Right then, that’s us. Check back in a few minutes for Vic Marks’ match report, otherwise see you for the ODIs. Yes! Ta-ra for now.
Collecting the man of the series away on behalf of Jos Buttler, he says he’d have been captain had he been around tonight, and that just having him around even when he doesn’t play well is amazing. There’s then confusion as to who collects the series trophy, so Moeen takes it and can barely bear to pick it up.
Moeen is honoured to captain the team and says the pitch was difficult first up, but England were 15 runs short and poor in the field. If they’d taken their chances, they’d have won, he says, but they didn’t back the bowlers up.
Aaron Finch says his team “know where they messed up” in the first match of the series, and it was nice to get over the line tonight. The plan was to pick up low-risk boundaries, and in general he thinks his team weren’t too far off their best. He’s confident with how they “structure up” the team – that sounds like a Langerism if ever I’ve heard one, imagine when they get to be “elite structure-uppers” – and thinks his team are well-placed for the ODI series and T20 World Cup next year.
Mitch Marsh is man of the match and says he’s pleased to get into the middle after so long without cricket, and enjoyed being given pace to play with. There’s a lot of competition to get into the Aussie side, but he hopes to stay in.
It’s also worth noting that, in the end, good bowling is good bowling. There wasn’t much especially T20 about what Hazlewood and Starc did, other than make it hard for the batsmen to score by hitting challenging lines and lengths. Australia will, though, have a problem if they can’t find a way to do better against Rashid, who’ll have 10 overs at them in the ODIs.
That’s a really good innings from Mitch Marsh, who got in the necessary biffs while staying calm and mainly working the ball about. England were missing Stokes, Root, Buttler and Morgan, but were very poor today.
So the series is in the book. Australia will feel they could’ve won 3-0, and will be “spewing” they messed up the first match, but ultimately the team who wins is the team who deserve to win. The ODI series, featuring three games on the best pitch in England, at Old Trafford, will be worth our time.
AUSTRALIA BEAT ENGLAND BY FIVE WICKETS WITH THREE BALLS TO SPARE! THEY LOSE THE SERIES 2-1 BUT MOVE BACK ABOVE ENGLAND TO SIT AT NO1 IN THE T20 RANKINGS
19.3 overs: Australia 146-5 (Marsh 39, Agar 16) Marsh forces to mid off and another throw comes in … and another throw misses! England’s fielding tonight has been supremely dreadful.
19.2 Marsh knocks straight to cover. Australia need 1 from 4.
19.1 Marsh picks out the fielder. Australia need 1 from 5.
19th over: Australia 145-5 (Marsh 38, Agar 16) Target 146 Jordan, not Archer, will take the final overs, from which Australia need one.
18.6 overs Marsh forces down the ground for one, with mid off dreaming off liquorice allsorts made of furry lawmowers. Australia need 1 from 6.
18.5 overs Marsh taps to midwicket. Australia need 2 from 7.
18.4 overs Curran tries a slower-ball bumper which Agar bumps around the corner for one. Australia need 2 from 8.
18.3 overs Curran is full and wide, and Agar drives past mid off for four! Nearly there! Australia need 3 from 9.
18.2 overs Marsh taps into the covers. Australia need 7 from 10.
18.1 overs Moeen goes for Curran not Archer, which doesn’t impress Warne, and Agar pulls for one. Australia need 8 from 11.
18th over: Australia 137-5 (Marsh 36, Agar 10) Target 146 Moeen decides that this over should go to Jordan; perhaps he thinks it’ll be harder to hit Archer’s pace when under pressure in the final over. This is getting tense, so it is! All the more so when Jordan’s first three balls yield just two singles. The fourth is almost yorker-length, also sent down the ground for one, and then Agarnicks a single, Malan, who’s had a mare in the field, making hard work of his turn and missing with his throw. And there’s more! Marsh hammers towards Wood at midwicket, who thinks there’s a catch when there isn’t – the ball dies in front of him, then beats him for good measure, and they run two. Australia need 9 from 12 balls.
17th over: Australia 131-5 (Marsh 32, Agar 8) Target 146 In commentary, they’re saying it was an error to give Marsh pace to hit, as he grew up in Perth and is used to facing it. But I can see why Moeen thought Wood was a good choice, even if it didn’t come off, though I think he should’ve bowled himself for more than one over. He chucks Curran the ball, though, and Australia milk him/he restricts Australia to five from the over. Australia need 15 from 18 balls.
