Australia cruised to a six-wicket win over England in their first one-day international at the Adelaide Oval on Thursday, despite a superb Dawid Malan century.
Malan hit a stylish 134 as England posted a total of 287-9, but it never looked like enough on a flat batting track that offered nothing to the bowlers.
With 3.1 overs remaining, Australia reached the target with little difficulty.
“It was a fantastic team performance,” said Australian captain Pat Cummins.
“We came in fresh and eager to get back into it.”
The Australian openers had made light work of England’s attack and were in command from the start, with both David Warner and Travis Head launching all-out assaults.
They reached their century partnership in just 88 balls, with only Olly Stone able to stop them.
Neither appeared to be in danger until Head pulled a short ball from Chris Jordan straight to Phil Salt at deep square leg for 69.
Warner appeared to be on his way to his first century in nearly three years until, on 86, he lifted David Willey into the air and was well caught by Sam Billings at deep backward square.
But Steve Smith, who finished not out 80, was unfazed as he led Australia to victory despite losing Marnus Labuschagne for four and Alex Carey for 21.
“With a lot of Test cricket coming up, seeing Smithy play like this was really pleasing,” Cummins said.
Cummins won the toss and chose to bowl, and England were quickly in trouble, trailing 20-2 after four overs before Malan arrived.
When he left, the score was 259-8, with Jos Buttler’s 29 the next highest.
The England captain, who lifted the Twenty20 World Cup trophy at the MCG four days ago, said he was unconcerned about the outcome.
“It’s all about the character we demonstrated,” he explained.
“We wanted to play with purpose. Dawid Malan had a fantastic innings, and getting to that score from where we were was incredible.”
Malan’s 134 came off 128 deliveries, including 12 fours and four sixes, and was his second ODI century after a 125 against the Netherlands in June.
Cummins, who was captain for the first time after Aaron Finch retired, would have been pleased with Australia’s start to the innings.
They bowled tight line and length to the English opening pair, then made a double breakthrough.
On the last ball of the fourth over, Cummins had Phil Salt caught at second slip by Smith, and two balls later Mitchell Starc bowled the recalled Jason Roy with a beautiful delivery that swung back late.
When James Vince edged to wicketkeeper Alex Carey, the Australian captain put his team ahead.
At 31-3, England was struggling, but Malan remained composed, starting slowly and then picking up the pace as the shine on the ball faded.
Don’t Forget To Follow Us On Facebook | Instagram | Twitter | LinkedIn To Get The Latest Updates From Cape Town Tribune