England Cricket

Lessons Learned from the Fifth ODI Between Australia and England

Freddie WildeContributor IJanuary 26, 2014

Lessons Learned from the Fifth ODI Between Australia and England

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    Australia scraped home to a five-run victory over England in Adelaide after the tourists collapsed from 154-3 to 212 all out.

    On a slow pitch it was never going to be a high-scoring encounter and although England threw a great opportunity away, Australia bowled and fielded with discipline. It was however, symptomatic of England's tour that they could not close out a match they really should have won. 

    Click 'Next' to read Freddie Wilde's match notes from the fifth and final ODI.

Panic!

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    There will no doubt be a number of people who look at the controversial stumping of Ravi Bopara with England on the brink of victory and blame the third umpire for their defeat today.

    But such a view would be disregarding the fact that England lost 7 for 58 to collapse from 154-3 to 212 all out. That, not a dodgy stumping decision, was why England lost the match.

    Continuing a recurring theme of the tour, Australia bowled and fielded well, building pressure, until England snapped. There was an element of predictability to the panic that so gripped England.

    New batsmen came, fiddled, fretted and went as Australia gave England no breathing space. It was a classical, tight display of bowling, and the successful results were evident in England's response.

Doing Enough

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    Australia's total was not imposing. Australia did not start overly well with the ball. But it was evident that they always felt they had a chance of victory. Not so much because of the nature of the pitch, which was difficult to score fast and fluently on, but more because England collapsing was strangely inevitable.

    They knew, after a summer of success, that they merely needed to do just enough; apply just enough pressure; and England could snap. And snap they did. 

    Clint McKay, Nathan Coulter-Nile, James Faulkner and Shane Watson all bowled with probing discipline and frugality. It was nothing extraordinary, merely efficient execution of a simple plan. 

    Earlier in the day, with a bottom-heavy scorecard, they scrapped their way to respectability and competitiveness. Again, they just did what they needed to do and waited for England to capitulate. 

Confused

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    Why did Joe Root replace Gary Ballance?

    Ballance scored a fluent 79 in the Melbourne ODI just a few matches ago, and he surely deserved a more extended run in the side. 

    Root has had a torrid tour and making this change for one ODI made little sense.

    Although Root did okay, scoring 55, it was a selection that smacks of confusion. 

    At the end of a long tour England are making strange decisions left, right and centre. 

Pressure Builds on Bopara

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    Bopara reinvented himself in 2013 and returned to the England side a much improved player; his improvement culminating in his superb hundred against Ireland in Malahide.

    However, his batting is on the slide, and today he played tentatively and nervously under pressure.

    His bowling is definitely keeping him in the team. Perhaps it's time that England recognised that if he is to play, he needs to bat lower down the order.

    Jos Buttler could move up, and Bopara move down. Your best players should face the most balls in limited-overs cricket, thus Bopara's position above Buttler is bordering on illogical.

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