Michael Clarke’s century and a disciplined bowling effort propelled Australia to an 88-run victory over England in the second one-day international on Sunday, giving the tourists a 1-0 lead in the five-match series.
Still smarting from a 3-0 loss in the Ashes, the Australians outplayed the hosts with bat and ball at Old Trafford to suggest the ODIs will be a very different proposition to the test series between the old foes.
Clarke made a fluent 105 for his eighth ODI century, with his 155-run partnership with George Bailey (82) for the fourth wicket pushing the tourists to 315-7 after surprisingly being put in to bat.
England, playing an experimental side with the 2015 World Cup in mind, required a record run-chase to win in Manchester but never got near the target despite some lusty shot-making from Jos Buttler (75) and opener Kevin Pietersen (60). Clint McKay took 3-47 and Mitchell Johnson (2-36) also bowled sharply as England was dismissed for 227 with 5.4 overs left.
“Winning is a habit,” Bailey said. “So we will take any win we can at the moment.”
The first ODI was abandoned as a no result on Friday following a wash-out.
England captain Eoin Morgan helped delay the inevitable with 54 in the forlorn reply but he had already played a key role in his team’s demise by opting to bowl first, in an attempt to take advantage of morning conditions that appeared ideal for seamers.
It backfired and once the Australians recovered from losing opener Shaun Marsh for a duck to the fourth ball of the day, they dominated the match.
“Regardless if we had batted or bowled first, we didn’t play well enough today,” Morgan said. “We struggled to cope with the conditions ... and 300-plus was a big ask for us.”
Clarke, who said he would have batted if he’d won the toss, laid into England’s bowlers with a flurry of boundaries at a ground where he struck 187 in the third Ashes test last month. He finished with 14 fours for his first ODI hundred against England and the highest individual score by an Australian at Old Trafford.
Bailey was even more belligerent, his six down the ground off Ben Stokes that brought up his fifty being arguably the shot of the match. Bailey struck five fours and four sixes in his 67-ball knock.
With big-hitting Aaron Finch making a run-a-ball 45 and Shane Watson weighing in with 38, the tourists had already made a fast start and a total of around 350 looked likely when Clarke and Bailey were in the middle.
Boyd Rankin’s dismissal of Clarke and Matthew Wade in successive balls helped slow the run-rate but Australia still became only the second side in the past 41 ODIs at Old Trafford to pass 300 in the first innings.
Johnson removed Michael Carberry (4) and Jonathan Trott (0) in the space of three balls to leave England on 9-2, four overs into the reply. Pietersen, selected as an opener, crashed some devastating blows to the boundary in a 66-ball cameo that contained six fours and two sixes but when he drove Watson to James Faulkner at extra cover, the hosts were in trouble on 97-4.
After Morgan departed, Buttler provided some late entertainment with four fours and two big sixes but the required run-rate was above 12 at that stage and Australia wasn’t going to be caught.
“To make over 300 on this wicket was a pretty good score and I thought our bowlers executed it very well,” Clarke said. “England showed during the test series that it’s all about the result, and as a one-day outfit we are off to a good start.”
The third ODI will be played at Edgbaston on Wednesday.
Australia: 315 for seven in 50 overs.
England: M. Carberry c Clarke b Johnson 4, K. Pietersen c Faulkner b Watson 60, J. Trott c Wade b Johnson 0, J. Root b Faulkner 3, E. Morgan c Clarke b McKay 54, R. Bopara c & b Voges 1, J. Buttler c Johnson b Ahmed 75, B. Stokes c Bailey b McKay 5, J. Tredwell (run out) 1, S. Finn c Voges b McKay 16, B. Rankin (not out) 1; Extras (lb-1, w-6): 7; Total (in 44.2 overs): 227.
Fall of wickets: 1-8, 2-9, 3-38, 4-97, 5-103, 6-154, 7-167, 8-169, 9-216. Australia bowling: McKay 9.2-1- 47-3, Johnson 10-2-36-2, Faulkner 8-1- 39-1, Voges 6-0-32-1, Ahmed 7-0-55-1, Watson 4-1-17-1.
Man-of-the-match: M. Clarke.