Australia 248-6 (20 overs). England 209-6.
If you play enough games, you’ll win eventually. Even Accrington Stanley win a few.
Last night Australia won their first cricket match, in any format, for 200 days. It was all down to a remarkable innings from a human tank called Aaron Finch – a man with possibly the least appropriate name in world cricket. Aaron Pterodactyl would be more apt; the bloke is a monster.
Finch hit 156 off 63 balls – with more sixes than you usually get in an entire T20 series, let alone a single dig.
England’s bowling was, well, let’s be kind and say it was merely dreadful, but that shouldn’t detract from an awesome display of power hitting.
Greg Blewett and the rest of Sky commentary team were left speechless. They ran out of superlatives. Perhaps they should have adopted the Batman technique: just give up on actual descriptions and simply shout “POW”, “BANG”, “KAPOW”, “WHAM” and “BIFF” every time Finch cracked another boundary.
The least said about England the better to be honest. Joe Root was the star with a sparkling 90 off 49 balls – proving once again that he looks a better player in the middle order – but the others failed to impress.
A special mention should go to Ashley Giles for making a total pig’s ear of selection.
Nobody, probably not even his own Mum, would have defended Michael Lumb’s inclusion at the expense of Michael Carberry – who would’ve been playing at his home ground.
Meanwhile, the decision to pick Danny Briggs over James Tredwell, who is one of England’s most reliable limited overs performers, was astonishing. The only possible rationale could have been that the Rose Bowl is Brigg’s home ground too, so he knows the conditions – in which case, why wasn’t Carberry playing?
England also picked the mother of all tails, with Finn scheduled, somewhat laughably, to come in at nine. Fortunately, the game didn’t come down to that.
Great as Finch’s innings was, a large proportion of his runs were gorged off Luke Wright, Ravi Bopara, Briggs and Dernbach. Are these bowlers really representative of the strength of English cricket? Personally, I don’t think they are – and I doubt you do either.
I suppose one could always argue that England picked an experimental line-up, and were keen to see some new faces in action, but Australia wouldn’t have seen it that way. Games against the old enemy are always serious affairs.
One senses that Giles can pick who he wants at this stage, safe in the knowledge that he’ll be appointed England coach in all formats of the game when, as expected, Andy Flower steps down at the end of the Ashes this winter.
Personally, this is something I feel uncomfortable with. Did you know that Giles has now lost more games than he’s won since taking over as England’s limited overs coach? Personally, I’m yet to be convinced he possesses the cricketing IQ, leadership qualities or charisma to be handed the job on a platter. On the positive side, however, his face fits. So I suppose that’s the main box ticked as far as the ECB are concerned.
Maybe Giles will go on to be a very successful international coach – I sincerely hope he does – but let’s not forget that England were recently top of the ODI rankings when he took over. An overall record of won 11, lost 12 (in all forms) shows he’s still got much to prove. Let’s hope for a better performance, and better selection, on Saturday.