England suffer almighty choke in Brisbane

Australia

All-rounder James Faulkner cracked a sensational half-century, as Australia stole a tight one-wicket victory over a demoralised England outfit in the second ODI at the Gabba in Brisbane on Friday.

All-rounder James Faulkner cracked a sensational half-century, as Australia stole a tight one-wicket victory over a demoralised England outfit in the second ODI at the Gabba in Brisbane on Friday.

Whitewashed five-nil in the Ashes series and outgunned by centurion Aaron Finch in the first ODI, the English were well set to welcome a maiden international victory on this tour.

Faulkner and tail-ender Clint McKay, however, ultimately denied that ambition. Aligning at 244 for nine, with a further 57 required from a mere 36 deliveries, the pair ultimately utilised a mere 33 to seal a two-nil lead in the five-match affair.

England's 300 for eight had been built on the back of batsman Eoin Morgan's fine century. The inventive left-hander struck four boundaries and a sextet of screaming sixes en route to 106 – the sixth, and arguably best, ton of his ODI career.

Morgan enjoyed outstanding support from wicketkeeper-batsman Jos Buttler, whose 49 arrived from a mere 36 deliveries – three boundaries and a solitary six included. While the return of fast bowler Mitchell Johnson was successful, the Australians have reason for concern over the form of the inexperienced and expensive Nathan Coulter-Nile.

England's total, however, would have read considerably less – had Coulter-Nile not dropped a reasonably straightforward catch off his own bowling and fielder Glenn Maxwell not been denied a dismissal by the legalities noticed by too many fielders outside the inner ring.

Finch's fall for a duck was entirely detrimental to the pursuit, but an authoritative half-century from the left-handed Shaun Marsh and a slew of other cameos were enough to keep the competition alive.

While the blossoming Root's dismissals of Marsh and captain Michael Clarke were important, England will ultimately rue the absence of a specialist spinner in the absence of the recently retired Graeme Swann and discarded James Tredwell.

Cook's anticipation of victory was palpable in the wake of the dangerous Brad Haddin's departure, but the ingenuity of Maxwell refused to go down without a fight. A slew of reverse sweeps for four heightened the battle.

Maxwell's fall to right-armer Tim Bresnan return the advantage to England, as did Johnson and Coulter-Nile's inability to contribute enough late-order runs. Man of the Match Faulkner, however, deflected all expectation with several lusty blows into the surrounding stands and pavilions.

His cool, calm and collection entertained one and all, with a couple of sixes across the penultimate over and a trio of boundaries completing the job. England were veritably shell-shocked in leaving the arena. Bresnan, in bowling those final three deliveries, lost his length time and time again.

The Sydney Cricket Ground will host the third match on Sunday. ODIs four and five will be played in Perth and Adelaide respectively. Three Twenty20 Internationals will follow.

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