Bell shines as England rout listless Australia

Bell shines as England rout listless Australia

England struck the first blow at the start of an eight-month campaign against Australia involving 26 matches in all three formats of the game by winning their Champions Trophy Group A game in Birmingham on Saturday.

The hosts defeated their oldest enemy in their opening match by 48 runs in advance of back-to-back Ashes series and four limited-overs series.

Australia, set 270 to win on a good batting pitch, gave a lacklustre performance and fell steadily behind the required run rate after taking the field without their injured captain Michael Clarke.

Shane Watson, their best one-day batsman, survived a hard chance to Cook off Stuart Broad but still made only 24 from 40 deliveries. His opening partner David Warner was out for nine and Phil Hughes was lbw to Joe Root for 30 trying to force the pace with an ill-judged pull shot.

Stand-in captain George Bailey was the top-scorer with 55 and his dismissal in the 40th over spelt the end of Australia's victory hopes. England rallied after a middle-order collapse to reach 269 for six on a slow pitch with Ravi Bopara (46 not out) and Tim Bresnan (19 not out) adding 56 from 41 balls for eighth-wicket.