Langer’s reign as coach begins with loss to England
LONDON: Australia made a stuttering start to coach Justin Langer’s tenure as they lost by three wickets to England in the opening match of the one-day series at The Oval yesterday.
Only Glenn Maxwell impressed as Australia batted first, scoring 62 as the touring side lost regular wickets and were bowled out for a mediocre 214 in the 47th over.
England made a meal of reaching the low target, however, and when Eoin Morgan (69), Jos Buttler and Joe Root (50) fell in the space of three overs the hosts were wobbling on 163-6.
David Willey eased England home, finishing the match off with a booming six.
Sheets of sandpaper with “4” and “6” printed on them were handed out on the approaches to the Oval – a reminder of the ball-tampering scandal that engulfed Australian cricket this year and cost Steve Smith the captaincy.
Langer’s new-look Australian batting lineup made an inauspicious start. Maxwell, who struck a 52-ball half century, shared an 84-run stand with Ashton Agar for the sixth wicket to raise Australian hopes of a challenging total.
But Maxwell top-edged Liam Plunkett to deep square leg where Jonny Bairstow took the simplest of catches and Agar was plumb lbw to Adil Rashid before Plunkett and Mark Wood mopped up the tail.
Billy Stanlake bowled Jason Roy for a duck in England’s reply and when Bairstow was caught on the boundary England were 38 for three.
Morgan and Root put England in total control before the hosts stumbled over the line.