By BV Swagath
England have taken a 2-0 lead in the NatWest Series against Australia after defeating the hosts by 6 wickets in the Second ODI at The Oval in London on Sunday. Ravi Bopara and Ian Bell scored fifties as England chased down Australia’s target of 252 comfortably with 26 balls to spare.
Batting first after winning the toss, Australia had a modest start of 66 for 2 in the 15th over. The innings didn’t seemed to be moving on at all and when a well set opener Shane Watson (66 from 80 balls with 8 fours) got dismissed by Graeme Swann, Australia slipped into trouble at 128 for 4 in the 32nd over.
Australia settled with a competitive total of 251 for 7 with George Bailey playing a crucial knock of 65 (from 86 balls with 7 fours). Brett Lee provided the finishing touches with a cameo of 20* from 11 balls with a six. For England, Steven Finn was fabulous with 1 for 36 in 9 overs while Ravi Bopara contributed usefully with a spell of 5-0-16-1.
England were nicely set in the run chase with Ian Bell (75 from 113 balls with 6 fours and a six) and Ravi Bopara (82 from 85 balls with 8 fours) putting up a partnership of 90 for the 3rd wicket. Bopara then went onto seal the match with a partnership of 79 with the in-form Eoin Morgan, who stayed unbeaten with 43 (from 40 balls with 5 fours). Bopara got the Man of the Match for his all-round efforts.