Australia all-rounder Glenn Maxwell took impressive figures of 3-10 and then made an unbeaten 58-ball century (103) as the hosts defeated touring England by five wickets in Twenty20 International action at the Blundstone Arena in Hobart.
This was the Aussies’ second victory of the T20 tri-series following their opening seven-wicket victory over neighbours New Zealand in Sydney via the Duckworth-Lewis-Stern method on February 3.
Maxwell, who had been dropped for the One Day International series which Australia lost 4-1 to England, proved his worth in limited overs cricket by first removing opposition captain Eoin Morgan for 22 midway through the tenth over. He was then involved in taking the fourth England wicket when catching Jos Buttler at mid-off from the bowling of Marcus Stoinis.
Later removing visiting top scorer Dawid Malan on 50 and David Willey in consecutive deliveries during the sixteenth over, with Aussie wicketkeeper Alex Carey on hand to stump the latter, Maxwell helped ensure an England mid-order collapse from 122-4 to 127-8. He bowled just two overs, but made a devastating impact.
Despite Maxwell’s exploits with the ball, the tourists set Australia a target of 156 to win this T20, though only half-centurion Malan spent more than half an hour at the crease and faced over 30 balls. His 50 included seven boundaries comprised of five fours and two sixes.
England opener Jason Roy was dismissed for nine – his third consecutive T20 score under 10 and his batting average in this form of cricket is in danger of slipping under 20. Despite that early departure less than two overs into the match at 16-1, the tourists were steadied by third man in Malan joining Alex Hales at the crease before Australia left-arm spinner Ashton Agar caught and bowled him for 22.
Agar later did likewise to Sam Billings as England mid-order wickets tumbled in and around three-quarters of the way through their 20-over innings. The tourists responded, however, when the Aussies came out to bat.
Yorkshire paceman Willey, who is now 7/4 favourite in the bet365 cricket betting on who will be best England bowler during the T20 tri-series, removed both Australia captain David Warner and Chris Lynn (for a duck) during their first over as the hosts got off to a terrible start. That left them 4-2, but number four batsman Maxwell then began his match-winning not-out score.
A 78-run partnership with D’Arcy Short followed before the Aussie opener was caught and bowled by the spin of Adil Rashid. Stoinis departed on just six when caught behind by England wicketkeeper Billings from a Mark Wood, leaving Australia 98-4.
On Maxwell went, however, despite Willey taking Travis Head as his third victim on six. An Australia win was sealed with nine balls remaining when the all-rounder smashed his fourth sixth and fourteenth boundary of the match.
England will do battle with their hosts again on February 10 in Melbourne at the MCG and then head over to New Zealand for at least two more Twenty20 Internationals at the Westpac Stadium in Wellington and the Hamilton. The tri-series final between the two best-performing countries takes place in Auckland on February 21.