Millennium Post

Glenn Maxwell comes of age

Glenn Maxwell comes of age
An all-round show by Glenn Maxwell and a devastating pace-bowling spell by Mitchell Johnson helped Australia crush England by 112 runs in a lopsided summit clash to clinch the cricket tri-series title here on Sunday. Maxwell revived the Australian innings from a precarious 60 for 4 with a brilliant 98-ball 95 to take his side to 278 for 8 after being put into bat and then grabbed four wickets for 46 runs to annihilate England in their run chase in tandem with Johnson (3/27) at the WACA.

Johnson extracted the bounce offered by the lively pitch as he took three wickets in the space of 10 deliveries, including two in two balls, to rock the England run chase early on. England never recovered from the early jolt and were all out for just 166 in 39.1 overs to lose the final match without any fight. Ravi Bopara top-scored for England with a 59-ball 33 as the visiting side crumbled under some impressive bowling by the Australians. Opener Moeen Ali and Joe Root contributed 26 and 25 respectively at the top-order while Stuart Broad scored 24 down the order as England suffered a humiliating defeat. 

Australia will now go into the upcoming World Cup at home with more confidence as they wrapped up their preparations on a high by winning the three-team tournament which also featured India. 

England were sent into the backfoot soon after the start of their run chase of 279 with new-ball bowler Josh Hazlewood (2/13) drawing first blood by dismissing in-form opener Ian Bell (8) caught behind in the fourth over itself.

Johnson then turned on the heat to send James Taylor (4) back to the pavilion with Maxwell taking a low catch at backward point. The left-arm pacer then got the dangerous Ali with a snorter as the opener was caught behind and next ball, captain Eoin Morgan went for a first-ball duck to give Johnson a chance to grab a hat-trick. But Bopara left Johnson’s next delivery alone to deny the pacer a hat-trick.

From 46/4, England really had no chance especially as they kept losing wickets at regular intervals. Root was trapped LBW by James Faulkner (1/11) who walked off with a possible side-strain in the 24th over. Then Maxwell came on to slip in two wickets quickly, removing Jos Buttler (17) and Chris Woakes (0) off successive deliveries in the 25th over. Bopara, who faced 59 deliveries and hit one four in his 33, and Stuart Broad played together for a bit, adding 32 runs for the eighth wicket, the most fruitful partnership of the innings for England.

But they were never in with a shot to chase down the target, and the end came swiftly after Maxwell sent back Bopara in the 39th over. Hazlewood then bowled Steve Finn (6) to end the match.

Earlier, Maxwell scored 95 runs (98 balls, 15 fours) and James Faulkner smashed a 24-ball unbeaten 50, studded with four boundaries and four sixes, in the death overs to power Australia to 278 for eight. Mitchell Marsh chipped in with 60 runs (68 balls, 7x4, 1x6) as he and Maxwell rebuilt the 
Australian innings from 60/4 at one stage with a 151-run stand for the fifth wicket.

This was after England won the toss and elected to field first. The visitors were unchanged from their game against India on Friday, also in Perth, while Australia brought back Johnson into the playing eleven in place of Xavier Doherty. Aaron Finch (0) and David Warner (12) opened the innings, but England found instant success as the former was caught off James Anderson (2/38) at first slip in the very first over.

In-form Steve Smith (40 runs, 50 balls, 5x4) came in at number three and played some attractive strokes all over the park. But batsmen at the other end were struggling as seen from Warner’s dismissal, who was unable to negotiate extra bounce from Anderson in the seventh over and was caught behind. 

Stand-in skipper George Bailey (2) walked in next and he was looking to spend some time in the middle to get off his poor run of scores. He used up 16 deliveries to get his first runs on the board and then was gone the very next ball, caught bat-pad at short leg by James Taylor off Stuart Broad (3/55) in the 12th over. Soon Smith was dismissed by Ali against the run of play in the 18th over. 

Marsh and Maxwell then came together, but started slowly as the 100-mark was crossed in the 25th over. They looked to settle down and play themselves in before going for the big strokes as their 50-run partnership came up two overs later. Maxwell, in particular, played with great focus as he wanted to turn his poor scores into a big one, and he did so very well, reaching his ninth ODI fifty off 64 balls in the 30th over. The batting powerplay came up shortly and the two batsmen opened up, taking 46 runs off those five overs as they also brought up their 100-run partnership. The 200-mark came up in the 41st over and Australia looked set for a tall score but then Maxwell failed to get to three-figures again, the batsman skying one off Broad in that same over to be caught easily by Buttler. Marsh celebrated his fourth ODI fifty off 64 balls in the next over, but he too was run-out short afterwards, going for a tough second run in the 44th over. Brad Haddin (9) and Mitchell Johnson (3) fell cheaply but the latter was involved in a 45-run partnership with Faulkner. The all-rounder went ballistic and put the English attack to the sword, helping his team take 78 runs off the last eight overs. Faulkner brought up his fourth ODI fifty off just 24 balls, smacking the last ball of the innings for his fourth six as Steve Finn (1/53) and Chris Woakes (0/89) proved to be quite expensive.

Briefscores Australia 278/8 in 50 overs (Glenn Maxwell 95, Mitchell Marsh 60, James Faulkner 60 not out; Stuart Broad 3/55, James Anderson 2/38) beat England 166 all out in 39.1 overs (Glenn Maxwell 4/46, Mitchell Johnson 3/27). 
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