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Australia ‘too strong’ for Poms to take T20 series Hosts win by 8 wickets

MELBOURNE, Jan 31, (AFP): Australia continued England’s miserable tour with an emphatic eight-wicket victory to claim the Twenty20 series with a match to spare at the Melbourne Cricket Ground on Friday. England only posted 130 for nine after winning the toss and the home side coasted to victory with 5.1 overs left at 131 for two. Skipper George Bailey clubbed an unbeaten 60 off just 28 balls with three sixes and seven fours, while opener Cameron White continued his magnificent series with 57 not out off 45 balls. England will finish their troubled tour of Australia in Sydney on Sunday in the final dead rubber T20 game after losing the Ashes 5-0 and the one-day series 4-1.

Fast bowler Josh Hazlewood was named man-of-the-match with career-best T20 figures of four for 30 in England’s innings, including two wickets with his last two balls. “Australia outplayed us fantastically today. They held length pretty well and we didn’t react to that and the two needless run-outs hurt us in the middle which cost us getting a decent score,” England skipper Stuart Broad said. “We need to get some momentum from somewhere. It’s been a long tour, it’s been a long 100 days in Australia and it would be nice to finish with a win. “We have not (win) a series over here which is heart-breaking for Team England, but we can finish on a high before we fly two hours later.”

Australian captain Bailey said his side’s bowlers had set up the win. Bailey paid credit to Hazlewood and also 20-year-old leg-spinner James Muirhead (1-17 off 4 overs). “James Muirhead bowled absolutely beautifully,” Bailey said. White posted his second successive half-century in his first T20 International series since October 2012 in a follow-up to his 75 in Wednesday’s opening T20 match in Hobart. England won the toss and batted but struggled on a slow-paced pitch, with wicketkeeper Jos Buttler topscoring with 22 off 27 balls. Opener Michael Lumb was out for 18 in the fourth over, caught at mid-on, and Luke Wright fell for a duck in the following over after recalled veteran Brad Hodge took a great catch at cover.

Left-arm paceman Mitchell Starc held a difficult chance at third man to remove Alex Hales for 16, as Hazlewood claimed his second victim. England lost four wickets in four overs when the 39-year-old Hodge threw the stumps down from cover to beat the dive of Eoin Morgan (six). Australia’s fielding was at its athletic best when Glenn Maxwell at mid-wicket threw to the bowler’s end to run out Joe Root for 18 at 63 for five. Muirhead enticed Ravi Bopara (six) to slog/sweep a catch to the leg-side boundary, and Nathan Coulter-Nile trapped Buttler leg before wicket 96 for seven.

Muirhead and Starc (1-19), in his first international game for the summer, were economical. Tailenders Tim Bresnan (18) and Broad (18 not out) added a 34-run partnership for the eighth wicket. Hazlewood bowled Bresnan and James Tredwell (0) with the last two deliveries of the innings.

Australia vs England Scoreboard

MELBOURNE, Jan 31, (AFP): Scoreboard in the second Twenty20 international between Australia and England in Melbourne on Friday:
ENGLAND:
A. Hales c Starc b Hazlewood    16
M. Lumb c Coulter-Nile b Hazlewood    18
L. Wright c Hodge b Starc    0
J. Root run out (Maxwell/White)    18
E. Morgan run out (Hodge)    6
J. Buttler lbw b Coulter-Nile    22
R. Bopara c Maxwell b Muirhead    6
T. Bresnan b Hazlewood    18
S. Broad not out    18
J. Tredwell b Hazlewood    0
Extras (lb4, w4)    8
Total (9 wickets; 20 overs)    130
Fall of wickets: 1-24 (Lumb), 2-30 (Wright), 3-42 (Hales), 4-55 (Morgan), 5-63 (Root), 6-87 (Bopara), 7-96 (Buttler), 8-130 (Bresnan), 9-130 (Tredwell)
Did not bat: J. Dernbach
Bowling: Hodge 1-0-10-0, Coulter-Nile 4-0-29-1, Starc 4-0-19-1, Hazlewood 4-0-30-4 (2w), Maxwell 1-0-7-0, Muirhead 4-0-17-1 (2w), White 2-0-14-0

AUSTRALIA:
C. White not out    57
A. Finch lbw b Bresnan    10
G. Maxwell c Bresnan b Tredwell    2
G. Bailey not out    60
Extras (lb1, w1    2
Total (2 wickets; 14.5 overs)    131
Fall of wickets: 1-48 (Finch), 2-53 (Maxwell)
Bowling: Broad 3-0-29-0, Dernbach 3-0-42-0, Bresnan 3-0-11-1 (1w), Tredwell 3.5-0-36-1, Bopara 2-0-12-0
Did not bat: B. Hodge, C. Lynn, M. Wade, M. Starc, N. Coulter-Nile, J. Hazlewood, J. Muirhead.
Australia won by 8 wickets
Australia lead series 2-0
Toss: England
Umpires: John Ward (AUS), Paul Wilson (AUS)
Third Umpire: Simon Fry (AUS)
Match Referee: Andy Pycroft (ZIM)

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