England beat Australia by eight runs in a thrilling first T20I to take 1-0 lead in the three-match series at the Perth Stadium, here on Sunday.
The win marked England’s first victory in men’s T20Is in Australia in 11 years. Their first and only win in Australia in a T20I came in 2011 in Adelaide when they won by one wicket. Since then, England lost all six T20Is they played in Australia until the game on Sunday.
Put in to bat, Jos Buttler and Alex Hales treated Australia’s second-string attack – none of Pat Cummins, Josh Hazlewood, Mitchell Starc, Adam Zampa and Glenn Maxwell made the long trip west – with disdain and recorded a 132-run opening partnership to put England on course for a big total.
It was the highest men’s T20I first-wicket partnership in Australia, and England’s second highest in the format. However, once Buttler (68 off 32) and Hales (84 off 51) got out, the middle-order batters Stokes (9), Harry Brook (12), Moeen (10), Sam Curran (2) struggled to score quickly and got out at regular intervals.
But, lower down the order, Chris Woakes (13 not out off 5) scored crucial runs as England ended up posting their second total of 200 or more in Australia. They scored 208-6 in 20 overs.
Chasing a big total, Cameron Green, included in the team instead of Steve Smith and opening the batting instead of Aaron Finch, was out for single digits for a second consecutive game. But Marsh and Warner rekindled their strong union from last year’s World Cup by putting on a 75 run stand for the second wicket to lay a solid platform for Australia’s chase.
Marsh (36), Aaron Finch (12) got out at different stages but Warner led Australia’s run chase with a fine half-century.
It was Mark Wood, who turned the game England’s way. He first dismissed Marcus Stoinis (35) and Tim David (0) in the same over, and then got the prized scalp of Warner (73 off 44) with the final ball of his spell.
Despite Matthew Wade’s late fireworks, England maintained the pressure in the game with Reece Topley bowling a brilliant penultimate over that accounted for just six runs. With 16 needed off the final over, Sam Curran held his nerve to send back dangerman Wade (21 off 15) and conceded just seven runs to help England to an eight-run win.
The series continues with matches in Canberra on Wednesday and Friday. England then play a warm-up fixture on 17th against Pakistan before their T20 World Cup kicks off on October 22 with the match against Afghanistan.