England beat Australia by 24 runs in thrilling 2nd ODI to level series at 1-1

Series finale is at the same venue on Wednesday

England beat Australia by 24 runs in thrilling 2nd ODI to level series at 1-1

England’s Adil Rashid, second left without cap, celebrates with teammates after taking the wicket of Australia’s Alex Carey to win the second ODI cricket match between England and Australia, at Old Trafford in Manchester, England, on September 13, 2020. AP/PTI

Manchester, September 14

Australia batted itself into a winning position before dramatically collapsing as England won the thrilling second one-day cricket international by 24 runs to stay alive in the series.

England’s decision to bat first at Old Trafford had appeared to backfire with the world champions limited to 231-9 and Australia reaching 143-2 with 20 overs left on Sunday.

Australia was making the run chase look easy thanks to a 107-run stand for the third wicket between captain Aaron Finch (73) and Marnus Labuschagne (48). But the tourists then collapsed to 147-6, and 166-8, in Manchester before finishing 207 all out in 48.4 overs.

A trio of England pacers did the damage: Chris Woakes (3-32), Jofra Archer (3-34) and Sam Curran 3-35. In what has become an unwanted tour tradition for Australia, Archer again claimed opener David Warner (6).

England captain Eoin Morgan said bringing Woakes and Archer back into the attack dramatically swung the game in the home team’s favor.

“Jofra is obviously an ace and so is Woakesy. It’s our strongest suit,” Morgan said.

“You like to bowl them in the most important parts of the game and I felt at the time I brought them back that was the most important part because the game was edging away from us.

“Finch and Marnus made it look easier than it was. So I threw everything at it and the guys bowled unbelievably well. When they bowl like that they make the captain look good.”     Earlier, no England batsman reached 50, with Morgan (42) and Joe Root (39) leading the scoring. Both men were dismissed by legspinner Adam Zampa, who finished with 3-36 off 10 overs.

Morgan was dismissed lbw after Finch opted to review the original not out decision, leaving England on 117-5 in the 29th over.

No. 9 Tom Curran (37) and No. 10 Adil Rashid (35) came to England’s rescue, sharing 76 for the ninth wicket in what would prove to be a decisive partnership.

Australia was aiming to wrap up a series victory after beating England by 19 runs in the first ODI last Friday, also in Manchester.

The series finale is at the same venue on Wednesday, when England will be hoping to avoid its first ODI series defeat at home since 2015.

There were times in both innings when Morgan’s lineup was struggling — reduced to 149-8 in the first innings, then seemingly batted out of contention by Finch and Labuschagne.

Even after Tom Curran and Rashid instigated the lower-order rearguard to set Australia a more challenging victory target of 232, that was still well within Australia’s grasp before Woakes and Archer flipped the game with a spell of four wickets for three runs.

Sam Curran, recalled in place of the unfit Mark Wood, stepped into an unfamiliar role at the death with aplomb as he scooped up three lower-order wickets, with Rashid wrapping up the chase when Alex Carey was stumped with eight balls left.

At the start of the innings, Archer sent down a five-over spell of sustained hostility, routinely topping 90 mph (145 kph) and taking a pair of important wickets.

Warner succumbed to Archer for the fourth time in as many innings on tour, cramped for room by pace and a smart angle, before Stoinis was also caught behind from a rearing delivery that looped into Jos Buttler’s gloves.

Finch, who settled well despite being struck on the helmet by Archer, found a calm companion in Labuschagne and the pair proceeded to put on a century stand with apparent ease.

After 30 overs Australia needed only 89 from 120 balls but Morgan’s gamble to fall back on Woakes and Archer took effect with four wickets in the space of 21 deliveries. Woakes was punishingly accurate, lining up Labuschagne lbw to open the door, before bowling Finch and Glenn Maxwell (1).

Australia still had a route to victory but it took a desperate detour when Sam Curran took two wickets in two balls to remove Pat Cummins (11) and Mitchell Starc (0) and then dismissed Adam Zampa (2).

The Australian Associated Press reported senior Australian batsman Steve Smith could be in consideration for a recall for the series decider after missing the first two games because of concussion. — AP

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