bowled for 1.

An innovative filled innings of destructive batting from Maxwell propelled the Australians out of the mini collapse.

Adam Zampa rebuilt the Australian innings in a cameo role with Maxwell taking the anchor with Plunkett in particular taking the brunt of Maxwell’s aggression. The run rate began to climb as England showed glimpses of anger and dispute with each other with 2 dropped catches of Zampa and a hard chance of Maxwell put down. 75 runs were added for the seventh wicket partnership before Woakes used his slower balls for success dismissing an impressive Zampa for 37. Maxwell’s onslaught continued whilst at the other end, Jhye Richardson contributed with a maximum of his own going into the final 5 overs.

Stokes with 3 valuable wickets and helped restrict Australia to under 350.

Plunkett had frustrated Maxwell in the previous over and his steeping bouncer managed to dismiss Maxwell in the penultimate over for an 85 boosting Australia’s score. Tye fell first ball to Plunkett a few balls later but Richardson promptly smashed 16 of the final over to bring the momentum back to the Aussies. Lynn and Maxwell starred with impressive ball striking whilst Finch, Zampa and Richardson played cameo roles in a 334 which would be tough to chase down. Stokes was the main contributor with the ball with 3 as Rashid and Plunkett chipped in with 2 but at an expensive rate.

Last over heroics give England the victory with experienced heads Root and Morgan leading the Pommies to a successful chase.

With a difficult chase ahead for England, they got off to a less than ideal start as Stanlake ripped through Bairstow for a golden duck. The NO3 position had been highly talked about before the match and the constant changing between Malan and Clarke hadn’t payed off so far and failed once more as Clarke nicked behind to Paine off Stanlake for a mere 9. Root took the mantle of the aggressor in an unfamiliar role for the Test Captain with Hales following suit to drag England inline with the required run rate. Boundaries flowed off the seam bowlers from both batsman targeting the short boundary to the offside. Zampa was attacked early on but it was Tye who broke through as Hales’s free flowing 44 was ended by a deceptively slow slower ball by the WA paceman.

Untypical powerful innings from Root in a match winning 92.
A proper captains’ inning which contributed to England’s first victory

The Vice Captain and Captain were joined together to dampen the Australian spirits with the pitch beginning to show signs of wear making the batsman’s life easier. Morgan and Root began to form a flourishing partnership with Zampa and Stoinis going at 9-12 runs an over. The momentum had turned towards England with both batsman reaching their half centuries and motoring on. Maxwell and part timer Short had bowled tight overs back to back and the pressure created culminated in the downfall of Root for a fabulous 92 playing too an extravagant shot on this occasion and finding the edge to Paine off Maxwell. (131 run partnership) Stokes followed the platform from Root and put on a brisk 28 with Morgan before the latter succumbed to the left arm spinner Short in front for 76. With only 95 required with 15 overs left, the game was firmly in the balance but the momentum of the record breaking partnership swung England into control.

Buttler had struggled so far in the series to replicate the form shown in the IPL but with the pitch in favour of the ball striker, he flourished in a supporting role with Stokes. Stokes bulldozed 8 boundaries in his innings with Australia’s main bowlers failed to strike the crucial breakthrough as England looked destined to victory. Richardson though sparked a twist in the tale as Stokes became the third out of four victims of LBW for 42. Woakes struggled throughout his 36 ball stay as the Australians kept the pressure on well to him but it didn’t deter Buttler who brought the total to 10 off the last 3 overs before Tye dismissed him for 48 becoming the fourth LBW victim. Rashid, though, finished the game off in style with a second ball six to defeat Australia and give England some light in a darker tunnel.

Billy Stanlake took 2 early wickets but in a losing cause.

In a pleasing performance for England, the experienced heads found form and steered them to the big scoring chase with the Australians fairly disappointed to have bowled poorly especially at Root and Morgan with 7 bowlers used. Stoinis and Zampa in particular were too expensive and relied on part timers to fill up their allocation. The fault lied in the bowling and fielding performances as the batting was boosted by different contributors. We head off to Old Trafford in the final ODI with the Aussies intending to finish the series off 4-1. Alex Carey, Peter Handscomb and Clive Rose are expected to play a part in the final match with Rose on debut.

Be sure to revisit the site for more Cricket Captain reports as well as different cricket topics including Ashes Cricket, the Big Bash and International Cricket. Until next time Short Leg

Cricket Captain 2018: Tremendous Trent Bridge Success

3 from 3 for the Aussies in a remarkable series win with an understrength side against the Pommies.

