England Cricket

Lessons Learnt from England's Defeat in Australia

MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - JANUARY 12:  Michael Clarke congratulates Aaron Finch of Australia after he scored 100 runs during game one of the one day international series between Australia and England at Melbourne Cricket Ground on January 12, 2014 in Melbourne, Australia.  (Photo by Darrian Traynor/Getty Images)
Darrian Traynor/Getty Images
Freddie WildeContributor IJanuary 12, 2014

Another format, another defeat. 

England probably hoped that a change of personnel on both sides and a change in format would have brought some joy to their winless tour of Australia. However, they were to be mistaken, as an Aaron Finch century saw Australia cruise past England's under-par total and take the tourists to a comfortable six-wicket victory. 

 

England Lack Power at the Top

This match was lost by England with the bat, as they set an under-par total that they were then unable to defend having picked a batting-heavy team. 

England's biggest deficiency, as has historically been the case, was a lack of power at the top of the order, which saw England's lower and middle order playing catch-up to set a competitive total. The power of Finch and David Warner opening the batting for Australia was starkly contrasted by the earlier efforts of Alastair Cook, Ian Bell and Joe Root, all of whom failed to impose themselves, and from the moment England were 22-2, they were behind in the game and never came back.

 

The Balance Of England's Side Is Wrong

The team England picked meant they were relying on Joe Root and Ravi Bopara to combine together to bowl 10 overs. As soon as that selection was made, they were actually going to have to score more than par batting first if they were to be genuinely competitive. 

MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - JANUARY 12:  Ravi Bopara, Jos Buttler and Eoin Morgan of England appeal to the umpire during game one of the one day international series between Australia and England at Melbourne Cricket Ground on January 12, 2014 in Melbourne, Au
Darrian Traynor/Getty Images

Their chances of doing so were considerably reduced by the balance of their batting order, with Eoin Morgan coming in at five, Ravi Bopara at six, Ben Stokes at seven and Jos Buttler at eight, all the power hitters were too far down the order to carry England to and beyond a big total. 

The most frustrating thing about this from an England perspective is that this is not an issue of England not having the firepower; it's an issue of not utilising it. Morgan, Bopara, Stokes and Buttler are all batting too low in this England side, and until they are given more responsibility, it'll remain unlikely to see England recording enormous totals.

 

Bresnan's Struggles Continue

Tim Bresnan has been a key performer for England in all formats for a number of years now. However, long picked on intangibles such as pressurising, tireless bowling, he is now failing to both pressurise and bowl long spells, and his stock is radically diminishing as a result. His batting that has long helped him maintain his spot in the side has steadily declined, and although he didn't bat today, his bowling again failed to impress, and there's a chance this one-day series could be his last opportunity to prolong his international career. 

 

Reasons to Be Cheerful

England got their tactics wrong with the bat, and their intensity in the field was poor. However, in amongst a generally bad performance, the innings of Gary Ballance, 79 off 96, and the bowling of Chris Jordan suggested promise. Jordan was unlucky to go wicketless, as he bowled a probing line at good pace, while Ballance was busy between the wickets, striking just six boundaries but running 44 singles. 

 

Australia Did What They Had to Do

Finch was awesome, as too was Warner. Australia's 167 run opening partnership killed the run-chase stone-dead. Their bowlers bowled accurately and economically, not exceptionally or brilliantly, but they did enough. They fielded with intensity and caught well. England made it easy for Michael Clarke's men, and Michael Clarke's men merely did what they had to do. 

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