Faulkner fireworks lifts Australia to win


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Faulkner is the Man of the Match for his 47-ball 69

Allrounder James Faulkner inflicted more misery on hapless England by delivering a remarkable one-day victory for Australia at the Gabba on Friday.

With the tourists seemingly poised for their first win over Australia this summer, Faulkner smashed 69 runs off just 47 balls to chase down England's 8-300 with one wicket and three balls to spare.

Australia appeared dead and buried when they lost Glenn Maxwell (54) and Ashes hero Brad Haddin (26) in the 35th over but with 30 needed off the final three overs, Faulkner launched an amazing display of hitting.

He belted consecutive sixes off Ben Stokes (1-74) in the 49th over and then smashed three fours in as many balls off the final Tim Bresnan over to get Australia home.

Faulkner and Clint McKay shared a 57-run last wicket stand, with McKay contributing two in what is the highest successful run chase in ODI history at the Brisbane venue.

"I knew I could do it deep down but it's always nice to get the boys over the line," Faulkner told the Nine Network.

The victory lifts Australia to a 2-0 lead in the five-game series.

Earlier, Eoin Morgan's blistering 106 off 99 balls had looked like being a matchwinning innings.

Morgan begun slowly but belted his final 50 off just 24 balls as he combined with young wicketkeeper-batsman Jos Buttler (49) in a 114-run, 68-delivery sixth-wicket stand which blew Australia away.

His sixth one-day hundred looked a long way off when he was caught at midwicket for one but then correctly pointed out to the umpires Michael Clarke's delivery was a no-ball because Australia had one fielder too many outside the circle for a powerplay over.

That reprieve granted, Morgan first re-constructed England's innings alongside Ian Bell (68) after they had lost three quick wickets and then delivered a stunning finish along with Buttler.

Australia's chase began shakily with both openers falling to one-handed catches.

Aaron Finch, a century-maker in Australia's game one victory, was snared by Gary Ballance off Chris Jordan's (2-53) bowling for a duck before Jordan took a sensational right-handed grab off his own bowling from a David Warner (18) drive.

When Joe Root (2-46) took the wickets of Michael Clarke (17) and Marsh (55), the hosts looked done but members of England's Test squad on the field must have feared the worst as Haddin combined with Glenn Maxwell to put on 80 in 66 balls.

But when both fell to Bresnan (2-64) the English could scent victory.

England captain Alastair Cook's roar when he snared the catch to dismiss Haddin said a lot about how his summer has gone but another devastating psychological blow was still to come from Tasmanian Faulkner.

The tourists have only one day to recover with the third game to be played in Sydney on Sunday and there will be doubt over Morgan's fitness after he limped off late in Australia's innings with a calf problem.

Australia captain Clarke hailed Faulkner as the nation's new "Michael Bevan" following his heroics and the 23-year-old said he'd revelled in the challenge of guiding his country home.

"The crowd was quite loud and I've been in that situation a fair few times being the all-rounder when you bat at the end and a lot of times I haven't been successful and I've stuffed up the game," he said.

"It was just nice to get the boys over the line this evening."

Faulkner said while Australia understood England's struggles there was still no sympathy for the tourists as they continue to hunt for their first international win on tour.

Morgan, who said both he and bowler Boyd Rankin (hamstring) will have to be assessed before Sunday's match, said there would be a challenge for England to rouse themselves at the SCG.

"It is quite tough," Morgan said.

"We were all over today's game. Did a lot of things right. We let a good side come in at the end and allowed them to play.

"We're as surprised as anybody at the result."
Australia win by one wicket
England will be absolutely deflated by this defeat. It was as close as they could have come to a victory in Australia all summer. They had won the toss, batted and thanks to Bell (68) and Morgan (106) posted a challenging 300 on the board.

England's bowlers got some early wickets, reduced Australia to 78/3 before Marsh, Haddin and Maxwell took the hosts past 300. However, at 235/8, it really looked like England were favourites to win at the Gabba but James Faulkner had other ideas.

Much like he had done in India, the feisty lower-order batsman played some audacious strokes to leave England gasping and panting as the match slipped away from their fingers. Alastair Cook and his bowlers had no idea what hit them. It was as accomplished a batting performance as you will ever see.

Michael Slater bows down to Faulkner before the latter says, 'I believed I could do it. I want to thank the crowd for the support. We had lot of batting left and in the end, what matters is a win. It's always nice to get over the line, today was a great day. I wanted to keep it simple, so didn't go for a big shots.'
The Australian team run onto the field as the crowd goes berserk. Maxwell, Warner, all are pumped. Distraught England players shake hands with the Aussies. Phew! What a game of cricket we've had. At 120/5, Australia were down and out and hopes of England's first win on the tour were very high. Glenn Maxwell and Brad Haddin batted sensibly to add 86 runs for the 6th wicket after Shaun Marsh's fine fifty. Nathan Coulter-Nile played a good hand alongside James Faulkner after Tim Bresnan removed both Haddin and Maxwell in the same over to put the visitors on top. Faulkner was very calm at the start. Maybe he knew he could hit sixes at will after his heroics at Mohali and in the end he was proved right. The England bowlers couldn't defend 25 runs off the last 2 overs. Stokes offered some very generous length balls to help Faulkner muscle them. Bresnan didn't do a fine job in the final over either and in the end, Australia have snatched victory from the jaws of defeat.

