England hammer Australia in their Champions Trophy opener

Birmingham, June 8 (IANS) England made an empathic start to their Champions Trophy campaign by dispatching arch-rivals Australia in a Group A game at Edgbaston here Saturday.

Ian Bell (91) anchored England to 269 for six before the hosts’ bowlers did a commendable job to stop Australia at 221 for nine in 50 overs. Speedster James Anderson struck thrice and surpassed Darren Gough to become England’s leading wicket-taker in One-day Internationals.

The Australian batting crumbled in the chase with the exception of their captain George Bailey (55). Australia had to lost to India in a warm-up match Tuesday after being bowled out for 65.

The chase for Australia was always going to be tough after their dangerous opening pair of Shane Watson (24) and David Warner (9) failed to fire.

England bowled with discipline and put pressure on a struggling Australian batting unit.

Bailey fought hard but eventually ran out of partners.

Anderson’s burst in the middle overs left Australia reeling.

He broke Gough’s record by having Mitchell Marsh caught at point on the first ball of the 36th over before getting rid of Matthew Wade five balls later. Australia were now 135 for six, needing another 134 off 84 balls.

Australia looked down and out as Anderson castled Mitchell Starc’s stumps to make it 190 for nine. His spell highlighted how he made the ball talk even in batting friendly conditions.

With the match out of reach, Australia’s James Faulkner (54) entertained the crowd enroute his maiden ODI fifty.

Tim Bresnan also bowled well, conceding 32 runs and striking twice in nine overs.

Earlier, Bell steered England to a competitive total with the other contributions coming from Jonathan Trott (43) and Ravi Bopara (46 off 37).

The 111-run second wicket stand between Bell and Trott came off 132 balls, proving to be the fulcrum of the innings.

Both scored runs at a strike rate shade less than 80 and relied on quick running between the wickets.

Bell’s 115 ball effort comprised seven fours while Trott hit only one shot beyond the ropes.

The big hitting was done by Bopara and Bresnan (19) in the death overs. The all-rounder smashed three boundaries and a maximum in his 37 ball cameo.

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