| Nick Knight sweeps one en route to his unbeaten 111, which went in vain, against Australia at the Sydney Cricket Ground Friday. (Reuters)
Sydney: Matthew Hayden hammered 98 off 92 balls as Australia crushed England by seven wickets with five overs to spare in the opening match of a triangular limited-overs series on Friday.
Man-of-the-Match Hayden’s 101-run opening stand with Adam Gilchrist, who belted 53 from 50 deliveries, left the Australians in total control after Nick Knight made an unbeaten 111 in England’s total of 251 for eight at the Sydney Cricket Ground.
Damien Martyn finished on 46 not out while Darren Lehmann was unbeaten on 27 as Australia cruised to win, their eighth consecutive one-day win over England stretching back to 1999.
Knight made it through the entire England innings despite batting through the final few overs with a runner after suffering cramps. He put on 101 in 17 overs with Marcus Trescothick (60) for the opening wicket and shared in a 102-stand with Nasser Hussain for the third wicket before the middle-order collapsed.
Brett Lee was the best of the Australian bowlers, collecting four wickets, including two in two balls in the final over of the innings, while Lehmann claimed three with his left arm spin.
While England had managed a respectable total it soon became clear that it was unlikely to be enough as the Australians made light work of their run chase with the left-handed Hayden again leading the way.
“He’s in great nick and he’s got that sort of arrogance at the moment that he’s got nothing to lose,” Hussain said. “He’s got so many runs under his belt that he feels he can belt any ball anywhere...so we’re going to have to go back to the drawing board and have another look at him.”
Hayden and Gilchrist made a flying start as they brought up the first 50 in 6.1 overs before Gilchrist threw his wicket away with the total on 101.