Qantas Tour of England - T20
Red-hot England blow away Aussies
Aaron Finch begins second T20 captaincy reign with explosive 84 but hosts prevail by 28 runs on the back of some more Jos Buttler brilliance
Dave Middleton at Edgbaston, Birmingham
28 June 2018, 08:00 AM AEST
The scorecard: England 5-221 (Buttler 61, Hales 49, Swepson 2-37) beat Australia 193 (Finch 84, Rashid 3-27, Jordan 3-42) by 28 runs with two balls remaining.
The match in a tweet: Six-nil to England. Eoin Morgan's men follow 5-0 ODI whitewash with comprehensive T20 performance to send Aussies home winless.
The hero: Jos Buttler is in some kind of form, and he again torched the Australian bowling attack. Buttler made five successive half-centuries opening for the Rajasthan Royals in the IPL and was promoted to open for England, making the most of it. His first four balls were quiet, but then he exploded, hitting 4 1 6 6 4 4 4 for 29 runs in a seven-ball stretch. He miscued one to long-off, but Kane Richardson had been called up into the circle for that delivery, then sent a six sailing high into the Western Terrace. His six off Billy Stanlake at full pace was a sight to behold; a full delivery touching 150kph was slapped over cover, low and hard for a remarkable maximum. Next ball he scooped Stanlake over Alex Carey's head to bring up a 22-ball fifty, the fastest by an England player in T20 internationals.
The spin: It's been a depressingly familiar story for Australia on this tour – the middle overs, spin bowling and a collapse of wickets. Adil Rashid tormented Australia's batters with 12 wickets in the ODI series, and added another 3-27 today, including the key wicket of Aaron Finch when the Aussies were threatening to take the game away from England. That economy rate of less than seven proved crucial. A top-spinner went straight through Carey to bowl him, Marcus Stoinis smashed one straight to long-off second ball, and Finch's blitz was cut short when he was also caught on the rope, at long-on. Interestingly, Moeen Ali wasn't anywhere near as effective in this format, as he finished with 1-58 from his four overs. He had Travis Head caught slogging on the rope, but took a pounding from Finch. He bowled 15 balls to the Aussie captain, and they disappeared for 49 runs.
The consolation effort: Aaron Finch played a superb knock for Australia, blasting 84 from 41 balls, with seven fours and six massive sixes. Finch couldn't get enough of the strike as Australia lost wickets too regularly at the other end, but when he did get going it looked for a time like he might single-handedly take the game away. Australia's most experienced player, he led from the front, showing the way to take on the spin, smashing Moeen Ali for 49 from 15 balls. He didn't have quite the same impact against Adil Rashid when forced to chase the game, smashing him for one huge six but caught on the rope trying to repeat the dose in the 16th over. For Finch, it was another love affair with England bowling – in nine T20s against them he now averages a touch over 70 at a strike rate above 189.
The fielding: There were some forgettable moments in the field for both sides. Jason Roy, on 27, smacked one straight to Kane Richardson at long-off, where the South Australian shelled a simple chance. To compound his angst, he was brought into the circle next ball and watched a mis-hit sail over his head and land where he had been standing. Mitch Swepson's shy at the stumps was so far wide of the mark it went for four overthrows. And not to be outdone, David Willey repeated the dose in Austrlalia’s innings, from a near identical spot.
The catch: Some of the ground fielding was the counterpoint to the poor fielding, with Marcus Stoinis pulling off a superb caught-and-bowled. Brought into the attack for the 19th over, his first delivery was a slower ball pitched well inside the bowler's half of the wicket. Alex Hales shaped to swat it back down the ground, but hit it within the grasp of Stoinis, who stuck out the right mitt, and grabbed it behind him. It was a remarkable reflex catch, and sent Hales on his way for 49 from 24 balls.
The debutant: Australia capped leg-spinner Mitchell Swepson for his first international match here, having been a semi-regular feature in touring Australian squads in the past 18 months. Presented with his cap by Ricky Ponting, he had an eventful innings. Into the action in the match's third over, the first time in his career he’s bowled a Power Play over in a T20, he beat Buttler in flight with his second ball, but with the field up it still ran away for a boundary. He got his man in his second over when Buttler miscued a half-tracker for D'Arcy Short to take a simple catch. His next over saw Eoin Morgan get a top edge on a reverse sweep for Andrew Tye to take the catch. After conceding three boundaries in his first over, he only went for one in his next three overs, finishing with 2-37. He'd hardly have been hoping he'd be required with the bat, but he managed to stop a Chris Jordan hat-trick on his first ball in international cricket. A tidy start for the Queenslander.
The Big Bash Influence: It's hard not to appreciate the global influence of the Big Bash when seven of the opposition have all played in Australia's elite domestic T20 competition. And with Ben Stokes expected to return to the side against India next week, it will be eight. It would be nine if seamer Chris Woakes wasn't injured, while Sam Billings, another with BBL experience, was on the bench. Buttler's not currently contracted to any team but in this form, his agent's phone is surely running hot.
The world ranking: Australia's defeat means they slip down behind India in the ICC’s T20 rankings and are now third, narrowly ahead of England who have risen above New Zealand to now be fourth. However, Australia can still claim the World No.1 spot if they go through the tri-series undefeated against Zimbabwe and Pakistan, the current top-ranked team.
The coin toss: Tim Paine called correctly five times in a row at the toss and Aaron Finch carried on that tradition, correctly calling tails as Eoin Morgan flipped in the Edgbaston afternoon sun. Australia won six from six at the toss. Sadly, it was the only thing Australia did win against England.
The next stop: Australia departs immediately for Zimbabwe where they will face the hosts and Pakistan in a T20 tri-series. Meanwhile, England's summer now switches to India, starting with a three-match T20 series against Virat Kohli's side before three ODIs and four Tests.
Australia XI: Aaron Finch (c), D'Arcy Short, Glenn Maxwell, Travis Head, Marcus Stoinis, Alex Carey (wk), Ashton Agar, Andrew Tye, Kane Richardson, Mitch Swepson, Billy Stanlake #ENGvAUS— cricket.com.au (@CricketAus) June 27, 2018
England XI: Jason Roy, Jos Buttler (wk), Alex Hales, Joe Root, Eoin Morgan (c), Jonny Bairstow, Moeen Ali, David Willey, Liam Plunkett, Chris Jordan, Adil Rashid #ENGvAUS— cricket.com.au (@CricketAus) June 27, 2018
Qantas tours of the UK and Zimbabwe
Australia T20 squad: Aaron Finch (c), Alex Carey (vc), Ashton Agar, Travis Head, Nic Maddinson, Glenn Maxwell, Jhye Richardson, Kane Richardson, D’Arcy Short, Billy Stanlake, Marcus Stoinis, Mitchell Swepson, Andrew Tye, Jack Wildermuth
England T20 squad: Eoin Morgan (c), Moeen Ali, Jonny Bairstow, Jake Ball, Jos Buttler, Sam Curran, Tom Curran, Alex Hales, Chris Jordan, Liam Plunkett, Adil Rashid, Joe Root, Jason Roy, David Willey
Qantas Tour of the UK
June 16: England won by 38 runs in Cardiff
June 21: England won by six wickets in Durham
June 27: Only T20, Edgbaston (D/N)
Qantas T20I tri-series Tour of Zimbabwe
July 1: Zimbabwe vs Pakistan
July 2: Pakistan vs Australia
July 3: Australia vs Zimbabwe
July 4: Zimbabwe vs Pakistan
July 5: Pakistan vs Australia
July 6: Australia vs Zimbabwe
July 8: Final