England warm up for World Twenty20 in style as Hales knock helps see off Australia
08:43 GMT, 17 September 2012
England had to outdo the class of Michael Hussey to start their ICC World Twenty20 warm-up campaign with a scrambled nine-run victory over Australia at Nondescripts CC.
Stuart Broad's defending champions appeared on track to coast to a fifth successive win this year over their oldest enemy – but that was reckoning without Hussey (71), the vital missing ingredient during England's 4-0 NatWest Series trouncing of Australia on home turf two months ago.
Hussey near single-handedly kept his team's hopes alive, and England sweating, after wrecking young spinner Danny Briggs' figures with three consecutive sixes over mid-wicket.
Vital knock: Hales scored 52 off 38 balls in Colombo
Click here for the full scorecard
With the first, the left-hander brought
up his 45-ball fifty, and he added another boundary too for good measure
in the slow left-armer's final over.
But Broad himself returned to have Hussey lbw, and from there Australia ran out of steam to finish short of 172 for six.
Alex Hales (52) had underpinned that competitive total, after England
were put in on a steamy morning and a stodgy pitch, the tall opener
continuing to fare well in his role as the controversially absent Kevin
England were playing their first practice fixture of a tournament which
will begin in earnest for them against minnows Afghanistan at the nearby
Premadasa Stadium on Friday.
Teeing off: Luke Wright played an impressive cameo role at No 3
Their total twice looked vulnerable here, first in a second-wicket stand
of 74 between Hussey and Shane Watson and then when Australia's most
accomplished batsman was gathering momentum alongside Glenn Maxwell.
Steven Finn thought he had Watson with the first ball of Australia's reply, but his caught-behind hopes came to nought.
Instead, England got David Warner for a duck when he speared a catch to point off Finn.
Watson, however, stayed to hit Finn, Tim Bresnan and Broad for a six
each – the England captain suffering particularly in his opening over,
which contained three wides and cost 14 runs.
Breakthrough: Australia celebrate the wicket of Craig Kieswetter
Graeme Swann provided the breakthrough England needed when he had Watson
bowled sweeping, and Briggs had Cameron White stumped when he advanced
but got nowhere near the pitch.
England looked in big trouble as Hussey suddenly raced through the
gears, but their worries were soon over once Broad got the big wicket
and the rest could not sustain the challenge. Hales might earlier have
been run out on three, had Warner managed a direct hit from point; he
also offered a tough half-chance to diving wicketkeeper Matthew Wade on
21 off Dan Christian, and escaped a feasible stumping off veteran
spinner Brad Hogg on 34.
But he was responsible for England's early momentum, once he found the
boundary in the fifth over – the first of three fours in four balls off
Hales' opening partner Craig Kieswetter mistimed an attempted big hit to
deep mid-off. But Australia contributed to England's total with a
succession of early wides – one of which, from Mitchell Starc, swung
past the wicketkeeper and sped to the boundary.
Innovative: Morgan contributed a quickfire 30
Hales and Luke Wright shared a second-wicket stand of 88.
Even though George Bailey tried to put the squeeze on by chopping and
changing his bowlers, Wright upped the ante with two reverse-hit fours
and England's first six over mid-wicket off Hogg to bring up the hundred
– only to fall to the last ball of the same over when he picked out
deep square leg.
Hales completed his half-century in 36 balls, but clipped Hogg to mid-wicket to go soon afterwards.
With Eoin Morgan and Jonny Bairstow's expert hitting and placement still
to come, England nonetheless had a total which turned out to be too
much – despite Hussey – for the team they also beat to win their World
Twenty20 title in a Barbados final two years ago.
Key man: Hussey top scored with 71 before being dismissed by Broad
IRELAND EDGE PAST BANGLADESH
Ireland completed their World Twenty20 preparations with a tight five-run win over Bangladesh in Colombo.
Having seen off Zimbabwe last weekend, William Porterfield's side got the better of a higher-class of opposition, successfully defending their 164 for six.
A thrilling 71 from just 41 balls by opener Paul Stirling was the highlight of their innings.
Ed Joyce chipped in with a more considered 39 to boost the total further and, despite a knock of 52 from Shakib Al Hasan, Bangladesh were unable to reach their target.
The occasional spin of Kevin O'Brien (three for 24) eventually put the skids on their charge, which originally looked as though it would be in pursuit of a higher score when Ireland rattled off 40 runs in the first four overs.
Porterfield was the first man to go as he was run out with the score on 46, with Stirling and Joyce then sharing a second-wicket stand of 64 before the latter was castled by Elias Sunny.
Joyce carried on the charge before being snared by Mashrafe Mortaza who ended with two for 33, as Ireland were unable to open their shoulders over the closing stages of their overs.
Bangladesh's response saw them lose Mohammad Ashraful early on for seven, before a quickfire stand of 63 between Tamim Iqbal and Shakib got them motoring.
But Tamim (35) offered a return catch to Alex Cusack and then Shakib lost his wicket to Nigel Jones as the wheels started to come off.
O'Brien then took three wickets in two overs to really put Ireland in command and, although Ziaur Rahman weighed in with a breezy 26, it was not enough and Bangladesh ended just short on 159 for nine.