England beat Australia by 24 runs with ‘Suffocation in Salford’ to keep series alive as visitors capitulate in extraordinary encounter
- England beat Australia by 24 runs in a hugely impressive victory in Manchester
- Australia capitulated from a position where they seemingly could not lose
- England finished with 231-9, with Australia all out for 207 in entertaining clash
If England’s Test win over Pakistan here earlier this season was the ‘Miracle of Manchester’ then this extraordinary turnaround was a ‘Suffocation in Salford.’
From a position where they seemingly could not lose, Australia simply capitulated as England squeezed the life out of them to grab a series-levelling win from nowhere.
Capitulation? It was actually more like Australia’s second choke of this short white-ball tour as they followed up an equally unlikely defeat in the first Twenty20 international to contrive to somehow throw away this second 50-over game.
Sam Curran celebrates the wicket of Mitchell Starc with Jos Buttler, Eoin Morgan and Jason Roy
Curran is jubilant after taking the wicket of Starc during the match at Emirates Old Trafford
Australia’s Pat Cummins is bowled by England’s Sam Curran during the one-day international
But to dwell on Australia’s capacity for self-destruction would be to do England a huge disservice because they turned this game on its head with quite magnificent bowling from Jofra Archer backed up superbly by Chris Woakes.
When Australia stood at 144 for two chasing a below par England score of 231 for nine that owed everything to a late rescue act from Adil Rashid and Tom Curran, there could only be one winner of this game and the series.
But Archer and Woakes took four wickets for three runs in 21 balls between them before Sam Curran, preferred here to a second spinner in Moeen Ali, took two wickets in successive balls to leave Australia down and all but out.
The younger Curran and Adil Rashid wrapped up a 24-run win with eight balls to spare to preserve England’s five-year long unbeaten home 50-over series record and set up a decider to end the men’s international season back here on Wednesday.
And this was exactly what Morgan wanted when he said before this series that he wanted to play on slow, low, tired pitches like this to prepare for both the Twenty20 World Cup next year and England’s defence of the 50-over crown in 2023, both in India.
England’s Chris Woakes celebrates the dismissal of Australia’s captain Aaron Finch
Australia’s Mitchell Marsh is bowled by Jofra Archer of England during the game on Sunday
But Morgan will want to see more than this from his usually dynamic batsmen because the bulk of the England innings was like a throwback to the days before the captain launched his 50-over revolution and England threw off the shackles of years of mediocrity.
Admittedly, Australia were superb again with the ball, with Josh Hazelwood and Mitchell Starc in particular producing Test match quality seam and swing bowling on a used and slightly two-paced Emirates Old Trafford surface.
None of the England top order could get going after Morgan had won an important toss even though Jason Roy was handed a reprieve after he was given lbw second ball to Starc only for Martin Saggers decision to be overturned on review.
Not that Roy could take advantage as he was run out by a direct hit from Marcus Stoinis responding to a call from Joe Root for a single that never really looked on.
That followed a painful seven-ball duck from Jonny Bairstow while Root again struggled for any sort of fluency until he pulled Stoinis for six in a rare piece of aggression from England’s usually explosive top order.
The introduction of Adam Zampa’s leg-spin quickly accounted for Root and only Morgan threatened to get on top of the Australian attack before he was on the wrong end of a reviewed lbw decision from Saggers.
At the 30-over mark, with Jos Buttler falling to Pat Cummins, England stood at a very retro 117 for five and it was difficult to detect any signs of the ‘new dynamic’ Morgan wants to introduce with a view to those sub-continental World Cups of the future.
It took the unlikely figures of Tom Curran and Rashid to bring England back into the game after Woakes had hit four boundaries batting in the No7 position where he launched that ‘Miracle of Manchester’ here against Pakistan.
Curran and Rashid were initially careful and seemed to be trying to make sure England used up their 50 overs but they then took to the attack to Australia for the first time, 53 of their partnership of 76 for the ninth wicket coming off the last four overs.
And it was to prove decisive even though Australia, led by their captain in Aaron Finch, appeared to have weathered the early storm provided by Archer to move into a commanding position where they should have strolled to a series-clinching victory.
Tom Curran bats for England during the clash against Australia – he made 37 runs
Joe Root made a significant contribution for England as he managed to make 39 runs
First came hostile new-ball bowling from Archer that was too hot to handle for David Warner. He has now been dismissed four times by Archer in four innings on this white-ball tour and is as much in his pocket as he was Stuart Broad’s in last year’s Ashes.
And the 90 miles per hour brute that Stoinis could only fend off tamely to Buttler, followed by a bouncer that clattered into Finch’s helmet, was another example of how thrilling Archer looks with a new white ball in his hand for England.
He was just as menacing when he came back, too, bowling Mitch Marsh off an inside edge and finishing with three for 34 off 10 quite superb overs.
Woakes, meanwhile, did all his damage in his final spell, first overturning a rare mistake by umpire Michael Gough to have Marnus Labuschagne lbw and then bowling Finch and Glenn Maxwell with beauties.
The pair simply ripped the heart out of the Australian batting and when they were finished they had six wickets between them and had gone for a combined total of just 66 runs to bring Australia to their knees.
Alex Carey threatened to provide one last twist until Rashid had him stumped in the penultimate over and Australia had once again grabbed defeat from the jaws of victory. Another incredible match in this unique summer and one more decisive one to go.