England have won their first game of the tour by beating Australia by 57 runs in Perth with Ben Stokes once again the star performer, scoring 70 runs and taking four wickets to help his country to victory.
The morale boosting performance has meant they do not enter the record books by losing ten consecutive international games to match the unwanted feat which happened in 1993 and 2001.
England set their highest first innings total of the tour, including Test matches after the hosts won the toss and inserted Alastair Cook’s men who ended on 316-8.
Cook and Ian Bell took advantage as they shared an opening partnership of 87 which came at over seven runs an over before the captain fell for a fluent 44 off 43 balls. In an unchanged team for the tourists, all-rounder Ben Stokes continued to be trialled at the number three position and he impressed, scoring 70 runs in the middle overs of the game to continue the momentum which was set by the openers.
The Durham left-handed batsman had three different partners on his way to 70 and he was the top scorer in each of those partnerships which started off with Bell. They put on 51 for the second wicket until Bell was dismissed for 55 off 53 balls.
Gary Ballance then came and went for 18 whilst forming his countries third partnership of over 50. England were 190-3 when arguably England’s best One Day International batsman Eoin Morgan to the crease but it wasn’t long after that Stokes was walking back to the pavilion.
One all-rounder then replaced another as Ravi Bopara entered the crease but he couldn’t get going and was out for three which Buttler to the wicket at the score of 216-5 off 39 overs.
That was when England really upped the tempo with the wicket keeper producing a potentially match winning innings for the third time in the series after his previous knocks of 49 and 34 he began his onslaught on the bowling attack and ended with 71 off 43 balls which included four maximums and six boundaries.
He was out in the last over off the bowling of James Faulkner as he picked up the scalp of Bresnan in the next delivery to end with figures of 4-67 off his 10 overs. The
all-rounder also snaffled Morgan for a run a ball 33 to end the partnership with Buttler in the closing stages but it didn’t stop England posting an imposing score.
Australia then got their innings off to a flier, chasing 317 until Shaun Marsh was caught at second slip by Ian Bell off the bowling of Tim Bresnan to find the breakthrough at 46-1 off 6.5 overs. Wicketkeeper Matthew Wade was the next him but him along with captain George Bailey, Steven Smith and Glenn Maxwell failed to kick on after reaching double figures with tight bowling in the middle overs forcing the hosts into mistakes.
That meant there was no real support for opener Aaron Finch who batted magnificently on his way to his second century of the series before he was gone for 108 off 111 balls which gave England the upper hand.
Once again, Stokes was more than impressive and he backed up his crucial 70 runs with the bat by taking four wickets, including that of key man Faulkner for just two. The 22-year-old also dismissed Maxwell, Bailey and Mitchell Johnson to end with figures of 4-39 off his nine overs .
Dan Christian was another Australian to have his eye in before getting himself out, this time Stuart Broad had him caught at third man by Ballance before Bresnan picked up his third wicket of the match with Buttler catching his fifth of the match to dismiss James Pattinson to hand England a win and make the five game series 3-1 with the final game taking place at Adelaide on Sunday.
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