Captain Eoin Morgan hailed Jofra Archer and Chris Woakes as England’s aces in the pack after they set in motion an incredible comeback victory in the second one-day international against Australia.
England were staring at the prospect of two defeats in 72 hours to their old rivals, not to mention a first series loss at home since 2015, when the pace pair produced a game-changing spell that laid the way for an unlikely 24-run win.
- England stun Australia to level series
- Second ODI scorecard
Hurried back into the attack earlier than planned with Australia cruising towards a modest target of 232, the strike duo combined to take four wickets in the space of 21 balls at a cost of just three runs.
Woakes took out two well-established batsmen in Marnus Labushagne (48) and Aaron Finch (73) as well as the dangerous Glenn Maxwell, with Archer keeping up the pressure by cleaning up the in-form Mitch Marsh.
He had earlier made vital breakthroughs during a fiercely hostile blast with the new ball, dismissing David Warner for the fourth innings in a row and forcing Marcus Stoinis into a panicked exit.
Australia eventually subsided for 207 in the 49th over, leaving Morgan to reflect on the profitable gamble he made by tinkering with the usual blueprint.
“Jofra is obviously an ace and so is Woakesy. It’s our strongest suit,” he said after his side tied the series 1-1 at Emirates Old Trafford.
“You like to bowl them in the most important parts of the game and I felt at the time I brought them back that was the most important part because the game was edging away from us.
“I think it was getting to a stage where we needed to make a move. Finch and Marnus made it look easier than it was. So I threw everything at it and the guys bowled unbelievably well. For Jof and Woaksey to come back like that was outstanding. When they bowl like that they make the captain look good.
“Australia didn’t make too many mistakes. It was lbws and bowled – it either nipped or swung back. That’s a bowler getting a batsmen out. When you make inroads like that it sends quite a big message for the guys coming in about how difficult it is out there.”
Tom and Sam Curran played admirable supporting roles having been recalled together in place of Moeen Ali and Mark Wood. Tom shared a crucial ninth-wicket stand of 76 with Adil Rashid to give England a competitive total, and was his side’s most economical bowler.
Sam, meanwhile, took three lower-order wickets in an unfamiliar role at the death.
“This might be underselling them but it’s the truth. Every time they come in there is a level of competitiveness that is more visual than any other player – that’s the character of the Curran brothers.” said Morgan.
Australia’s Pat Cummins admitted he was struggling to process his side’s collapse, but felt much of the damage came in England’s late rally with the bat.
“It’s a tough one to get your head around. I thought we bowled really well and then let them off the hook,” he said.
“We could have kept them under 200 or 180, so we gave them an extra 40 or 50 runs. We were obviously really happy when Aaron and Marnus were going along nicely but I heard the commentators say ‘they’re going along beautifully, they’re walking it home’.
“None of us were thinking that. We knew the last 80 or 90 runs were going to be hard work on that wicket. But it was a tough finish in the end.”
Watch the series-deciding third ODI between England and Australia on Sky Sports Cricket from 12.30pm on Wednesday.
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