Bopara stars for England

2012-07-11 06:59
Ravi Bopara (Gallo)

Manchester - Ravi Bopara starred with bat and ball as England routed Australia by seven wickets in the fifth and final one-day international at Old Trafford on Tuesday to complete a 4-0 series win.

It was the heaviest defeat ever suffered by Australia, still the world number one in the 50-over game, in any head-to-head limited overs series.

Man-of-the-match Bopara took two wickets for eight runs in four overs with his medium-pacers as England's attack held Australia to 145 for seven in an innings reduced by rain to 32 overs.

Then, after a further rain break saw England set a revised victory target of 138 in 29 overs, Bopara made 52 not out off 56 balls with five fours.

Together with England captain Alastair Cook, who made 58, he shared a stand of 92 in 98 balls that took the team to the brink of victory.

And when Eoin Morgan struck the winning runs England - who've now won 10 one-dayers in a row - had triumphed with 11 balls to spare.

Cook praised county colleague Bopara by saying: "We all know what a quality player he is, and he is starting to deliver for England now.

"Our number seven batsman didn't get a bat in this series, so that shows how much credit we should give to our top order batsmen in this series."

Australia captain Michael Clarke praised England but said his side would be stronger come their return for next year's Ashes Test series.

"We have no excuses, we came here to win all five games," said Clarke.

"I don't want to take anything away from England, but I will make sure we are as well prepared as we can possibly be for the Ashes."

Before this match, Australia coach Mickey Arthur had called on his side to show some "mongrel" but there was precious little in evidence in this day/night fixture or indeed the series as a whole.

And had it not been for a washed-out third match at Edgbaston, England might have been looking at a 5-0 clean sweep which would have taken them to number one and put them on top of the standings in all three international formats.

England's attack put the brake on Australia's innings after David Warner had made a run-a-ball 32 following Cook's decision to field first in overcast conditions upon winning the toss.

Australia slumped to 55 for four and 86 for six before No 7 George Bailey's unbeaten 46 gave them some hope.

Off-spinner James Tredwell, in for the injured Tim Bresnan (elbow) and playing his first match at this level since England's World Cup quarter-final defeat by Sri Lanka in Colombo in March last year, took two for 23 in his maximum seven overs.

Australia's plight would have been worse had not England dropped two catches and missed another before they'd taken a single wicket.

But Australia failed to make England pay for their mistakes, with Warner lbw after missing a sweep as Tredwell struck fourth ball.

Peter Forrest was run out when Tredwell gathered Samit Patel's throw from long-on.

Two balls later Matthew Wade, who faced 41 balls for just 12 runs after opening in place of the injured Shane Watson, was stumped comfortably by opposing wicket-keeper Craig Kieswetter after going down the pitch to a sharply-spun Tredwell delivery.

Clarke couldn't halt the slide, run out for one by Eoin Morgan's direct hit.

Steven Smith made a useful 21 but was caught down the legside by Kieswetter off Bopara's first ball loosener.

And Bopara made it two for three runs in seven balls when potential dangerman David Hussey, trying to run the ball down to third man, was caught behind.

England, chasing a seemingly modest total, suffered a first over setback when man-of-the-series Ian Bell chipped Clint McKay to Bailey at short mid-wicket.

After the rain break, they soon lost Jonathan Trott, bowled trying to sweep Clarke's fourth ball of left-arm spin.

But fellow left-arm spinner Xavier Doherty was driven gloriously through the covers for four by Bopara and 'milked' for 34 runs in five overs.

Read more on:    ravi bopara  |  cricket

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