UP TO SCRATCH

Eng­land’s se­nior stars step up against shamed Aussies just when No.1 ODI rank­ing was on line

Daily Mirror - - SPORT - BY DEAN WIL­SON Cricket Cor­re­spon­dent @Crick­etMir­ror

ENG­LAND sur­vived a bat­ting wob­ble to see off Aus­tralia and hold on to their rank­ing as the world’s best ODI team.

A three-wicket win was far closer than it should have been, with Eng­land hunt­ing down a slen­der tar­get of 215 to go 1-0 up in the five-match se­ries.

They had learned from de­feat against Scot­land and had their se­nior play­ers – Eoin Mor­gan, Joe Root and man-of-the­match Moeen Ali (right) – to thank most.

But they will know it could have been eas­ier.

In the first match be­tween the na­tions since the Aus­tralia ball­tam­per­ing scan­dal, David Wil­ley was the key man at the end to see home the team with an un­beaten 35.

He fin­ished the game with a tow­er­ing straight six, yet it should not have been left to him.

Mor­gan had bat­ted beau­ti­fully for his 69, while Root was im­pe­ri­ous in reach­ing 50, but a loss of three wick­ets for 10 runs pro­vided a scare.

Skip­per Mor­gan said: “I’m very pleased with the win, par­tic­u­larly with the bowling. I thought they were out­stand­ing to­day and the spin­ners did a great job as they have done for a few years.

“We were good in parts and to win the game when you’re not as good as you can be is a great thing.

“Joe is a ge­nius and very calm at the crease. Noth­ing is un­achiev­able when he’s there, he’s a huge part of our team.

“And Moeen al­ways gives you an op­tion and he’s had a great day to­day. The Scot­land game made us hone our skills a lit­tle bit. You never like los­ing but we did take the les­son from it.”

Eng­land’s bowlers were warned by Mor­gan that con­ced­ing more than 370 runs – as they had in Ed­in­burgh – must be a one­off. They re­sponded.

First through Wil­ley, who got the ball to swing, and then through their spin twins Ali and Adil Rashid, who re­in­forced the view that the Aussies strug­gle against spin.

Be­tween them they bowled 20 overs and took 5-79, draw­ing Aus­tralia into play­ing a se­lec­tion of daft shots. None was dafter than that of their skip­per, Tim Paine (be­low), who wants his ac­tions to speak louder than words. As he re­vers­eswept Rashid straight to short-third man those ac­tions screamed brain­less.

Not long ago the dis­graced Steve Smith was lec­tur­ing Glenn Maxwell on his train­ing habits af­ter ax­ing him from the squad. Here it was up to the Big Show to res­cue the in­nings.

His 62 at least gave his bowlers some­thing to de­fend, but it never looked enough with the depth of Eng­land’s bat­ting and this time they got over the line with six overs to spare.

50-50 VI­SION Skip­per Mor­gan (left) and ex­pe­ri­enced No.4 Root (above) made im­por­tant half­cen­turies

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