Trent Bridge was the hosting venue for the 3rd ODI where in real life England hammered a world record 481-6 in their 50 overs. They would be hoping to replicate that form in the virtual game with a response required after going 2-0 down in the series. The hosts made 2 alterations with David Malan replacing Joe Clarke in a vice versa switch from the last ODI and under firing seamer Tom Curran being replaced by the experienced Liam Plunkett. Australia remained unchanged for the 3rd successive match as they aimed to wrap up an unlikely series victory.

England made 270 in their 50 overs with a brilliant century from Bairstow and a supporting knock of 70 from Hales

Stanlake and Richardson opened the bowling attack for the Australians after winning the toss but it was the opening partnership that provided a platform for England. The aggressive manner of Hales bounced off onto Bairstow as both played controlled but attacking shots taking the advantage of the extra pace and the powerplay. Deceptive bowler Tye couldn’t break through the shackles of either batsman as the ball was shot to the legside often. Their 100 run partnership came up after 15 overs and reached the 20th over with 138 on the board. But, the decisive change of Zampa’s field drew Hales into a false trap and was bowled around the legs for 70. Australia were galvanised and under pressure Malan was back to the pavilion after a swift 20 padding in front to Zampa’s googly. Steady Root joined Bairstow at the crease showing a variety of shots whilst Bairstow calmly made his way to his 7th ODI century coming off 115 balls as the pair negotiated each bowling change made by Finch.

Wagon wheel of Jonny Bairstow’s 107 off 126 with 15 fours and 1 six.

Shortly after reaching the ton, Bairstow succumbed to the tempting pressure of increasing the run rate as he attempted an ambitious ramp to Tye. Morgan’s indifferent form was exploited by the intelligent Tye as he lured him into a lofted drive just for the ball to cannon back into the pads for a golden duck. Root’s unusual 100+ strike rate was promising for England but he fell at 5-248 to Jhye Richardson LBW (the 4th out of the top order.) Australia then began to keep the batters under a tight scoring rate with clever off pace deliveries and the occasional bouncer which Stanlake used to dismiss Buttler for 1. Stokes held one end up aiming for the boundary but his support was thin as Richardson had Woakes caught on the boundary for 1 before Rashid fell into Tye’s trap edging behind again for 1.

Canny bowling from Tye mixing up his off pace deliveries got him the reward of 3 valuable wickets.

Stokes finished with a flourishing boundary but an under par last 10 overs brought the Aussies back with the momentum after an impressive and flowing opening partnership between centurion Bairstow and aggressive Hales.

4 half centuries from the top 6 in a dominant display leading Australia to a series win.

Much like England’s opening pair, the inform duo of Finch and Short repeated their spectacular combinations. Sam Curran and Ben Stokes opened up but swing was in short supply which nullified their threat. 86 runs came from the opening 10 overs as momentum began to roll towards the tourists. Groans from the home crowd were soon silenced as standout bowler Rashid took Short’s wicket for 57 with 11 boundaries in an 117 run partnership. In the same over, Rashid removed Lynn to swing the momentum back towards England and galvanising the crowd. Finch’s free flowing attitude didn’t stagnate as the run rate was maintained in chase of 271. Head never got going and lost his head to a rash shot (mind the puns) as Rashid took his third. Finch and Maxwell joined in an entertaining knock shooting down the bowlers until Finch nicked behind from Woakes for an energetic 79.

Finch’s free flowing 79 came with innovative shots in a counter attacking style.

When hope seemed brighter for England, a 97 run partnership from Maxwell and leader Paine led the Australians to victory. Paine’s knock in particular showed the class of a middle order batsman with boundary hitting shots combined with simple singles whilst Maxwell played a boundary filled innings completing the contest with a punch down the ground off the expensive Plunkett.

Rashid starred in a lacklustre England attack taking 3 at a neat economy rate.

Australia complete the series with 2 games to go in a dominant display of all round quality with each player showing their worth on the field of play. England had their moments but they came in very short supply with Rashid, Root and the opening combo the highlights in a disappointing poor series loss in home conditions. D’Arcy Short led the way for the Australians in his debut series with valuable contributions from all in a real team showing grit, passion and determination.

With two games to go, they will be covered in the same article but be sure to revisit the site to see how the games play out with the options of Handscomb, Care, Marsh and Clive Rose poised to make their mark on the series but also a possible charge back from England?

Until next time Short Leg