Carlton Mid ODI Tri-series Final: Glenn Maxwell powers Australia to 278/8 against England
Perth, Feb 1 (IANS) All-rounder Glenn Maxwell's highest One-Day International (ODI) score of 95 propelled Australia to 278 for eight in the ODI tri-series final against England at the WACA here on Sunday.
The all-rounder's first half-century since October bettered his 93-run effort against Zimbabwe last August, helping Australia recover from a poor start with the help of Mitchell Marsh (60 off 67).
The pair combined to score 141 runs to resurrect the home side's innings from 60 for four after James Anderson (2-38) struck twice with the new ball.
Stuart Broad finished with three for 55 to be the pick of English bowlers; however, a late cameo from James Faulkner, who cracked 50 from only 24 balls, spoiled the party for the visitors.
England captain Eoin Morgan's decision to bowl first was vindicated when Anderson's perfect outswinger removed Aaron Finch, caught by Joe Root at first slip for a third-ball duck.
A flurry of crisp boundaries from Steve Smith and David Warner hampered England's progress, but Anderson struck again to dismiss the latter for 12 at point to have Australia 33 for two.
It took 16 balls for skipper George Bailey to get off the mark, but the run scoring ended next ball when Broad's strategically placed bat-pad fielder gobbled an easy catch to give England their third Australian scalp.
But while the visiting seamers made scoring difficult for the hosts, Smith's sublime form let him craft singles from all angles, crashing fours behind point and straight down the ground to make batting look easy.
So, Morgan turned to the spin of Moeen Ali to halt Smith's charge. Four balls into his first over, Ali had Smith advancing and missing, and not even a fumble from wicket-keeper Jos Buttler could save the set batsman.
With Smith walking off the ground with 40 of the 60 runs scored, there was a reason for Australian fans to panic, but the young duo of Maxwell and Marsh calmed fears with orthodox, mature stroke play.
But the lure of a maiden hundred in a single blow was too much for the Victorian, falling five short after top edging Broad to Buttler. With Maxwell gone, the power game was suitably left to Marsh.
Two muscular boundaries either side of the wicket promised a score close to 300, but when Brad Haddin's call for a second found the all-rounder short of his ground at the non-striker's end via a relay throw, the projected total dropped significantly.
But Faulkner picked up the slack, pummelling Chris Woakes for 24 runs off the penultimate over before hitting the last ball of the innings for six to raise his fifty and leave the field with the momentum.