16th over: Australia 126-5 (Marsh 28, Agar 7) Target 146 For those of you watching on telly, it’s going to look like I’m copying Nasser, never a bad plan, but Moeen has rotated his bowlers really well so far, and now he brings back Wood to increase the pressure. But what a response from Marsh, who cleanses his loosener flat over cow corner for six! Brilliant shot! Then, after a dot, Marsh turns to leg and another poor throw allows him two; England’s fielding has been bile and drains tonight. AND MIGHT THIS BE THE CRUCIAL OVER?! Wood hurls down one full and outside off, so Marsh frees his arms and goes hard, absolutely zetzing to the point fence for four. A dot follows, then a wide, then a single, and that’s 14 from the over; Australia need 20 from 24 balls.
15th over: Australia 112-5 (Marsh 15, Agar 7) Target 146 Finch was out to a jaffa and Smith got a good one too, but Maxwell tossed his wicket playing an extravagant shot when all he needed to do was be sensible. Whatever the way he plays is, he didn’t to play a reverse sweep then, and to contradict myself, surely Smith could’ve found a way to keep out Rashid’s final delivery. Instead, Australia need 41 from 36 balls, with Archer, Wood and Jordan set to bowl 30 of them. And Archer returns, ceding two twos and three singles; increasingly, it’s looking like a pressure last over or two.
14th over: Australia 105-5 (Marsh 13, Agar 2) Target 146 Suddenly, Australia have no one you’d trust to see them home; a run a ball is easy if you’re a proper batsman, but harder if you’re inconsistent and playing under pressure, for your place in the side. Moeen brings himself on, and cedes five singles. Both sides would’ve took that.
13th over: Australia 100-5 (Marsh 10, Agar 0) Target 146 Rashid finishes with 3-21 from his four overs, the final wicket coming with the final delivery. What a spell!
WICKET! Smith c&b Rashid 3 (Australia 100-5)
Hello! Hello! This is sensational bowling from Rashid, who now has Maxwell, Finch and Smith. He pitches one full, Smith doesn’t make up his mind what to do, and checks a late push that turns into a leading edge. We got ourselves a ball-game!
13th over: Australia 100-4 (Smith 3, Marsh 10) Target 146 Is Moeen going to bowl himself? In the meantime, it’s Rashid, who almost induces an edge first ball, which is just as well for Malan, who can’t hang on, scrabbling about on the turf grabbing at air. Then we see a replay and there was indeed an edge; that’s three drops now, Malan with two of them.
12th over: Australia 97-4 (Smith 2, Marsh 8) Target 146 Eesh! England bring Denly on, he lands one, finds a bit of turn, and Marsh nicks … but Malan was slow to move, allowing the ball past him for four! That might be the moment that seals this for Australia.
11th over: Australia 89-4 (Smith 0, Marsh 2) Target 146 Marsh gets off the mark with two to leg, but that’s two wickets from the over for Rashid, who was key in both England wins in this series. Can he do it again?
WICKET! Finch b Rashid 39 (Australia 87-4)
Oh yes! This is a gorgeous ball, given air and twizzle; Finch doesn’t pick the googly, looking to heave through cover, and is absolutely diddled through the gate. Has Rashid turned the match?
Neither edge nor glove, but a decent take from the keeper, diving unsighted.
11th over: Australia 87-3 (Finch 39, Smith 0) Target 146 Rashid sends one down leg side and the umpire signals wide, but England think Finch hit it – Bairstow is confident – so review…
WICKET! Maxwell c Curran b Rashid 6 (Australia 86-3)
Maxwell follows one, trying an entirely unnecessary reverse-shovel, on the stretch, and picking out the man at backward point.
10th over: Australia 86-2 (Finch 39, Maxwell 6) Target 146 Maxwell takes two to midwicket, then takes another one to that same area. But at this point, economy won’t do it for England – they need wickets – and they don’t even have that, two twos coming from the final two deliveries of the over making seven in total. They need 60 to win, from 60 balls, which is to say that this looks extremely over.
9th over: Australia 79-2 (Finch 35, Maxwell 3) Target 146 Nice from Australia, looking to be positive against Rashid so he can’t get into rhythm. So four singles and a two follow, then Finch misses a full-bunger at which he chucks all of his considerable self, doing his elbow a mischief.
8th over: Australia 73-2 (Finch 31, Maxwell 1) Target 146 The batsmen crosses so it’s Finch on strike and he shoves one to midwicket, hauling Maxwell for a red bull single; if Billings hits, he’s gone by miles, but the shy isn’t that close. Still a wicket and three singles makes this England’s best over of the innings, and by a distance.
