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Friday, January 12, 2007

Australia thrashes England and removes KP for rest of series

Returning to the 50 over game after its unsuccessful one off foray into Twenty20, England never quite looked like making enough runs to give its bowlers a reasonable chance of bowling Australia out. In the context of the series the worst thing that happened to them was not the loss of the game, but the tour ending broken rib sustained by Kevin Pietersen, whose 82 underpinned the total of 8/242.

The top order England batting looked to be building a platform for a late innings assault, but Pietersen's injury removed the most solid plank. The Australian pace bowling was generally good, though Stuart Clark wasn't quite the immaculate bowler we saw in the Tests and Cameron White ("Craig White" as Bill Lawry of all people described him once on Channel 9) was too expensive.

The openers got Australia out of the blocks against some ordinary England pace bowling. Adam Gilchrist was himself (no need to say more), and Matthew Hayden played an anchor role. They were out with the total at 101 (93 b) and 118 (109 b), by which time only one result looked possible. And so it turned out, thanks to aggressive batting from Ricky Ponting and Clarke, abetted by another poor England fielding display (Jon Lewis is becoming the team's butterfingers).

Where next for England? Pietersen will be very hard to replace, but with more support from the the bowlers and the fielders, they should still be able to lift a notch or two. This should be enough to make them competitive against New Zealand, but against Australia...?

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