George Bailey’s 87 helped Australia to claw back from a precarious position to post 227 in the fourth ODI against England at Cardiff on Saturday.
In a must-win game skipper Eoin Morgan won the toss and elected to field. Morgan’s decision was spot on as the moisture in the wicket was exploited well by the pacers. Though Steven Finn started off with a wide, he bowled a full delivery that seamed in and struck Aaron Finch in front of the stumps.
Finch’s dismissal brought Shane Watson on to the crease. Very soon, the lanky Boyd Rankin set Watson perfectly by landing a series of pitched up deliveries beating the burly all-rounder on one occasion. The Irish was rewarded finally on the last ball of the over which took a feather-edge off Watson’s drive and was comfortably caught by wicketkeeper Jos Butler.
Michael Clarke along with Shaun Marsh then steadied the innings for a while with a short 39-run partnership before Ben Stokes struck before the batsmen set their eyes in. Stokes dropped it short and Marsh tried to hook only to edge it behind the stumps. Within no time Australia were four down with skipper Michael Clarke dismissed in the next over by Steven Finn. Clarke unsuccessfully opted for a review as replays showed the ball clipping the top of leg stump and the original decision of the umpire was upheld.
From thereon, George Bailey and Adam Voges put up a cautious defence before Voges was bowled by Ravi Bopara for 30. It was left to new man Matthew Wade and Bailey to get things back on track and they stuck to the task effectively.
Just when Australia needed the sixth-wicket pair to up the ante, Wade was dismissed by James Tredwell for 40. The wicketkeeper went for n expansive shot and the ball took a thick edge towards point where Michael Carberry took a fine catch at point. Wade’s innings and the 85-run partnership with Bailey brought some momentum to the Australian innings. In the same over, Australia gifted one more wicket away as James Faulkner ran for a tight single only to fall short. Carberry was the fielder in action yet again.
Faulkner’s dismissal did throw Bailey’s free-flowing innings into a caution zone batting with the lower order. Tredwell, in his next over bowled Mitchell Johnson for four. The momentum earned by the sixth-wicket stand slowly slipped away. The big blow came n the 46th over, when Boyd Rankin brought into bowl dismissed Bailey. It was a faint edge which umpire Ravi Sundaram accepted. Bailey’s 87 is now the highest score by an Australian at Cardiff surpassing Cameroon White’s unbeaten 86.
The last wicket pair hung on for a while before Tredwell bowling the penultimate over bowled Clint MacKay. Morgan would be happy with performance and would be eager to register England’s first win in the series.
Australia 227 (George Bailey 87, Matthew Wade 36; James Tredwell 3 for 53, Boyd Rankin 2 for 31) vs England.