| Andy Bichel jumps over the stumps after dismissing England’s James Anderson for a duck in the first final of the ODI tri-series in Sydney on Thursday. (Reuters)
Sydney: Australia needed less than 13 overs and barely an hour to overtake England’s total of 117 and beat the visitors by 10 wickets in the first of the best-of-three tri-series finals on Thursday.
Andy Bichel took four wickets and Brett Lee , adjudged Man of the Match , added three, including England’s openers in the first 15 balls.
Bichel took care of the tail to finish with four for 18 off seven overs while Brad Williams was two for 22. Shane Warne, returning from injury, took one for 28.Australia, in their quick reply of 118 for no loss in 12.2 overs, scored 20 runs in the fifth over and had a run rate of nearly 10 per over.
This was Australia’s second 10-wicket win in 522 one-day Internationals, their biggest one-day win over England and only the second time England have lost by that margin in 365 matches.
Australia’s batting assault from their two left-handed openers was also the fourth-quickest successful run-chase in one-day International history.
Adam Gilchrist, who earlier effected six dismissals — five catches and a stumping — scored 69 from 37 balls, including 14 boundaries, while fellow-opener Matthew Hayden hit 45 from 37.
Gilchrist and Hayden reached their century partnership in just 10.2 overs.
The highlight for Australia was Warne’s return with a confidence-boosting show. He took a wicket with the last ball of his spell and looked comfortable in his first International game since dislocating his shoulder in December.
He misfielded a couple and, on one occasion, rather than duplicate the sideways dive that led to his injury, he let the ball sail past just out of reach.
His wicket-taking ball was a leg-spinner which beat Paul Collingwood in the air and off the pitch and he was stumped by Adam Gilchrist for 43.
Lee got openers Marcus Trescothick (0) and Nick Knight (5) on catches to Gilchrist.Williams got rid of Nasser Hussain (1) when the England captain played on and then had Alec Stewart (12) caught behind. Bichel struck twice in one over, trapping Michael Vaughan (21) leg-before and then having Ian Blackwell (0) caught by Ricky Ponting at second slip. Lee returned to dismiss Ronnie Irani (10).
Collingwood was responsible for getting England to three figures — his 43 came of 71 balls and took nearly two hours. But he ensured England avoided being bowled out for less than 100 for the fifth time in its history.
The second final is on Saturday in Melbourne, with a third, if necessary, on Monday in Adelaide.