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  • England v Australia, 4th ODI, Cardiff

Bailey raises Australia amid rubble

The Report by Andrew McGlashan in Cardiff
September 14, 2013

Innings break Australia 227 (Bailey 87, Tredwell 3-53) v England
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George Bailey played another good hand against England's bowlers but couldn't remain until the end © Getty Images
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England started and finished their bowling effort strongly in Cardiff to restrict Australia to 227 as they aim to keep the one-day series alive, but George Bailey's 87 ensured the visitors at least posted something competitive after their top order had been knocked over by high-quality pace bowling.

Having been 57 for 4, Bailey led a recovery, firstly with Adam Voges and then with Matthew Wade, before the innings faded dramatically with Australia losing their last five wickets for 18 in six overs. James Tredwell, who like at Old Trafford was targeted with the short, straight boundaries on this ground, responded impressively after his first six-over spell went for 48 (35 of Bailey's half-century came against the offspinner) to claim three wickets as part of the late collapse.

Eoin Morgan had gambled by giving Steven Finn and Boyd Rankin 15 of their combined overs within the first 21 of the innings, having seen early wickets fall. While that strategy brought Michael Clarke's demise it left England vulnerable in the second half of the innings and added further weight to the argument they are a specialist bowler short, although Morgan will point to Australia's underwhelming total as justification for the selection.

Heavy rain fell for much of the previous afternoon and evening, but a dry, bright morning brought much-needed relief after the poor weather that has already led to two abandoned matches in this series. With a 10.15am start, and the surface having been covered for a considerable time, it was a more-than-useful toss for Morgan to win, akin to many a September one-day final at Lord's.

For the second time in the series, Finn made a breakthrough in his first over, this time with his first legitimate delivery of the match - having started with a wide - when a full ball that nipped back into Aaron Finch's pads.

Rankin then produced his most eye-catching spell in an England shirt so far as he worked over firstly Shane Watson and then Clarke. He twice beat Watson's outside edge with deliveries that bounced from a good length, then nipped one back into his pads, which was too high for lbw. But next delivery he drew Watson into a drive away from his body and found the edge.

England went on their now-common attack to Clarke, bringing in a short leg and aiming at his body, which again made him look uncomfortable. An inside edge whistled past leg stump and an unconvincing pull was top edged fine of long leg either side of him being beaten three times in four deliveries by Rankin.

Briefly it appeared the pressure was going to be relieved on Australia, when Ben Stokes' first over cost 10 and two further boundaries followed in Rankin's next, but Stokes responded with a rapid bouncer (registered at 91mph by the TV speedgun) that Shaun Marsh gloved through to Jos Buttler, who took the catch one-handed above his head. It was Stokes' first ODI wicket.

Sensing his chance to get back into the series, Morgan stacked the first part of Australia's innings with his quickest bowlers rather than turning early to Ravi Bopara or Tredwell. His reward was the key wicket of Clarke, given lbw to Finn's third ball back into the attack, although he could consider himself unlucky as it was the ultimate bail-trimmer, upheld by the DRS.

Bailey and Voges added 67 for the fifth wicket before Bopara scuttled one through to beat Voges' pull but England's allrounders struggled to stem the runs between overs 30 and 40, which included the batting Powerplay. Bailey, who could have been run out on 51 with a better throw from Michael Carberry, was strong down the ground while Wade, who has had very limited chances at the crease on this tour, cut and drove strongly as the pair put on 85 in 12 overs.

It was looking like a struggle for Morgan to find the allotted overs before returning to Finn and Rankin at the death, but his decision to recall Tredwell after a one-over spell from Joe Root paid dividends when Wade got a thick outside edge to short third-man, where Carberry held a sharp, one-handed catch. In the same over James Faulkner was run out, then Tredwell slid one through Mitchell Johnson's defence and Rankin capped a fine display by finding Bailey's outside edge. Australia finished with a whimper.

Andrew McGlashan is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo

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