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Carlton Mid Tri-Series – ENG vs AUS: Captain Smith Anchors Superb Aussie Chase

By on January 23, 2015

Australia 7 for 304 (Smith 102*) beat England 8 for 303 (Bell 141, Root 69) by 3 wickets…

In-form batsman’s century sees Australia into final after victory with a ball to spare.

Steve Smith has continued his winning ways as captain of Australia, guiding his men to what was ultimately a tense four-wicket Cartlon Mid ODI Tri-Series win over England at Blundstone Arena.

Smith finished unbeaten on 102 as the hosts chased 304 with one ball to spare to officially book themselves a spot in the final in Perth on February 1.

Carlton Mid Tri-Series - ENG vs AUS: Steven Smith

England almost got out of jail in the final over, but Smith and Mitchell Starc saw Australia home in front of 10,784 fans.

The hosts’ victory overshadowed a magnificent 141 by England opening batsman Ian Bell, who became his country’s most prolific run-scorer in the 50-over format.

Australia now head to Sydney for the Australia Day clash against India, while England travel west to Perth meet India in what could be a do-or-die match for the remaining final spot.

Smith won his first toss as ODI captain, but the move looked to be a poor one when Bell and Ali creamed the new ball attack to all parts to bring up the England fifty inside nine overs.

Bell was classical on the front foot, lacing boundary after boundary through the covers and straight past the bowler to raise his own half-century off 42 balls with eight fours.

Ali at the other end was finding it hard to get bat on ball. Half a dozen balls flew past the left-hander’s searching blade before the shackles were broken with a trio of sixes over mid-wicket off Pat Cummins.

The joy was short-lived for Ali, undone by James Faulkner for 46 to end the opening stand on 113, and one wicket quickly became two when James Taylor failed for five 19 runs later.

But Bell was unmoved, motoring to his century from 92 balls, and in the process becoming England’s highest run-scorer in ODI cricket, surpassing Paul Collingwood.

Together, Bell and Root put on 121, guiding England to 250 shortly after the 40th over, but when Bell and Eoin Morgan fell within three balls of each other, then Root 20 runs later, hopes for a score close to 350 quickly vanished.

Australia may have wasted the new ball, but with the old they were at their frugal best, restricting the visitors to just one boundary in the last six overs, finishing the innings with a team hat-trick to chase just over a run a ball.

Subbing in for David Warner, Shaun Marsh made the Test-to-ODI switch seamless by going on the all-out attack from the word go.

The Western Australian laced three boundaries off Chris Woakes’s second over as Australia pipped England’s opening assault by reaching fifty from only 44 balls.

On 76, Australia lost their first wicket in Finch for 32, bowled by Ali with one that dipped under the batsman’s attempted drive to the on-side.

Sixteen runs later Marsh’s drive found a thick outside edge and Bell at backward point, and when Cameron White returned to the ODI crease for the first time in four years, he was sent back two balls later without scoring to have Australia teetering at 3-92 in the 17th over. However, around their captain, Australia rallied.

Smith combined with each of Maxwell (37), Faulkner (35) and Brad Haddin (42 off 28) for half-century stands as Morgan could only bump Australia’s chase and not derail it.

A towering six off James Anderson took Smith to 96, and a tuck off the hip next over brought up his third ODI century to become the only Australian to score a century on Test and ODI captaincy debut.

Brad Haddin’s 29-ball cameo took the wind out England’s sails, but a tense finish followed thanks to some crafty death bowling by Woakes.

Henriques was run out off the third ball of the final over with still two required for victory, but singles to Smith and Mitchell Starc iced the game for the Australia to remain unbeaten.

Source: Cricket Australia

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