LONDON: Australia continued its recovery from the loss of the Ashes by beating England by 39 runs at Lord's on Sunday, taking a 2-0 lead in the seven-match one-day international series.
Australia continues to trump the home side in selection, tactics and execution of limited-overs cricket as England was again undone by its middle order.
Responding to Australia's 249 for eight wickets, England picked up the scoring rate slightly from the sluggish batting that resulted in Friday's four-run loss at The Oval, but Shane Watson's introduction into the attack heralded a spell of four wickets in 33 deliveries that derailed the chase.
Callum Ferguson had top-scored with 55 for Australia and Mitchell Johnson hit 43 from just 23 balls before Paul Collingwood simply ran out of support for his 56.
England delayed its batting powerplay far too long and Australia's pace bowlers wrapped up the tail to bowl out their opponents for 210.
"Chasing 249 on that wicket should have been quite easily attainable," England captain Andrew Strauss said.
"Losing wickets regularly put us under pressure. I just feel we were the architects of our own downfall."
Other than an opening stand of 74 between Ravi Bopara and Strauss, England's best partnership was 36 for the eighth wicket between Graeme Swann and Collingwood, who became the fifth Englishman after Alec Stewart, Marcus Trescothick, Graham Gooch and Allan Lamb to score 4,000 one-day runs.
Ferguson followed his man-of-the-match performance in Australia's series-opening victory with his 58-ball innings, while Johnson came in at No. 8 and helped the tourists add 80 from the last 10 overs.
"I enjoyed it out there today," Johnson said.
"I've been practicing in the nets and I thought today was the day to get it out. Callum's been batting very well in one-day cricket and it's always nice to be out there with a guy who knows what he's doing."
The teams now head to Southampton for the third game on Wednesday.
With Stuart Broad ruled out because of a neck injury, England made two changes to the team that had failed to muster sufficient aggression to chase a target of 261 at The Oval.
Strauss looked to have erred by putting Australia into bat after the tourists cruised to 53-0 from the first 12 overs, but Luke Wright's introduction into the attack heralded the loss of three wickets for 11 runs in just 27 balls.
Wright took an athletic catch to take a rising cover shot by Watson to dismiss the opener for 34 off the bowling of Tim Bresnan and then had Tim Paine caught by Eoin Morgan for 26 on the boundary in the following over.
Four overs later, captain Michael Clarke gloved a delivery from Wright to wicketkeeper Matthew Prior to leave his team wobbling at 73-3.
White and Ferguson steadied the innings with a 69-run fourth-wicket stand before Bopara got rid of White with his first ball.
Bopara only bowled 8.2 overs in his miserable Ashes series and didn't get the ball at all at The Oval but tempted White into a thin edge to Prior.
Michael Hussey followed three overs later when he was bowled by Swann for just 8. James Hopes added just 11 before Swann trapped him leg-before-wicket with a quicker delivery, so Ferguson and Johnson started hitting out with 22 from 16 deliveries.
Ferguson and Brett Lee both fell trying to heave at the ball but, with Nathan Bracken (10) alongside him, Johnson started hit five fours in an invaluable innings.
Bopara then failed again to build upon a solid start when he was out for 27 leg-before-wicket in Watson's first over, walking across a ball heading about halfway up middle stump. Prior then edged Watson to wicketkeeper Paine for 1.
Play was held up halfway through the 18th over when a Lancaster Bomber aircraft flew over to celebrate the 65th anniversary of cricket returning to Lord's after the ground's three-year stint as a World War II recruitment center for Britain's Royal Air Force - raising cheers from the crowd.
The hold up didn't stop wickets from falling. Strauss pushed a delivery by Nathan Hauritz straight back to him for a simple return catch and Owais Shah was run out for 12 after a mix up with Collingwood to leave England on 97-4.
Morgan, Wright and Bresnan were out to the pacemen as wickets kept falling, with Bracken getting rid of Swann and Ryan Sidebottom in a single over and Collingwood being bowled by Lee to round things off.
"We're really enjoying our cricket at the moment," Johnson said.
"Two-nil up is obviously a great start for us in the series. I'm enjoying getting the white ball in my hand again." - AP
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