Gill Saab

Yaar Malang
Faulkner pulls off stunning heist

Australia 9 for 301 (Faulkner 69*, Marsh 55, Maxwell 54) beat England 8 for 300 (Morgan 106, Bell 68) by 1 wicket

Just when England's grim, debilitating tour looked as though it would have a moment of relief, James Faulkner carried Australia to a heart-stopping one-wicket victory at the Gabba with three balls to spare. Left with No. 11 Clint McKay for company and 57 runs still needed, Faulkner calmly turned down singles and backed himself to find the required boundaries, which he did with regularity as he knocked off the final 25 needed in seven deliveries.

He hit five sixes in total, including two in the penultimate over off Ben Stokes (who Faulkner hit for all his sixes), then closed out the match with three consecutive boundaries in the final over from Tim Bresnan to leave England shattered and now facing the prospect of another whitewash. Bresnan appeared to have calmed England nerves with two wickets in the 35th over - Brad Haddin taken at mid-off and Glenn Maxwell swinging to midwicket - but he could not defend 12 off the final over.

It was a reprisal of Faulkner's heroics in India, when he hit 64 off 29 balls to win the match in Mohali and then struck a hundred from No. 7 - Australia's fastest ever - in a failed chase in Bangalore. His unbeaten 69 here was the third-highest score by a No. 9 in ODIs and his stand with McKay was the second-highest tenth-wicket partnership to win a match.

Australia were in touch with the asking rate for a large proportion of the innings but no one could build the substantial score to give them an anchor. The chase was hit immediately when Aaron Finch, the century-maker at the MCG, drove on the up to mid-off where Gary Ballance this time held the catch, one-handed above his head. However, Chris Jordan's grab, in his follow through, to remove David Warner was even more spectacular and meant that the two batsmen who could have very quickly made a target of 301 look much smaller were back in the pavilion.

Shaun Marsh timed the ball beautifully in his fifty and Maxwell, who hit three consecutive reverse sweeps for four off Joe Root, hammered 54 off 39 balls, sparking Australia's second surge, but wickets were seemingly falling with too great a frequency.

Alastair Cook look shattered afterwards, having less than an hour earlier been within touching distance of a win and a level series to his name. But the pendulum started to swing, even though Australia were nine down, when they got the requirement to 30 off 18 balls. When a team is on a losing streak it is easy to let doubts enter the mind and with each subsequent boundary clubbed by Faulkner the England players started fearing the worse.

Still, a bowler of Bresnan's experience had an even chance of success in that final over, only to see his first delivery top-edged over the keeper then his second pulled through midwicket. The next flew past a diving extra cover, who stayed on the ground as the Australians sprinted on in celebration. England's bowling tactics will be dissected: why did Stokes bowl ahead of Jordan? Could Ravi Bopara have been entrusted with more, having bowled five overs for 19? And can England rely on Boyd Rankin, who had to leave the field with a tight hamstring? At the moment, though, Australia are playing with the confidence that anything is achievable.

They were not at their best for much of this game and, for the first time on the tour, were rattled while Eoin Morgan, with his sixth one-day international and a brilliant piece of acceleration that will now be lost amid the result, and Jos Buttler added 117 in 11 overs in the most uplifting England batting of the tour. The innings had been drifting nowhere on 5 for 178, but Morgan played with the verve of someone not burdened by previous failures.

He required just 24 balls for his second fifty, hitting five sixes in that period and six overall (including three off consecutive deliveries). He reached his hundred off 94 balls with a ramp over the keeper and celebrated in unusually flamboyant fashion although it was a worrying sight, on top of all England's other woes, when he had to leave the field during the Australia innings with what appeared to be a calf problem.

The full force of Morgan's striking began in the 43rd over when he hammered Mitchell Johnson for a flat six over cover. Another six, a bottom-handed flick over midwicket off Faulkner, landed in the English fancy dress section of the crowd.

Morgan's tactical awareness was on display much earlier in his innings. When he had 1, Morgan spotted that Michael Clarke - who was also the bowler at the time - had one too many fielders outside the ring and took the opportunity for what, effectively, was a free hit. He was caught at deep midwicket, but immediately signalled to the umpire Kumar Dharmasena to check the field and the no-ball was duly called. For a long it looked like England's fortunes had turned only for them to hit with another sickening blow.