WICKET! Stoinis c Banton b Curran 26 (Australia 70-2)
Curran tries a slower one and again Stoinis gets under it without getting all of it, sending a spiraller to deep square that Banton has to dive to grab.
7th over: Australia 70-1 (Finch 29, Stoinis 26) Target 146 England’s powerplay score was the lowest of the series and Australia’s is the highest. But can Adil Rashid, into the attack now, put the brakes on again? Not for now; Finch waits for him and gets right on top of a drive to long off for four. And, and, and oh goodness me! Finch larrups high into the air, Bairstow calls it, runs to get under it … and somehow shells it! You do not see behaviour like that often, from Bairstow or from anyone with the gloves on, and Rashid, who was also under it, is audibly unimpressed.
“Can we agree that an England T20 team without Buttler and Morgan isn’t really the same (not even thinking of the players from the other bubble that aren’t there)“ says Brendan Large. “We can not judge this performance too critically especially against an angry Australia after two beatings.”
I agree. But England’s batting wasn’t good enough, and we can’t pretend that it was.
6th over: Australia 61-1 (Finch 22, Stoinis 24) Target 146 Moeen persists with Wood, as he probably has to, but then his first ball is cut away, cut away for four by Stoinis, thanks to a misfield at backward point by Banton. And then, after a dot, he hangs back to a bumper, hops away from it, and off balance, creams four over fine leg. He’s enjoying his promotion to three, and Wood’s extra pace, and after he nicks a single to mid off, Finch square drives the final ball of the over for four. The required rate is now 6.07, and England need a lot of wickets to even make this a contest.
5th over: Australia 48-1 (Finch 18, Stoinis 15) Target 146 Jordan replaces Archer; he needs three to overtake Stuart Broad as England’s most prolific in T20 cricket. Finch takes his first ball for one, then Stoinis pulls his third, back of a length, for four in front of square. Australia have read this pitch well – they’re sitting back and waiting for the ball to arrive. But then Stoinis comes down, getting to the pitch; it looks like he’s going to smash it into another dimension, but he doesn’t get all of it and has to make do with two … before cudgeling back past the bowler for four. Australia are making light work of this.
4th over: Australia 36-1 (Finch 17, Stoinis 4) Target 146 Wood is really into this – does Moeen bowl him through, hoping to get another wicket or two, or hold him back for later in the innings, when the match might be over? One wide from the over, then Stoinis goes at the final delivery, gymming six over Wood’s head; that’s a boundary from the last ball of each of his overs now.
WICKET! Wade c Jordan b Wood 14 (Australia 31-1)
Wood looked good in his first over and skids one across Wade at quite some velocity. He goes at it nonetheless, and can only larrup a dolly to mid on.
3rd over: Australia 31-0 (Wade 17, Finch 17) Target 146 Archer will be smarting from that first over, and the batsmen will be mentally preparing for some short stuff. But Archer goes mainly full … then tries one back of a length that Finch pursues, hurrying through a shot and somehow top-edging for six!
2nd over: Australia 22-0 (Wade 12, Finch 10) Target 146 Wood charges in needing wickets – if these two bat 10 overs, this won’t be close. And this is a good over, singles coming from its first two balls which are followed by three dots … and then he strays onto the pads, so Finch hoists him over midwicket with intense joy. At this stage, England were 4-1.
1st over: Australia 16-0 (Wade 11, Finch 5) Target 146 Archer is over 92mph from the start and after Wade nurdles his first ball away for one, Finch waits for his second, clumping a pull with both feet off the ground and it goes for four. He then gets down the other end, allowing Wade to glove a bouncer that’s leg-sidish for four more. They’re waiting for Archer, so he needs to go fuller … and he does, but Wade nails him … right into Finch, otherwise that was four. But doesn’t he make up for it next ball! Archer goes full on off, and Wade picks him right up, levering him high over midwicket for six! That’s 16 from the over, and England are in trouble already.
Archer will bowl…
Right then, off we go: who will finish the series are number 1 in the world?
Despite some years looking forward to the opportunity to make some kind of crack on OBO about ‘The Bell End’ when the genius himself retired,” says Steve Morgan, “now that we are here I feel too sad to go through with it. Aren’t we all getting old!”
And mature! But yes, it’s the end of an era isn’t it – and what an era. I’ve had some phenomenally happy days watching Bell bat, on here, in the ground and on telly. On which point, if anyone’s not seen the Edge, then see it – the good bits are amazingly good, and it’s particularly brilliant on the way down.