The Poms manage to draw the T20 series thanks to 94 from Alex Hales, but the Aussies uncover a new weapon for future battles.
How it went down
After Aaron Finch's massive 156 in the opening T20, England knew it would need a massive score to have any hope of levelling the series, so the two openers – Michael Lumb and Alex Hales didn't muck around, putting on 111 runs off the first 11 overs, before Lumb became Fawad Ahmed's first international wicket when he attempted a slog sweep that went straight up into the waiting hands of Matthew Wade. Ahmed went on to finish with figures of 3-25 off his four overs as England set a total of 5-195 thanks largely to a 94 from Hales.
Australia's chase made a faltering start when the hero from game one, Finch, top edged a Stuart Broad delivery straight to Luke Wright at mid on. Shane Watson was then run out by a superb piece of fielding from Eoin Morgan and the task was always going to be difficult from 2-15. The Aussie wickets continued to fall at regular intervals with Jade Dernbach again the chief destroyer and Australia fell 27 runs short of the victory target, with David Warner putting in the best performance of the day, scoring 53 runs off 42 balls.
Bluffer's guide: "We need to have a leg-spin bowler in our next Ashes side, the Poms seem to have some sort of weakness against it built into the DNA."
Two moments that mattered
1. AHMED GETS HIS FIRST INTERNATIONAL WICKET. After going for 0-43 in the first match it was no wonder captain George Bailey waited until the eighth over to try and slow the English batsmen down with spin. Ahmed's first two overs went for just 11 runs, which put the brakes on the Poms' scoring rate, but it wasn't until his third over that he finally broke through for a wicket, enticing Lumb into a slog sweep that went straight up in the air and was comfortably taken by Wade. It broke the English opening partnership and encouraged Bailey to allow Ahmed to bowl the final over of the match, where he added a further two wickets.
2. FINCH FALLS CHEAPLY. For the English bowlers, this match was all about dismissing one batsman – Aaron Finch. They brought on their big guns in Steven Finn and Stuart Broad to open and it looked like the Poms might have been in for more of the same when Finch hit Broad's first ball over mid-off for four. Unfortunately he top-edged the very next ball to mid-on and the Poms had their man and the confidence to push on for the win.
Hero of the day
It might have been tempting to put English match-winner Hales here, except did you know that no English batsman has ever hit an international T20 century. Australia got mighty close to being the first team to concede one and the man that stopped it was the all-rounder from Tasmania. In the last ball of the penultimate over, Faulkner delivered a low full toss, which Hales could only scoop to David Warner, who dived forward to take a great catch at long on. Crisis averted.
It was only a matter of time…
Until England's top order clicked. In the first match Australia got rid of Lumb, Hales, Wright and Morgan for just 42 runs in the first five overs. That was unlikely to be the case a second time and the opening stand of 111 put Australia well behind the eight-ball. The Aussies missed Josh Hazlewood who partnered with Mitchell Johnson so well to cause so much of the early damage at The Rose Bowl, with Nathan Coulter-Nile failing to have anywhere near the same impact.
It's a numbers game
5.75 – Dernbach's economy rate for the match, along with his three wickets, made him the best bowler on the night.
6 – Sixes hit by English batsmen, only one more than the losing chase they made in the first game. Australia still won on this count, hitting eight for the match.
2 – Times Hales has been out in the 90s in a T20 international. The other time was a 99 against the West Indies.
What caught our eye
What has been missing for most of this tour, aside from Australia winning on a more regular basis, has been some comical fielding from the English, ala the glory days of Phil Tufnell. It looks like the Aussies may have found their man. Warner skied a ball to long-off and Finn called for it, trying to keep Joe Root out of harm's way. In the end Finn got nowhere near it and Warner added two runs. Unfortunately Warner was out next ball and he wasn't able to make the English pay.
Did he really say that?
Overlooked T20 batsman David Hussey finds a positive in Australia's loss after watching his Nottinghamshire teammates to most of the damage in the second game.
Soundtrack of the day
"Falling short" – Jeff Bridges
That's right "The Dude" from The Big Lebowski also writes songs and we reckon this piece is exactly how the sort of thing Hales might be listening to today after yet again failing to reach three figures.
The opinions expressed here are the views of the writer and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of Cricket Australia
First Posted 01 September, 2013 7:51AM AEDT