Late Willey heroics see England past Australia

By Sports Desk June 13, 2018

England bounced back from their humiliating defeat to Scotland with a three-wicket victory over an under-par Australia in the opening one-day international at the Oval.

Eoin Morgan's side came up six runs short in Edinburgh on Sunday and were roundly criticised for not getting over the line against an associate member.

It looked like their issues with the bat might continue on Wednesday as they lost early wickets in pursuit of their 215-run target – Glenn Maxwell having been the only Australian batsman to fire.

However, the two skippers within England's side - Morgan and Test captain Joe Root – steered the hosts towards victory with a fourth-wicket partnership of 115.

Neither was able to complete the job but Moeen Ali and David Willey ensured the hosts finished 218-7 to take a 1-0 lead in the five-match series.

It could have all been so different had Australia capitalised on the early wickets of Jason Roy (0) and Alex Hales (5), the pair managing five runs between them as England slipped to 23-2.

The normally reliable Jonny Bairstow (28) could not repeat his century against Scotland as he fell to Kane Richardson (1-49), a short delivery pulled straight to Travis Head at square leg.

Morgan (69) and Root (50) quickly steadied the ship, though, to put any question of successive limited-over defeats to bed.

Both captains played with composure and brought up valuable half centuries as Australia's early momentum waned, Morgan particularly ruthless at finding the boundary with 11 fours.

A mini collapse saw both men – and the dangerous Jos Buttler (9) – depart in the space of three overs, England losing three wickets for 10 runs as Andrew Tye (2-42) enjoyed some success.

Ali (17) and Willey completed the job, though, with the latter finishing unbeaten on 35 - which included a huge six over long-on to secure victory.

Defeat will leave Australia contemplating what might have been, the tourists toothless with the bat at times as England exposed their shortcomings.

Three wickets in 4.1 overs for Ali (3-43) accounted for Aaron Finch (19), Shaun Marsh (24) and Paine (12) as Australia failed to build on promising starts.

Only Maxwell and Ashton Agar (40) showed any real resistance, the former thrashing 62 off 64 balls coming in at number six.

It was too little, too late, though, as Australia crumbled to their second-lowest total when batting first since the 2015 World Cup – not the start Justin Langer will have wanted at the beginning of their new era.

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