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Embattled England hit rock bottom in Adelaide

Published: Friday, January 26, 2007, 23:53 [IST]
 
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Adelaide:England's horror tour of Australia hit rock bottom when they were skittled out by the home side for just 110 in their triangular one-day series match at the Adelaide Oval here.

With fast bowler Mitchell Johnson ripping the heart from their batting line-up and claiming 4-44, the embattled English weren't even able to match their paltry score of 120 against New Zealand at the same venue on Tuesday.

It equalled England's fourth-lowest score in one-day internationals and continued their alarming recent trend of being unable to bat out their full complement of overs.

Interim England captain Andrew Flintoff chose to bat after winnng the toss and his side made a solid start to reach 2-72, with Ian Bell looking in his best form of the one-day series.

However, Bell's dismissal for 35 triggered another ugly collapse by the English, who lost their last eight wickets for 38 runs.

The English were embarrassingly inept at the crease and must simply be wishing their antipodean nightmare would come to a speedy end.

None more so than Flintoff, who hasn't had a single victory as captain on the tour and will be glad to hand the reins back to Michael Vaughan, who is expected to return from injury in England's next match.

Coach Duncan Fletcher will also be glad to see the back of Australia, with pressure mounting on his position with every on-field debacle.

Beaten 5-0 in the first Ashes clean sweep by the Australians in more than 80 years, the English have enjoyed just one win since arriving Down Under in early November -- a narrow one-day victory against New Zealand.

Should they lose the match to Australia, as seemed absolutely inevitable, they would have just eight wins in their last 32 one-day internationals as the World Cup looms.

Bell offered renewed hope for with some enterprising stroke-play, but once he fell the lack of fight from his teammates was telling.

Paul Collingwood and Paul Nixon provided two of the softest dismissals you could see, lobbing up simple catches from the part-time spin of Andrew Symonds and Brad Hogg (2-16) respectively.

Nixon's attempt to shield No.11 Monty Panesar was a comical failure and his record of 34 runs in five innings at 6.80 in his first international tournament must have other English wicketkeeper-batsmen scratching their heads.

At one stage, England lost 4-4 to slump to 9-107 as Johnson created havoc.

While Johnson was damaging, Brett Lee also continued his fine tri-series with 2-8 from eight overs.

Lee claimed the wickets of Mal Loye (9), a recent debutant whose technique appears to have been found out at international level, and Tuesday's top-scorer Ed Joyce (11).

To make matters worse for England, they were without opening bowlers James Anderson and Jon Lewis, the pair joining Vaughan and Kevin Pietersen on the injured list.

Brief Scores:

England 110 all out in 34.3 overs (Ian Bell 35, Strauss 17; Mitchell Johnson 4 for 45, Brett Lee 2 for 8, Brad Hodge 2 for 16) Vs Australia (yet to bat)

AFP

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