England made an ideal start to their to their Antipodean tour with victory by 216 runs over an Australian Capital Territory XI at Canberra’s Manuka Oval.
This 50-over-a-side day game, with more than 11 players per side allowed, marks the beginning of a potential three-month odyssey of Australia and New Zealand for the Tri-Series and World Cup.
The calibre of today’s opposition, which included only one fully-contracted state player in Scott Henry, means this win needs to be seen in perspective.
England team to face ACT XI in warm-up: Ali, Bell, Taylor, Root, Morgan, Bopara, Buttler, Woakes, Jordan, Tredwell, Broad, Finn, Anderson.
— England Cricket (@ECB_cricket) January 11, 2015
Once Eoin Morgan won the toss in his first fixture as full-time captain, the tourists posted a commanding 364 for six with five of the top six making fifties.
A reshaped top four of Moeen Ali, Ian Bell, James Taylor and Joe Root were all half-centurions before an explosive, unbroken partnership between all-rounders Ravi Bopara and Chris Woakes worth 105 in just 50 balls.
Spinner James Tredwell undermined the reply by dismantling the ACT middle-order with figures of 3-11 from four overs. The hosts were skittled for 148 in the 33rd over.
The result sets England up for tougher opposition on Wednesday when they will face a Prime Minister’s XI in a day/night match at the same venue.
Today Bell, opening alongside Moeen, was dropped with just four to his name by Shane Devoy.
But that was the only moment of worry in an otherwise gentle new-ball examination for England’s new first-wicket partnership.
Moeen was quickly into his stride, peppering the ropes with a series of clean hits and adding a pair of sixes off Greg West and Joshua Bennett.
He raced to a half-century in 38 balls but fell to the next delivery, stumped off a wide as he looked to go after Devoy.
Bell and Taylor were less eye-catching than Moeen but steered the score along to 100 for one in 15 overs.
The pair settled in to a steady, unspectacular rhythm, both reaching a fifty with two boundaries apiece.
Bell’s innings of 51 in 62 balls ended when he chipped Cameron Suidgeest to mid-on.
Taylor managed four more runs before he mis-read a ball by 16-year-old leg-spinner Mac Wright and was bowled.
Root was more fluent, muscling seven boundaries en route to 56 before being hurried up by Mitch Phelps.
That was the first of three wickets to fall for two runs, Morgan bowled for 32 by Devoy on the reverse-sweep and Jos Buttler cheaply run out following a hesitation involving Bopara.
That briefly threatened to derail England but Bopara and Woakes laid into the bowling with aplomb at the end.
Bopara smashed five sixes, including three in three balls from Daniel Magin, as he made 56 not out in 27 balls, while Woakes added three maximums of his own in an unbeaten 45.
The ACT side never looked like taking on the chase.
Captain and opener David Dawson, a Sydney financier, got his margins wrong when taking on Broad’s arm and was run out for seven.
Matt Condon top-scored for the hosts with 36 from the top of the order before miscuing a short Woakes ball to Taylor at mid-on, and the introduction of Tredwell removed the guts of the middle order.
He took three wickets for no runs in a decisive two-over stint, trapping Nick Larkin in front, having New South Wales batsman Henry stumped and finishing up with Vele Dukoski for a duck.
Another flurry of three wickets in seven balls carried England to the cusp of victory.
Broad took out Andrew Harriott and Magin in a strong sixth over, with Anderson claiming Lewin Malady lbw at the other end.
That left two wickets to get and Moeen obliged, bowling Wright and winning a leg-before decision against last man Phelps to wrap up a straightforward victory.
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