Australia v England 2nd ODI result: Steve Smith leads the Aussies to unassailable lead in series

Australia have taken an unassailable 2-0 lead in their three-match ODI series against England thanks to a brilliant knock from Steve Smith, who fell agonisingly short of notching a century, and some quality bowling from Mitchell Starc at the SCG. 

The Aussies built a strong total of 280 with Smith ably supported by Marnus Labuschagne and Mitchell Marsh, before Adam Zampa and Starc – who claimed man-of-the-match honours – combined to guide their side to a 72-run win.

Captain Josh Hazlewood leads side to dominant victory 

Josh Hazlewood somewhat surprisingly strolled out to the middle, taking over the captaincy from Pat Cummins who was rested for the clash.

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Australia’s 28th ODI captain won the toss and elected to bat and after their starring role in the first match, David Warner and Travis Head appeared to be ready to start where they left off in Adelaide.

The openers set about building a solid foundation for the innings, until England’s own stand-in skipper for the night, Moeen Ali, brought himself into the attack during a powerplay.

The move immediately paid dividends when Warner slogged one straight to Liam Dawson at deep mid-wicket, reducing the hosts to 1-33 early on.

Warner and Head had piled on 147 runs in the first match, but the Aussies found themselves in a completely different position by being two wickets down inside the first 10 overs, when the returning Chris Woakes lured Head into making a mistimed pull shot.

Although Labuschagne seemed unconcerned with the predicament when he smashed a six off the second delivery he faced.

That shot illustrated the attacking mind frame the batsmen was in. He smacked 58 off 55 balls, before falling to a clever delivery from Adil Rashid who ended up with figures of 3-57.

“It was the side-spinner, highly intelligent bowling from Rashid,” Kerry O’Keefe said in commentary.

Alex Carey came to the crease but was dismissed for a duck due to some quick work from Sam Billings, who stumped him after he attempted a sweep shot. Marsh just about managing to avoid becoming the victim of a hat-trick from Rashid in the next ball. 

Steve Smith in impressive form but fails to notch century 

Smith anchored the innings with key partnerships with Labuschagne and Marsh, while finishing with a healthy strike rate of 82. 

The former Test skipper cracked a number of boundaries back-to-back as he narrowed in on another century, only to fail to do so when he was caught on the rope for 94, while attempting to bring up his hundred with a six.

It was the sixth time Rashid has dismissed Smith, which is comfortably more than any other bowler in the world.

Smith’s departure meant Marsh took on the onus to pump up the total in the final five overs, but England dried up the scoring with some tidy bowling, claiming the wickets of Marcus Stonis, Starc and Marsh.

Although, due to the solid display from the middle order, Australia were still able to post a healthy score of 280.

Mitchell Starc sets the tone with devastating first spell 

Things looked bleak for England in response when Starc – who finished with figures of 4-47 – skittled the English top-order with the scalps of Jason Roy and Dawid Malan in the first over.

The centurion from the first test in Adelaide removed with a peach of a delivery after the bowler had beaten the outside edge on two occasions beforehand.

“That could well be his finest first over in ODI cricket,” O’Keeffe said in commentary.

The stand-in skipper Hazlewood then got in on the act when he clean-bowled Phil Salt who was looking to launch him, leaving the visitors in plenty of trouble at 3-34.

James Vince and Billings made a 122-run stand in the middle of the innings to worry the Aussies and lead the fightback, but Hazlewood claimed the game-changing wicket of Vince when he trapped the Englishman lbw in the midst of a wild shot. 

Vince’s dismissal killed all the momentum the tourists had managed to wrestle back from the hosts and triggered another collapse with Ali going for 10 runs and then Billings following him to the pavilion having scored 71 off 80.

Adam Zampa caused havoc with a double wicket maiden to get rid of Billings and Sam Curran for a duck, as England lost 7-52 to end up well short in their chase, slipping to their third consecutive ODI series defeat. 

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