England’s record run chase sets up decider

Moeen Ali

Moeen Ali

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England defied the all-round excellence of Australia’s Glenn Maxwell as they squared the Royal London one-day series with a record chase at Headingley.

The hosts made it 2-2 with one to play as they chased down 300 for the first time against Australia and only the fourth time in their history, with skipper Eoin Morgan leading the way with 92.

But Maxwell, who played for Yorkshire this summer, was irresistible – taking a two-phase boundary catch that will linger long in the memory, another one-handed grab to dismiss Morgan, one wicket and top-scoring for his side with 85.

He did not deserve to be on the losing side but the hosts secured a brilliant three-wicket success with 10 balls remaining, David Willey ending it emphatically with a steepling six down the ground.

James Taylor and Ben Stokes chimed in with twin 41s, while Moeen Ali contributed a controlled 21 not out at the close.

Willey, making his first appearance of the series, welcomed Australia’s decision to bat first enthusiastically.

With the new ball swinging, the Yorkshire-bound left-armer ripped out the top three at his new home ground.

Joe Burns dragged on, Steve Smith was pinned lbw and Aaron Finch edged having declined to move his feet. At the 10-over mark Australia were struggling on 39-3 but it might have been even better had Roy held a tough slip catch offered by Maxwell on six.

Maxwell enjoyed another life on 35 – spilled at fine-leg by Adil Rashid – before truly finding his feet alongside the steadier George Bailey.

But by the time he thrashed successive Rashid deliveries for six, six and four – passing 50 with the first – he was at his ease.

Maxwell welcomed Moeen with a reverse sweep for four but, for the second match in a row, the stroke cost him his wicket when he lost his leg stump attempting a repeat.

With Maxwell gone England’s spin duo applied the brakes well.

Bailey and Mitchell Marsh were made to work hard for their runs before Liam Plunkett drew mishits from both in the 41st over.

Debutant Marcus Stoinis followed to leave them 215-7 and needing a shot in the arm.

Matthew Wade and John Hastings duly delivered.

They clubbed 84 runs at better than 10-per-over, confounding all attempts to keep runs in check.

England’s response to 299-7 started badly, the out-of-form Alex Hales gone for a second ball duck having been beaten for pace by Pat Cummins.

Enter Taylor, fresh from his maiden hundred in Manchester.

He peppered the ropes with a series of boundaries, including three in an over off James Pattinson.

Jason Roy was inspired to follow suit, overtaking his partner with five fours in 13 deliveries as England raced to 73-1 in the powerplay.

But neither man kicked on, Roy (36) feeding a Cummins slower ball to mid-off and Taylor brilliantly held down the leg-side by Wade.

As Morgan and Stokes bedded down, Australia’s bowlers dried up the runs effectively until Pattinson shipped 14 to leave England 143-3 at halfway – matching Australia identically at the equivalent position.

Morgan had survived a caught behind appeal on 33 after replays showed Wade collecting on the half-volley, and reached 50 in 66 balls.

Stokes was within sight of the same landmark when he was yorked by Marsh, but Morgan merely grew in stature.

His measured knock exploded into life when he dashed forward and crashed Hastings into the roof of the stand, a shot the Dubliner followed with four boundaries in eight balls.

It would take something special to see off the skipper and Maxwell provided it, leaping back and across to claim a staggering catch at point.

Maxwell refused to stay quiet.

His off-spin accounted for the sweeping Jonny Bairstow, who was caught behind on review, but Australia failed to turn the screw when Wade dropped Moeen with 31 needed.

Maxwell’s one-man show reached a crescendo when he caught his former Tykes team-mate Plunkett, holding then releasing a tough chance on the boundary, briefly balancing then leaping back on to the field of play and regathering the ball.

By then it was too late to change the result, Moeen keeping a calm head and Willey ending things with a monstrous blow off Hastings.