England’s second ODI victory over Australia ‘wasn’t pretty’, says Joe Root

first_imgEngland cricket team Share on LinkedIn Reuse this content England beat Australia by four wickets in second ODI – as it happened Share on Twitter Share on Pinterest match reports Share on Facebook … we have a small favour to ask. More people, like you, are reading and supporting the Guardian’s independent, investigative journalism than ever before. And unlike many news organisations, we made the choice to keep our reporting open for all, regardless of where they live or what they can afford to pay.The Guardian will engage with the most critical issues of our time – from the escalating climate catastrophe to widespread inequality to the influence of big tech on our lives. At a time when factual information is a necessity, we believe that each of us, around the world, deserves access to accurate reporting with integrity at its heart.Our editorial independence means we set our own agenda and voice our own opinions. 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Starting his last over in the 38th, with 45 to defend, Joe Root and Jos Buttler set and six wickets left, he found Buttler’s outside edge, then Moeen Ali’s middle stump, leaving England still needing 43.Chris Woakes ensured a smooth finale with a swift 39 not out, while Root added another measured red-inker (46 not out) to go with his unbeaten 91 at the MCG. “It wasn’t very pretty today,” he said. “There wasn’t a lot of finesse but it was about being there at the end and winning the game.”Jason Roy fell for only two after his 180 in Melbourne, yet England were still able to rattle Australia’s attack with Jonny Bairstow and Alex Hales combining for 117 off 112 balls to break the back of the chase. While Bairstow and Hales brought up their half-centuries in style – with a four and a six down the ground respectively – there was minor alarm when both fell in the space of 13 balls, turning 119 for one into 129 for three.It had looked like your typical Gabba ODI pitch: a sweat-stained white-shirt shade of mock concrete which, they say, offers something for bowlers early on. That “something” amounted to two deliveries in Woakes’s first over. David Warner and Aaron Finch then thrashed a half-century opening stand in under nine overs. However, Moeen’s introduction at the end of the power play, conceding only two singles off the 10th, got Eoin Morgan thinking. When Moeen had Warner (35) caught at slip it brought a change of tack. Read more Share on Messenger Morgan packed away the quicks. It might have gone against convention, like rummaging around for a pair of flip-flops for an English January morning, but there was enough to suggest the open-toed approach in usually hostile spin conditions was the way forward. Australia had dropped the leg-spinner Adam Zampa for the batsman Cameron White.Root ended up being the pick of the bowlers, taking two for 31 from seven overs on the bounce. He removed Steve Smith lbw then had Travis Head caught and bowled. Rarely has part-time off-spin from an English hand been treated with such fear. It ensured a boundary-less 55-ball period between the 15th and 24th overs that restricted Australia to 33 runs.Even with a second Finch ODI hundred in two games, which again involved time in the middle with Mitchell Marsh, Australia were unable to learn lessons from the MCG.Again, both fell in quick succession – this time in the space of five balls rather than 12. Marsh gave Adil Rashid the first of his two wickets when he was stumped off a big leg-spinner, before Finch went for 106 (one fewer than in the first ODI) becoming Liam Plunkett’s 100th ODI wicket.Everything Morgan and England tried came good. Woakes even used his football skills to catch Alex Carey off his line for an enterprising 27 on debut. That was the only threat of pushing Australia above par. Reaching for that big finish, the hosts lost six for 62 in the last 11 overs. Smith was in no mood for pleasantries: “270 is not good enough against a quality batting lineup like England,” he said. Since you’re here… The Ashes Share via Email Australia cricket team Read more England came into this series wanting to win in different ways. So after a dominant performance in the first one-day international, a nippier chase on an uncharacteristic Brisbane pitch is one to add to the portfolio. A four-wicket win with 34 balls remaining gave them a 2-0 lead in the series. This was only their second win in eight ODIs at this venue.Australia opted to bat first and drop their only spinner. So when England used three of their own, bowling their second-highest number of deliveries by spinners in an ODI in this country, the hosts knew something was not quite right. The pitch was more Chandigarh than Gabbatoir. Support The Guardian Cricketlast_img read more