Australia beats England by 5 wickets in T20 Tri-Series

HOBART, Australia (AP) Glenn Maxwell made an unbeaten 103 and took 3-10 as Australia beat England by five wickets in a tri-series Twenty20 cricket international Wednesday played on a turning pitch at Bellerive Oval.

Maxwell hit a six from Mark Wood’s bowling with the scores tied to go from 97 to 103 and to carry Australia to 161-5 in reply to England’s 155-9, a win with nine balls remaining. It was the lowest team total in which a player has scored a century in T20 internationals.

As Australia closed on its winning total, Maxwell faced a tight equation if he was to reach his second century in T20 internationals. He was 83 not out when Australia still needed 17 runs to win, effectively having to score all of those runs to reach three figures.

At the start of the 19th over, Australia needed two runs to win and Maxwell needed three runs for his century. His last partner, Alex Carey, took a single from the first ball to feed Maxwell the strike and after failing to pierce an umbrella field at his first attempt he clubbed the third into the stand to complete his hundred and the win.

”It was nice to get one over the rope and finish the job and for us to start this series the way we have has been outstanding,” Maxwell said. ”We haven’t had a lot of success in T20 cricket for the last few years so to start so well is good for us.

”It was only when I realized I was back on strike. I told Carey to get a two from the first ball of the last over because I didn’t have much left but he just gloved one and said `there you go mate, good luck’.”

After being contentiously omitted from Australia’s team for the one-day international series which England won 4-1, Maxwell re-emphasized his allround value in the shortest format with his second consecutive match-winning performance. He scored an unbeaten 40 in the first match of the series on Saturday to guide Australia to a seven wicket win over New Zealand and helped it Wednesday continue an unbeaten start to the series.

”Obviously missing out on the one-day squad and not playing any part in the Ashes (test series) I wasn’t where I wanted to be this summer,” Maxwell said. ”That was obviously where I wanted to be this summer and to miss out there I obviously had a lot of work to do away behind the scenes. I felt like I’ve gone away, done that and got myself back in the Aussie colors.”

Maxwell first combined with fellow spinner Ashton Agar (2-15) to halt the rapid start England made to its innings and to set in motion a collapse which saw England lose 7-43 in the second half of its innings to finish its 20 overs at 155-9.

He then helped Australia recover from the loss of David Warner and Chris Lynn in David Willey’s opening over, sharing a 78-run third wicket partnership with D’Arcy Short (30), and paced the remainder of the run chase to see Australia home.

It was with the ball that Maxwell first changed the course of the match, turning it in the home team’s favor.

England had raced to 94-2 by the 10th over and was on course for a score approaching 200 before Maxwell and Agar, who both found turn and bounce, took apart the England middle order in a period of just over nine overs.

Agar took catches off his own bowling to remove Alex Hales (22) and Sam Billings (10).

Maxwell stepped in to end the innings of Dawid Malan, who was England’s top scorer with 50 – his second T20 international half century. He dismissed England captain Eoin Morgan (22) and David Willey (3), stumped by wicketkeeper Alex Carey from a ball which gripped, bounced and turned. Maxwell also took a catch from the bowling of Marcus Stoinis to remove Jos Buttler (5).

At the height of the collapse England lost six for 33 between the 10th and 16th overs.

”I thought we got off to a reasonable start especially in the first six overs and the guys countered what Australia had to offer really well.” Morgan said. ”We played pretty well on a pretty good surface, we thought.

”But that 6-30 or whatever it was really cost us.”

Willey gave England hope when he removed Warner and Lynn in the first over of the Australian innings, leaving it 4-2. But the partnership between Maxwell and Short repaired the innings. At one point Short had scored 28 from 13 balls and Maxwell 11 from the same number of deliveries.

But when the power play was over Maxwell steadily accelerated and overtook his partner, reaching a half century from 30 balls. He had some luck, being dropped by Alex Hales of Tom Curran when he was 40 and then winning the benefit of the doubt from the third umpire when he appeared to be caught by Jason Roy off Adil Rashid at 59.