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Faulkner

Faulkner on THAT finish

Allrounder discusses his Gabba heroics

Australia allrounder James Faulkner has provided an insight into his unforgettable heroics in the second Carlton Mid ODI at the Gabba last summer.

Speaking with cricket.com.au about the finish, the 24-year-old says it was the thought of past failures in clutch moments that motivated him to secure the unlikeliest of victories for his country.

"I've been in the situation a lot of times when I bat down the order at six, seven or eight when the game is on the line," he said.

"To be honest, I've stuffed it up a hell of a lot of times as well, so it's about learning from that."

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Faulkner

Here's how cricket.com.au's Andrew Ramsey reported the events on the night:

It’s official.

England seems destined to complete its tour Down Under without a win over Australia after James Faulkner’s sweet hitting cancelled out a run of good fortune to inflict perhaps the most soul-destroying loss of the tourists’ forgettable trip.

Faulkner steered Australia to a memorable one-wicket win with three deliveries to spare amid remarkable scenes in the second Carlton Mid ODI Series match in Brisbane.

All had fallen in England’s favour when they posted 300 from their 50 overs and reduced Australia to 9-244 in the 44th over, facing an unlikely target of 57 to win from 36 balls with the last pair standing.

But Faulkner, who had been forced to watch Australia’s memorable Ashes moments from a distance having been named 12th man for each of the five Tests, decided it was his turn to inflict some pain.

He unleashed some brutal hitting against some England bowling that started to lose its shape and then ultimately lost the plot as the Tasmanian allrounder bludgeoned an unbeaten 69 from 47 balls to get Australia home.

Faulkner and Clint McKay put on 66 from just 33 balls including five huge sixes from the former and – fittingly – three consecutive boundaries off Tim Bresnan’s final over to seal the win.

“I knew I could do it deep down, but it’s always nice to get the boys over the line,” Faulkner said immediately after his remarkable innings that crowned the highest successful one-day run chase at the ‘Gabba.

“I might look (calm) but deep down I’m pretty nervous.”

The euphoria of the Australian players who rushed the field to embrace their new hero and formed a guard of honour to cheer him from the ground contrasted darkly with the disbelief on the faces of England’s players who must have felt that today was the day it all changed.

In fairness, those who place faith in – if not wagers on – the vicissitudes of sporting fortune would have suggested this was finally to be England’s day inside its second hour when batsman Eoin Morgan was granted a double reprieve in the space of as many balls.

Morgan – who narrowly missed being run out backing up too far and was then caught off a no-ball caused by Australia having too many fielders outside the perimeter circle – went on to blast a match-defining 106 from 99 balls.

Just the second international century of England’s tour, after Ben Stokes’ counter-punching innings in the third Test in Perth, it lifted England to a 50-over total of 8-300 – only the third time on tour the tourists have posted 300 against Australia.

And even that milestone came as an unexpected bonus, with the tally being upgraded from 8-296 during the innings interval after it was deemed that Shaun Marsh’s brave attempt at preventing a six – by launching himself skywards behind the boundary rope and bunting the ball back into the field of play – was deemed a wasted if innovative effort.

If those instances didn’t provide sufficient evidence that fortune’s cycle had completed a half revolution then the start of Australia’s run chase seemed to close the case.

Aaron Finch, on the back of a century in the series opener in Melbourne last Sunday, fell for a third-ball duck when his lofted off-drive lodged into the upraised right hand of Gary Ballance who gave the laconic appearance of someone half-heartedly hailing an already occupied taxi.

Bear in mind that it was Ballance who had allowed Finch to slip through England’s butter-fingers at the MCG when, employing both hands, he was unable to hold a regulation catch in the same fielding position, off the same bowler to the self-same shot.

Two overs later, that bowler – Chris Jordan – plucked an even better grab when David Warner teed off at an attempted yorker and stood in disbelief when it stuck in the right claw that Jordan had reflexively thrust towards it.

At that stage, it appeared that had England used the one-handed catching method during the Test series it might well have retained both hands on the urn.

Certainly the game seemed in their keeping and the five-match series back on an even keel as part-time spinner Joe Root bobbed up to capture the crucial scalps of Michael Clarke (caught cutting for 24) and newly-installed number three Shaun Marsh (bowled cutting for 55).

In addition, George Bailey appeared to suffer a leg injury in the course of compiling an unconvincing 24 from 28 balls which might have greater significance for Australia’s Test touring party to South Africa being named this week and the upcoming outings of the Twenty20 team of which he is skipper.

But just as the Pimm’s lids were being unscrewed to toast a drought-breaking win, the England of weeks past suddenly re-appeared albeit clad in their scarlet one-day garb.

Seemingly lost in unfamiliar territory and panicked by some very familiar Australian middle-order resistance involving Brad Haddin, England’s bowlers offered up serve after serve of full toss, long-hop and utter dross.

This played into the hands of Glenn Maxwell whose never-to-be-doubted assuredness contrasted starkly with the tourists’ diminishing self-belief.

Three consecutive boundaries from audacious reverse sweeps off Root were followed by an outrageous tennis-style smash over extra cover and when Australia opted to take their batting power play their victory equation was a highly feasible 123 runs from 108 balls with five wickets in hand.

Suddenly, it seemed the recent talent of Alastair Cook’s men for making every post a loser was about to push new boundaries.

But when the skipper back-pedalled to hold a pressure catch off Haddin (26) and Maxwell (54) ill-advisedly opted for a conventional swat that failed to clear mid-on the series-levelling win was clearly in view and almost within reach.

Until Faulkner decided it was time to go.

And now Cook and his men must be staring at the calendar wishing it was their time as well.

They now have just two days to bury their disappointment before the third match of the five-game series, which Australia leads two-nil, is played in Sydney on Sunday.

ODI