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Late collapse hands England tense win in first T20

Batting stumble of 4-9 from Australia hands England a nail-biting two-run victory in the first T20 in Southampton
Australia lose by two runs in international return

A dramatic late batting collapse of four wickets in 14 balls has seen Australia slump to a two-run loss against England in Southampton, their first international match since the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic in March.

At one stage in their pursuit of 163 to win, Australia needed just 40 runs to win from 39 balls with nine wickets in hand after David Warner and Aaron Finch had added 98 for the first wicket.

But the tourists lost 4-9 in less than three overs to hand all the responsibility to the recalled Marcus Stoinis (23no from 18 balls), who muscled one six late on but couldn't secure the 15 runs required in the final over for victory.

Australia managed just one boundary in the final six overs - the six from Stoinis with five balls remaining - and conceded eight dot balls in that time as well as losing five wickets.

'Genius captaincy': Finch's 'cunning plan' pays off

It's only Australia's second loss from their past 11 T20 internationals, with the other defeat coming after a similar late collapse against South Africa in Port Elizabeth in Feburary.

Australia's bowlers had earlier overcome an early assault from Jos Butter (44 from 29 balls) and an impressive innings from Dawid Malan (66 from 43) to restrict England to 7-162 from their 20 overs.

Played in a tightly-controlled biosecure hub at the Ageas Bowl on England's south coast, the match is the first time a senior Australian national sporting team has played since the coronavirus outbreak.

But Australia's openers showed no signs of rust, the pair of Warner and Finch falling just short of what would have been their fourth century stand from just 11 white-ball internationals this year.

Adil Rashid loomed as England's trump card on a pitch that seemed to favour slower bowlers, but Finch neutralised the leg-spinner by clubbing 17 runs from his second over, forcing him out of the attack as Australia reached 0-91 by the halfway stage of the innings.

But Eoin Morgan's enforced bowling change brought Jofra Archer back into the attack and the speedster got the breakthrough, ruffling up Finch with a short ball before the opener tried to go over the top and offered a catch to mid-off.

It triggered a dramatic stumble that saw Steve Smith (who hit his first delivery, a 155kp/h short ball from Mark Wood, for four), Glenn Maxwell, Warner and Alex Carey all dismissed in the space of just 14 deliveries, with Rashid responding to Finch's attack by finishing with 2-29 from his four overs.

And when some smart work from Chris Jordan ran out Ashton Agar from the final ball of the penultimate over, it was left to Stoinis to finish the job.

'Village' cricket comes to the international stage

Back in the Australian side for the first time since last year's World Cup, Stoinis was batting away from his familiar opening slot and while he managed one mighty six in the final over, Australia fell just short of victory.

Earlier, England's innings was bookended by two surges in the run rate, but the Australian bowlers dominated the middle overs in another impressive display with the ball.

After Jos Buttler had given England a fast start – including 16 runs from the second over as the move to open with Agar backfired – Australia pulled back the run rate before the wickets started to tumble.

Agar (2-32) fought back impressively to dismiss Buttler and Tom Banton in consecutive overs before Maxwell, playing his first international match since November, made two crucial strikes of his own to give Australia the upper hand.

Skipper Finch played a major role in the fightback; he took an excellent running catch to dismiss Banton, targeted Morgan with a combination of short-pitched bowling and off-spin and rotated his bowlers nicely as it became clear that taking pace off the ball was the prudent approach.

But the match turned in a pivotal 18th over; Finch chose to give Adam Zampa a fourth over instead of turning to Cummins or Maxwell and Malan took full toll, helping England club 22 runs to turn what could have been a sub-150 target into a total of 7-162.

England XI: Jos Buttler (wk), Jonny Bairstow, Dawid Malan, Tom Banton, Eoin Morgan (c), Moeen Ali, Chris Jordan, Tom Curran, Jofra Archer, Mark Wood, Adil Rashid

Australia XI: David Warner, Aaron Finch (c), Steve Smith, Glenn Maxwell, Alex Carey (wk), Marcus Stoinis, Ashton Agar, Pat Cummins, Mitchell Starc, Kane Richardson, Adam Zampa

2020 Tour of England

Australia's T20 and ODI squad: Aaron Finch (c), Sean Abbott, Ashton Agar, Alex Carey, Pat Cummins, Josh Hazlewood, Marnus Labuschagne, Nathan Lyon, Mitchell Marsh, Glenn Maxwell, Riley Meredith, Josh Philippe, Daniel Sams, Kane Richardson, Steven Smith, Mitchell Starc, Marcus Stoinis, Andrew Tye, Matthew Wade, David Warner, Adam Zampa

England T20I squad: Eoin Morgan (c), Moeen Ali, Jofra Archer, Jonathan Bairstow, Tom Banton, Sam Billings, Jos Buttler, Sam Curran, Tom Curran, Joe Denly, Chris Jordan, Dawid Malan, Adil Rashid, Mark Wood. Reserves: Liam Livingstone, Saqib Mahmood

England ODI squad: Eoin Morgan (c), Moeen Ali, Jofra Archer, Jonathan Bairstow, Tom Banton, Sam Billings, Jos Buttler, Sam Curran, Tom Curran, Adil Rashid, Joe Root, Chris Woakes, Mark Wood. Reserves: Joe Denly, Saqib Mahmood

First T20: England won by two runs

September 6: 2nd T20, Southampton, 11.15pm AEST

September 8: 3rd T20, Southampton, 3am AEST Sept 9

September 11: 1st ODI, Old Trafford, 10pm AEST

September 13: 2nd ODI, Old Trafford, 10pm AEST

September 16: 3rd ODI, Old Trafford, 10pm AEST

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