England claim comfortable win
July 07, 2012 19:04:00 UK
England extended their lead in the Natwest series over Australia to 3-0 with a comfortable eight wicket victory at Durham.
Steve Finn was impressive for England.
Steve Finn with the ball (4-37), and Ian Bell (69) along with Jonathan Trott (64no) with the bat were the outstanding performers for England as they comfortably chased down Australia's target of 200-9, as they made 201-2 and wrapped up the series win.
After winning the crucial toss Alastair Cook asked the Australians to bat first, and he was rewarded when Finn found himself on a hat-trick after dismissing David Warner (2) and Peter Forrest first ball both LBW with just six on the board.
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After this early blow Michael Clarke's men rallied, and after the skipper joined opener Shane Watson at the crease they steadied the ship. However, when Watson was dismissed for 28 clean bowled by Tim Bresnan, and George Bailey followed soon after for nine with the score on 68 Australia looked in deep trouble.
One day specialist David Hussey joined Clarke and they looked to raise the tempo in conditions which were improving.
Clarke was the next to go for 43 bowled by Finn, and Matthew Wade was also dismissed first ball when he was caught by a sensational catch by Craig Kieswetter with the scoreboard on 96.
Paceman Brett Lee was next to face the music, and he again showed that he is no mug with the bat as he and Hussey began to find the boundary.
Lee was next to go for 27 on 166, and when Wade and Clint Mackay were also out, Hussey was the last person to be dismissed for a tremendous 70 from 73 balls as Australia limped to 200.
England began their response in a confident mood with Cook and the in-form Bell putting on 70 for the first wicket before the captain was caught by the sub from McKay for 29.
This brought Jonathan Trott in at number three, and they steadily built England's run chase, as in more bad news for Australia Lee limped of the field having bowled only two overs.
Bell was the next man to make his way to the pavillion when he played on to McKay for his second wicket on 136, and with few alarms Trott and Ravi Bopari (33no) saw England home to their target.
England are rated as 1.44 to retain the Ashes next year, with Australia 4.50.
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