Cricket Expert (IPLT20)
Twitter Reactions: England bowlers stage a sensational comeback at Old Trafford to stun Australia
This was not the first time that Australia succumbed to pressure.by Pratyay
When England stepped out at the Old Trafford on Friday, they had a streak, one that any team would be proud of, at stake. The Brits have made their home a fortress and have not been defeated in a bilateral ODI series at home since 2015.
Uncertainty is a virtue often associated with cricket. And that looks to be a befitting virtue to be associated with the sport when Australia goes to bat in England. They must be livid, again, at how they once again allowed their grip to loosen to such extent that went onto lose by a margin that could be termed considerable, in the shorter versions of the game.
However, this was not the first time that Australia succumbed to pressure. In the first T20I at Southampton, they allowed the hosts to crumble them from a dominating position to fall 2 short of the requisite target. Here again, for the second time on the tour, and this time at the Old Trafford, in the second ODI, they waived their rights to win the game after putting themselves into the driving seat.
In all fairness, the track was low and slow and one that was not easy to be hung on. Skipper Eoin Morgan did what any sane captain would have done after winning the toss, knowing that the same strip was being used from the previous game: bat first. The Australian bowlers did make the opponent batters contemplate for a long while about how to get going on a track that almost looked lifeless for those with the bat in hand.
Aussie bowlers shine again
England’s hardest hitter, Jonny Bairstow, was pushed to submission for the second time in the series. However, this time on a much lower score as he got a seven-ball duck. Mitchell Starc’s searing and seaming deliveries were putting the openers to a test, and in no time was England 29/2. Joe Root (39 from 73) laboured alongside Eoin Morgan (42 from 52), who too stroke well below his standards.
Australia would have fancied to set themselves a target that would have been a cakewalk for them given their lineup. However, allowing Adil Rashid and Tom Curran to amass a 76-run stand for the ninth-wicket was not going to help them later. Australia was chasing 232, and despite that agonising partnership, the total was not one that should have troubled them too much. More so when they were only 2 down at 143 in the 31st over, with 89 required in 20 overs.
Morgan’s excellent decision which turned the game
England realized that they were losing their grip on the match and that is where skipper Morgan’s tactics of bringing in the pair of Jofra Archer and Chris Woakes turned things. The 107-run stand between Aaron Finch and Manus Labuschangne was broken as Woakes pinned the latter LBW.
And from there began the grand Australian collapse. In no time, they found themselves from 143/2 to 147/6. And that soon transformed to 166/8. Alex Carey did carry their hopes till the end, but his strategy did not pay off when Adil Rashid got him stumped to seal the deal for England.