Matthew Wade was the difference last night in the first ODI of the series. After the Australian top four all got starts but failed to convert then a succession of wickets, Wade stepped in at 5/192. The next wicket was at 193 when he threw Watson under the bus with a suicide run out. I don’t feel any specific sympathy for Watson, but I’m guessing someone with a softer view on him would feel that’s two unlucky dismissals already in the shorter formats.
England had done well to get back in the contest with a series of breakthroughs, and it looked like the Aussies could be bowled out in another five overs if the recent test match collapses had infected the change room. Mitch Marsh and Wade then proceeded to put on 112 without losing their wickets.
Despite never looking settled, Marsh played a great support role to the Wade show. He was ticking over at a run a ball based on ones and twos having not found a boundary or the middle of the bat in his first 30 runs. He spiked at the end the innings with a six in the last over, but it was Wade who looked the goods every minute since running Watson out.
Wade didn’t ever really seem too bothered about the situation. He took some risks, and rode some luck but he just went about the job. His last ODI was in the warm ups against South Africa for the World Cup while Haddin was having a rest where he also performed well with the bat. Then more recently on the A Tour, where he was named Vice Captain, had found plenty of runs through the 50 over tri series against India and South Africa.
He looks ready to take the One Day spot permanently and is probably more of a threat to Peter Nevill’s test position, than Nevill is to him. I’m very happy with Nevill as the Test keeper. I think he is the rock we need at seven. His role should be to come in and bat through with the tail. He hasn’t had much of a chance, but he has shown glimpses of his attacking side. Wade is clearly more aggressive, but with the test team’s current batting woes, I’m not sure we need a master blaster coming in.
Marsh never looked settled, but was effective support for Wade.
For England, it was good to see Rashid getting amongst the wickets. Although wickets off full toss deliveries should be viewed with caution, he still got the breakthrough on Warner with a well-directed wrong ‘un and the first four wickets. Well played. Hopefully it gives his confidence a boost before their tour to the UAE where he will surely make his debut.
Outside of Rashid, I thought you could throw a blanket over the rest of the bowlers. Ali kept it tight, but there were singles on offer constantly from both ends, which kind of made it a one of the most boring 300’s I have watched. It literally felt like ‘a run a ball’.
England’s top four matched Australia’s basically run for run, but Ali couldn’t replicate his recent form to hold together the lower order. The score went from 2-150 to 7-192 in no time at all, before most of the tail contributed with double figures. I’m not sure England will be too worried about it though. They did get the good start they required but with Ali failing for the first time in a while, they lacked a finisher. More importantly though it looked like they came out with the same intent they showed against New Zealand, and that is good for world cricket.
I’m guessing we will go through a small trial and error with how to adapt to the new rules, but Australia’s measured approach was effective but boring. They are probably a little bit spoilt that the top order can tick over the run rate knowing the firepower coming in through the middle can take the score to anything in no time on the right day. If they don’t, we have a few handy pacemen that can defend most decent totals. I certainly look forward to seeing England bat first and put on 330 to see how we cope under that kind of pressure, but for now, all we can say is that the new look Australia passed their first test.