Aussies nail England in final

Aussies nail England in final

Maxwell, Johnson produce sparkling shows as hosts romp to 112-run victory

Aussies nail England in final

The much-anticipated return to action of Mitchell Johnson lived up to its hype as Australia completely bossed the tri-series final against England.

After Glenn Maxwell blasted his way to 95 (98b, 15x4) during a record 141-run association with Mitchell Marsh (60, 68b, 7x4, 1x6) for the fifth wicket, Johnson, playing his first match in over a month, rattled the England top-order with a three-wicket burst in the space of 10 balls of his first spell (4-1-14-3) to set the cat among pigeons.

England, chasing Australia’s daunting 278 for eight, could never recover from those blows, eventually folding up for 166 in 39.1 overs. The massive 112-run win helped Australia claim the tri-series with an all-win record here at the WACA on Sunday.

James Taylor was the first to fall for Johnson when the batsman’s drive was pouched inches from the ground by a diving Maxwell. A confident-looking Mooen Ali was done in by a nasty snorter which climbed at him at over 145 kmph. The southpaw tried to fend but only managed a healthy edge to slip. The decent crowd was firmly getting behind the paceman as Eoin Morgan walked into bat. The England skipper was left embarrassed when he saw his off-stump pegged after he shouldered the arms to a delivery that held its line. Ravi Bopara denied Johnson the hat-trick but the damage was done.    

Australia, however, had multiple heroes to credit their victory and none bigger than man of the match Maxwell, who picked up four wickets, including two off successive balls, to go with his swashbuckling half-century. On a surface again with a variable bounce, Australia appeared to have dragged themselves into a deep rut at 60 for 4 after a well set Steven Smith was foxed by Ali for Jos Buttler to effect a fumbling stumping. Maxwell, always dangerous, didn’t have many runs under his belt coming into bat while Marsh was effectively playing his first match after the Brisbane Test against India more than a month ago.

Maxwell and Marsh did exceedingly well to help Australia regain control after being inserted by England. While Smith, who doesn’t seem to put a foot wrong, batted with the customary ease, the rest of the top order failed the England pace test with James Anderson accounting for Aaron Finch and David Warner. Skipper George Bailey, searching for some form, opened his account off the 16th delivery but was dismissed off the next ball as Stuart Broad got one to kick up in front of his face and the batsman fended it for James Taylor to complete a simple catch at short leg. Smith followed him in the hut soon to leave Australia in a spot.

At this stage, England had every reason to fancy their chances but Maxwell and Marsh showed how fanciful the thought was. The right-handed duo, cautious to begin with, exploded in stunning style during a stand of 141 at more than run a ball. Once he crossed fifty, Maxwell threw his bat at almost everything. He missed and miscued as many balls as he connected and whenever he made contact, the ball disappeared to the fence in no time. Marsh played an innings full of exciting strokes, a pulled six over backward square-leg being the standout. In a mix up with Brad Haddin, Marsh was run out while the former fell soon.

Australia, at this stage, would have been happy to settle for a total of 230-240 but Faulkner showed once again why he is regarded as one of the best finishers in the shorter format.
While it was largely on the back of this partnership that Australia built an impressive total, made even more intimidating by the tricky conditions, Faulkner provided hosts the perfect finish with a 24-ball 50 to set the WACA afire.

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