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  • Prime Minister's XI v England XI

England claim rare tour victory

ESPNcricinfo staff
January 14, 2014 « Powell to blame trainer for positive test | Chartbeat test »

England 264-8 (Buttler 61, Ballance 56, Muirhead 3-52) beat Prime Minister's XI 92 (Bopara 4-3) by 172 runs
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Jos Buttler cracked 61 off 60 balls to help England to a winning total © Getty Images
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England won a game on Australian soil for the first time since mid-November, although there were still a couple of areas of concern despite the wide margin of victory.

Alastair Cook's run of single-figure scores continued and England were in a spot of bother at 129-5 halfway through the match but Gary Ballance and Jos Buttler struck fifties before the bowlers dismantled the Prime Minister's XI in 26 overs.

With Mitchell Johnson in line to return for Australia in Brisbane on Friday, having sat out the first ODI, footage of Cook and Joe Root falling to the pace of Brett Lee - 37 years old but still with a click in his heels - will doubtless make the video dossier compiled by Darren Lehmann's analysts. Root followed up a 23-ball three on Sunday with one off 14 balls in Canberra and, without a half-century since making 87 in the second Test, his form is a cause for concern.

Ravi Bopara was again deployed as England's fifth bowler and he ran through the tail to produce eye-catching figures of 4-3 from three overs. The rest of the attack all performed creditably, against a batting line-up that seasoned youth with a couple of older hands; Boyd Rankin, Chris Jordan, Tim Bresnan and James Tredwell sharing five wickets.

As in Melbourne, which ended in a six-wicket win for Australia, Cook won the toss and chose to bat, only to be sent back inside the first over - this time caught behind off a short ball from Lee. Root also did not last long but Michael Carberry steadied the innings with 47, only for another wobble to ensue. Ballance compiled 56, with just three boundaries, and Buttler then added 80 in partnership with Bresnan to help post a competitive total - perhaps aided by Lee only bowling seven overs, due to the heat.

With Steven Finn again left out - his tour remains stuck in a rut - and Ben Stokes rested, Rankin and Jordan again led the pace attack. Jordan made the opening incision, as Peter Handscomb dragged on for eight, and Rankin then struck twice in consecutive overs. When Brad Hodge, who top-scored with 28, picked out a man in the deep trying to slog Tredwell, the PM XI were struggling on 58-4.

Bopara then had a hand in each of the last five wickets to fall, including a run-out, as the end came quickly. The chances of Australia being similarly obliging at the Gabba on Friday appear slim.

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