Australia vs England 2nd ODI: Faulkner’s blitz stuns England

Image courtesy of: ESPNcricinfo

Faulkner walloped five sixes during his unbeaten knock of 69

Australia batsman James Faulkner smashed an unbeaten half-century to lead the baggy greens to a stunning one-wicket win over England in Brisbane.

Faulkner was well supported by batsman Shaun Marsh and all-rounder Glenn Maxwell as they both scored half-centuries.

England batsman Eoin Morgan deserves credit as well as he hammered a sparkling century.

England captain Alastair Cook won the toss and elected to bat first.

His decision to do so paid off as he and Ian Bell amassed a 57-run partnership before he was caught and bowled by Maxwell for 22.

Following Cook’s dismissal, Joe Root and Gary Ballance were both dismissed in quick succession.

Bell and Morgan stabilised the innings with a 61-run partnership, during which Bell brought up his half-century, before he was run out by Australia skipper Michael Clarke for 68 off 84 balls, which included five boundaries.

Ravi Bopara made a quickfire 24 before he was caught by George Bailey at short midwicket off the bowling of Faulkner.

Morgan and wicketkeeper Jos Buttler kept the runs flowing with an outstanding 117-run partnership, during which Morgan registered his third ODI century, before Buttler was caught by Clarke at mid-on off the bowling of Nathan Coulter-Nile.

Buttler’s fantastic knock of 49 came off 36 balls and included three boundaries and a six.

Morgan ended up making 106 off 99 deliveries, which included four boundaries and six maximums, before he was caught by Clarke off the bowling of Faulkner.

Thanks to Buttler and Morgan, England eventually finished on 300/8 off their 50 overs.

Faulkner, Maxwell and Coulter-Nile all picked up two wickets apiece, while Mitchell Johnson chipped in with one.

Chasing 301 to win, Australia got off to a horrible start as David Warner and Aaron Finch were back in the pavilion with only 32 runs on the board.

Clarke only made 17 runs before he was caught by Ballance at point off the bowling of Root.

Marsh made a valiant 55 off 69 balls, which included seven boundaries, before he was clean bowled by Root.

Bailey was dismissed the very next over as he was given out lbw off the bowling of Boyd Rankin for 24.

Maxwell and wicketkeeper Brad Haddin stemmed the bleeding with a much-needed 80-run partnership before Haddin was caught by Cook at mid-off off the bowling of Tim Bresnan for 26.

Maxwell ended up making 54 off 39 balls, which included eight boundaries, before he was caught by Bopara at midwicket to become Bresnan’s second victim of the match.

Coulter-Nile managed to score 16 runs before he was given out lbw off the bowling of Ben Stokes.

Johnson only made two runs before he was caught behind off the bowling of Bopara.

However, thanks to an unbeaten 57-run partnership from Faulkner and Clint McKay, during which Faulkner recorded his half-century, Australia escaped with a one-wicket win.

Faulkner finished on 69 off 47 balls, which included three boundaries and five sixes, while McKay remained undefeated on two.

Cook was extremely disappointed that his side had failed to win the match and level the series.

“It took an unbelievable innings to beat us today,” he said. “I thought Morgs played exceptional well, and we did everything right till the last wicket. James played an astonishing innings and took it as deep as he dared.

“Its an emotional dressing room now, but when we look at it tomorrow morning we will see we did a lot of good things, but the last few overs were not so good. Proud of the way the lads stuck in, but we couldn’t pull it off unfortunately. We showed how close we were today, and like I said it took an amazing innings to beat us.”

Clarke was ecstatic that Faulkner had managed to give Australia a 2-0 lead in the five-match series.

“I have seen James do it once before,” he said. “I watched it on TV in India when he won that. I think he will be disappointed he didn’t take it to the last ball, but what an unbelievable innings.

“I thought none of our top four could go on to make a hundred, but we knew we had a strong batting unit, and Mitch batted at No.10, but Faulkner was just striking it so well. Maxy did well and his good, positive intent set up the game for us.

“It’s nice to play with confidence and to know within that they can win games of cricket no matter what, but like we have said England are a strong team, and we have to play better than tonight in order to win the series. It’s exciting for the game. New young players are coming in and stepping up to win us games. Faulkner deserves all the credit in the world.”

Faulkner was named Man of the Match for his jaw-dropping knock.

“Thanks for everyone coming out today and glad we could put on a good show and get an Australian win,” he said. “When you bat lower down the order you have to try and get the team home. It is all about winning games for your country. I might look like I am calm, but deep down I am pretty nervous. It is a special night, and it is always good when Australia wins. Yeah those sixes are up there with some of the best I have hit. Just happy to get the win. This is definitely the ultimate moment. To win like this is something special.”

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