Australia beat England by 13 runs in Hobart to take a 1-0 lead in the three game T20 series, despite a superb record breaking innings from Ravi Bopara.
After winning the toss and batting first, George Bailey’s side set an imposing total of 213-4 at the Blundstone Arena against a side that omitted star of the winter Ben Stokes.
Alex Hales, Michael Lumb, Luke Wright, Jade Dernbach and Danny Briggs all made the side with mixed success with bat and ball as Australia earned a deserved victory.
Openers Aaron Finch and Cameron White got off to a flier and reached a partnership of 106 off over 10 overs before Finch was dismissed for 52 off 31 balls.
White then continued the onslaught as England’s bowlers, except Stuart Broad struggled to keep the run-rate down but it wasn’t too long until all-rounder Wright trapped the opener in front of the wicket for 75 with an impressive strike rate of 175 which left the score at 134-2 off 12.5.
At that stage anything above 220 looked likely so England did fairly well to recover things despite Glen Maxwell and debutant Chris Lynn scoring 57 between them at considerably more than a run a ball.
Captain Bailey also came and went for 14, with Dernbach picking up a wicket in his first competitive game of cricket since September, he finished with figures of 1-50 off his four overs.
Young spinner Briggs struggled more than anybody as he returned stats of four overs for 53 runs without any joy as the Australian batsmen enjoyed their time in the middle to set England 214 for victory.
The tourists lost Lumb in the second over which brought Wright to the crease to join the number one ranked t20 batsmen in the world, Hales. They both tried to create some momentum, especially Hales who hit five boundaries in his short innings as Moises Henriques removed the pair in the fourth over.
Eoin Morgan then only lost four balls before Maxwell bowled the powerful left hander to leave England struggling at 51-4 and in truth never recovered, despite the best efforts of Joe Root and Jos Buttler.
Root reached 32 while Buttler hit 20 in a lost cause for England. However, star of the show for England was Bopara after he hit a magnificent 65 not out and in the process became the quickest Englishman to reach a half century in T20 cricket.
With the wickets of Root, Tim Bresnan, Broad and Dernbach all falling around him he continued to smash the Australian bowlers around the park to take Broad’s men to 200-9 to fall 14 runs short of victory.
England now know they have to win in Melbourne on Friday if they are to stand a chance of winning the three game T20 series before the final match of the tour at the SCG on Sunday.
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