• Last updated on Sun, 17 Jun, 2018, 10:54 AM
Jason Roy stroked a 108-ball 120 © Getty
The Wallabies lost to Ireland, the football team went down 1-2 to France in the Football World Cup and an overall disappointing day for Australian sport came to an end with the cricket team going down by 38 runs against England in the second match in Cardiff on Saturday (June 16). Australia, set a massive 343 to level the series, came agonisingly close to pulling off a heist after an astonishing 131 from Shaun Marsh but were eventually shot down for 304. England, with the win set up by Jason Roy and Jos Buttler before the bowlers held their nerves, picked up a 2-0 lead in the five-match series.
For most parts of the chase, Australia looked out of sorts. Some glaring glitches came out to haunt them, and Justin Langer and the think-tank will have to figure out some quick fixes if the visitors are to fight their way back in the series. More importantly, the issues, mainly the fragile batting line-up sans David Warner and Steve Smith, should give the think-tank plenty of sleepless nights with the World Cup just about a year away.
Credit where due – Jason Roy was exceptional during his 108-ball stay that fetched England 120 and Jos Buttler, leading the side in the absence of Eoin Morgan, played his role to perfection apart from contributing a crucial unbeaten 91 with the bat.
There weren’t too many positive signs but Marsh’s fighting ton should provide the team some solace as they were completely outplayed by the top-ranked ODI side. They made a promising start in the tall chase but lost Travis Head early on. Marsh and D’Arcy Short were tasked with the job of building the foundation for the chase but struggled for momentum as England tightened the noose. With the asking rate climbing, Australia slipped to 111 for 4 by the 21st over before Marsh and Glenn Maxwell (31) revived the chase with a quick half-century stand.
They brought the equation down to 179 in the last 20 overs but just as it looked like Australia were gearing up for another tough bout, Maxwell fell to dash their hopes. From there on it was Marsh trying to keep the chase afloat before it finally ran out of steam.
Marsh got to his first ton in the last five years, his fifth overall, in the 38th over in 95 deliveries and kept the fight going despite a disappointing show from the other premier batsmen. His innings meant Australia needed 107 in the last 10 overs and he finally got some support from Ashton Agar, who scored 46 off 42. Agar fell in the 43rd over, stumped off Rashid, but Marsh refused to give it all up. He picked up the ante and brought the equation down to a very manageable 53 in the last five overs. However, Paine fell soon after to give Plunkett his second wicket but the knockout blow came two balls later when the pacer knocked out Marsh’s poles with an off-cutter.
Earlier in the day, England were dealt with an unkind cut before the game as Morgan was ruled out with a back spasm. Roy’s ton, Buttler’s contributions and Jonny Bairstow’s early blitz ensured the pressure stayed squarely on Australia throughout the first 50 overs after the hosts were put in. England started slow but Bairstow blazed his way to a 24-ball 42 to give the innings the much-needed early impetus.
Once he was dismissed, Hales and Roy continued to keep the scoring rate over six and took the team past 100. Australia plucked out a few timely dismissals but failed to find a way past Roy. His innings laid the perfect platform for the England middle-order to capitalise and bat Australia out of the game.
Roy fell in the 36th over with England having 239 on the board. Australia fought back with quick wickets in the death overs but Sam Billings, Moeen Ali and David Willey fell in quick succession. Buttler’s timely assault, nonetheless, pushed the side over 340 and the game out of Australia’s reach.
Brief scores: England 342/8 in 50 overs (Jason Roy 120, Jos Buttler 91*; Kane Richardson 2-56) beat Australia 304 in 47.1 overs (Shaun Marsh 131; Liam Plunkett 4-53) by 38 runs.