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NatWest Series – England vs Aus 1st ODI: Aussies Break Oval Hoodoo

By on September 5, 2009

NatWest Series - Callum FergusonAustralia 260 for 5 (Ferguson 71*, Collingwood 2-47) beat England 256 for 8 (Bopara 49, Shah 40, Johnson 3-24) by 4 runs…

It was a case of third time lucky at The Oval for Australia after it finally broke its hoodoo at the venue with a thrilling four-run victory in the opening one-day international over England on Friday night.

Inspired by 71 off 75 balls from Callum Ferguson and a half-century to Cameron White, Australia made 5-260 then restricted England to 8-256.

The victory, however, came in the least important of the three games here this tour following losses to the West Indies in the ICC World Twenty20 and, most memorably, in the deciding Ashes Test.

Hamstrung through the middle overs when it lost a steady stream of wickets – some in bizarre fashion – at inopportune times, England’s hopes were renewed by a whirlwind 38 off 27 balls from Luke Wright.

With the asking rate ballooning above 10 an over, Wright shared a bruising 46-run stand from 34 deliveries with Adil Rashid.

Then with the game seemingly in Australia’s keeping after losing Wright and Graeme Swann in the 47th and 48th overs, England crashed 14 from the penultimate over of the game, bowled by Brett Lee, leaving it with 13 to win from the last over.

The equation was whittled down to nine off four balls when Rashid, who made 31 off 23 deliveries, struck a full toss behind square for a boundary but one-day specialist Nathan Bracken held his nerve.

Three wickets in the space of 13 balls by Mitchell Johnson was the catalyst for England’s demise though the locals’ wrath will be directed at out-of-form pair Ravi Bopara and Paul Collingwood.

After taking 88 balls to reach 49, Bopara was expected to bat deep into the run chase rather than be stumped in the 29th over, and Collingwood made 23 off 39 deliveries at a time when the run rate required was well above a run a ball.

But they were not the only players to lose their wickets after getting starts.

Matt Prior holed out to Nathan Hauritz with a reverse sweep and Owais Shah, whose running between the wickets bordered on farcical at times, trod on his wicket after making a lively 40.

Although not the raging turner produced for the fifth Test, spin again proved an effective weapon.
England’s frontline spinners Rashid and Swann conceded only 66 runs from their 17 overs before Hauritz, controversially left out of the Ashes decider, picked up 2-44.

Ferguson was the key to Australia’s total, steadying the innings after it lost established pair White and Shane Watson before upping the ante at the death.

Watson and White laid a sturdy foundation, prospering when the ball was at its hardest with risk-free cuts and drives, but departed in quick succession.

Ferguson added 79 for the fourth wicket with captain Michael Clarke, who made 45 off 72 balls but struggled to consistently find the gaps, then pinched invaluable runs batting with Michael Hussey and James Hopes during happy hour.

Despite failing to clear the pickets, Australia swelled its total by 82 runs in the final 10 overs, thanks to 44 from its five-over batting powerplay.

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