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Wade Sparks First-up Win for Aussies

A Matthew Wade special with the bat has proven invaluable as Australia claimed the first one-day international against England by 59 runs.

Wade’s fantastic rear-guard knock of 71 not out from 50 balls rescued Australia from dire straits after a collapse of 4-29 left the tourists teetering at 6-193 in the 37th over.

But an unbeaten 112-run stand between Wade and Mitchell Marsh (40no) propelled the world champions to 6-305 from 50 overs.

“I knew that we had to get it as deep as we could,” Wade said on the state of the game when he walked out to bat.

“Obviously Mitch Marsh is a terrific hitter at the end so I was just trying to build a partnership with him, hit the gaps and run as hard as we could.

“It’s a pretty big ground, plays a little bit like the MCG, so I just knew I had to hit the balls into the gaps and run as hard as I could and hopefully Mitch was going to be there at the end to clear the boundary.

“Luckily enough we were both there. There wasn’t a lot of sixes hit but we built a nice partnership together.”

Australia’s bowlers rebounded from a shaky start with the new ball to derail England’s pursuit through the middle overs with disciplined bowling as Shane Watson (2-39) proved he’s not a spent force in international cricket with two crucial wickets.

Nathan Coulter-Nile (2-39), Pat Cummins (2-48) Mitchell Starc (2-55) joined Watson with two wickets each as England were bowled out for 246 with 27 balls remaining.

The teams now head to Lord’s for the second ODI of this five-match series on Friday.

Australia opted for an all-out pace attack while England welcomed Moeen Ali back into the ODI fold for the first time since the World Cup in February and March, opting for spin over seam on the expansive Ageas Bowl playing surface.

Early selection honours went to the hosts when Adil Rashid’s leg-spin claimed the first four wickets to fall in Australia’s innings after the tourists won the toss and elected to bat.

David Warner (59) and Joe Burns (44) combined for a solid 76 in their second stint as an opening combination before Rashid spun a web to first remove the Queenslander with a low full toss and then his NSW ally via a leaping googly.

Like Burns, Steve Smith (44) was undone by a dying full toss before Bailey was trapped plumb in front by a skidding leg-break to hand Rashid (4-49) his best ODI bowling figures.

More drama followed for the tourists when Glenn Maxwell (15) strangled down the leg-side and Watson’s poor run of luck with the bat continued – run out for six by a dicey call from Wade.

Perhaps he was atoning for the run-out of Watson or simply performing his duty as a lower-order hitter, whatever the reason, Wade was outstanding in the dying stages in tandem with a subdued Marsh.

He cut, pulled, glided and lapped boundaries as the pair put on the highest seventh-wicket partnership for Australia against England in ODI history, with man-of-the-match Wade owning 70 of the runs when their 100-run stand was raised.

Marsh finished off the innings with a towering six off the penultimate delivery, leaving England 306 to win – the same score the Black Caps made to beat the home side in Southampton earlier this winter.

England started their inning in the same vein as their opponents, attacking the new ball and hitting world No.1 bowler Mitchell Starc for 29 off his initial three-over spell.

Marsh claimed five wickets against England the last time the two sides met on the opening day of the World Cup, and here he got the much needed breakthrough when Alex Hales (22) found Watson at midwicket.

Jason Roy (67) was playing Australia’s hostile pace battery with ease, so Smith changed things up and brought Maxwell into the attack with immediate reward as the opener sliced the allrounder to Warner at point.

Maxwell’s introduction changed the course of the game, slowing the speed of play down as Australia applied the pressure with astute field settings and controlled bowling to match.

Diminutive first-drop James Taylor (49) added a spark to the run chase, but when he advanced to Watson one too many times he lost his stumps, his wicket and earned a deathly glare from the bowler.

With the match in the balance Smith recalled his premier fast bowler and he delivered, removing the dangerous Ben Stokes (13) while conceding only six from his second three-over stint.

As the dots built up so did the required run rate, and despite his best efforts to dig his team out of a hole, Eoin Morgan was outsmarted by a surprise Watson short ball to go for 38.

Nathan Coulter-Nile (2-39) then claimed two-in-two as Australia’s momentum and speedsters ran through the tail to make it eight straight ODI wins.

“They are a very strong side,” Morgan said.

“We’ll have to play really well to beat them, and we didn’t do enough here today.

“I think down the line this is going to be a big part of our learning curve.

“Probably in a year’s time, we’ll be expected to chase that down more often than not – especially with that sort of a start.”

See Wade in action here: http://bcove.me/l555ginx

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