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Woakes and Archer set up Australia collapse and an unlikely win for England | Sport


Eoin Morgan hailed the aces in his bowling pack after a thrilling fightback at Old Trafford that saw Australia blow their chance to wrap up the ODI series and instead set up a decider on Wednesday.

Set 232 to win after suffocating England on a reused pitch, Australia looked to be motoring home when Aaron Finch (73) and Marnus Labuschagne (48) reached 144 for two in the 31st over with some gum-chewing dominance along the way.

But Morgan, with his side’s five-year unbeaten home record in bilateral series slipping away, turned back to his thoroughbreds in Chris Woakes and Jofra Archer and was rewarded with a game-breaking burst of four wickets in 21 balls.

Woakes was immaculate, trapping Labuschagne lbw on review and bowling both Finch and Glenn Maxwell, while Archer continued the menace from his two-wicket opening gambit when Mitchell Marsh chopped on. Had supporters been present, a good number would have been dashing back from the tram stop.

This jaw-dropping intervention meant both men bowling out their overs – Woakes finishing with three for 32 from his 10, Archer three for 34 – and left Australia needing 85 from 95 balls, with Alex Carey the last recognised batsman.

The wicketkeeper could only look on as Sam Curran, selected ahead of Moeen Ali and required to close out the game, dismissed Pat Cummins and Mitchell Starc in successive deliveries and then fooled Adam Zampa with a slower ball.

With the No 11 Josh Hazlewood for company and the rate rising, Carey had to go for broke but in the penultimate over was stumped off Adil Rashid for 36. Australia were all out for 207 to lose by 24 runs and the world champions were back in the series.

“I threw everything at it,” said Morgan. “The guys bowled unbelievably well. For them to come back like that is outstanding. Jofra is an ace, Woakesy too. You bowl them in the most important parts of the game and I felt at the time that was the most important part because the game was edging away from us.”

That England even had a sniff at the halfway stage owed much to a 76-run ninth-wicket stand between Rashid (35no) and Tom Curran (37), the pair finding unusual gaps – the former even pulling Cummins for six – to help post 231 for nine.

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Joe Root is usually a decent gauge of how a surface is playing and here he struggled to rotate the strike; indeed after Jonny Bairstow edged Starc behind for a duck, Root’s desperation for a rare single saw Jason Roy run out by a sparkling throw from Marcus Stoinis at cover to see England 29 for two in the seventh over.

For the second match running Australia crackled with the ball and prowled in the field and so while Root and Morgan were able to steady the ship in a stand of 61 from 15 overs, it was hard going in the main and the pressure scarcely eased.

It eventually told when Zampa sparked the loss of six wickets for 59 by teasing an edge to slip off Root on 39. The leg-spinner outbowled his opposite number, Rashid, with figures of three for 36, trapping Morgan lbw for 42 – a successful review met by a roar from the tourists – and bowling Sam Billings for eight.

In between Zampa’s first two strikes came the loss of Jos Buttler, lbw to Cummins, while Sam Curran edged Starc behind for one. Woakes played a typically tidy hand but when Hazlewood found his edge on 26, England sat at a grim 149 for eight in the 41st over.

The late rally stuck something resembling a total on the board and early hopes of a fightback were raised when Archer scorched through David Warner and Stoinis to continue a personal white-ball summer that sits in contrast to that with the red.

Neither could handle his pace – Warner edging behind, Stoinis getting in a tangle against a fizzing short ball and skying a second catch to Buttler – but with Archer’s overs limited and Mark Wood absent, Finch and Labuschagne knew relief was imminent and waited to attack others.

Rashid took punishment from Finch in particular, his first three overs taken for 27, with every blow reminding Morgan he could have run him out off the third ball of the innings, only to begin a feature of England’s fielding by missing the stumps.

All the chase required was for Finch and Labuschagne to keep playing the percentages and a stand of 107 in 23 overs met the brief. But when Morgan reached for his aces in Archer and Woakes, suddenly the zing bails began lighting up like it was Christmas in Manchester.

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