England punishes sloppy Australians

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Melbourne, Jan 16 (AFP) England capitalised on anotherhapless performance from Australia in the field to post animposing total in the one-day international at the MelbourneCricket Ground today.

In a summer where little has gone right for the hometeam, which was thrashed 3-1 in the Ashes by England, they hadno one else to blame but themselves as the tourists posted 294from 49.4 overs after winning the toss and electing to bat.

Kevin Pietersen led the way for England with 78 from 75balls, including three sixes.

It was England''s highest total in a one-day internationalagainst Australia in Australia, and also their highest at theMCG.

Just over a month before their World Cup defence, theAustralians dropped catches, missed stumpings, botched runouts and wickets from no-balls, as well as more than a dozenwides, in a calamitous display in the field.

The rot set in early for the home side when Steve Smithand Brett Lee somehow got in each other''s way at thenon-striker''s end to mess up an elementary run out to giveopener Steve Davies (42) a life before he had scored.

With England captain Andrew Strauss on 17, Lee thought hehad the left-hander caught on the boundary, only for a reviewcalled by umpire Bruce Oxenford to show it was a clearno-ball.

To rub salt into the wounds, Strauss, who went on to make63 from 65 balls, smashed the subsequent free hit for four.

Shane Watson then grassed Davies, when he was on 18, atshort cover, from the bowling of Lee before wicketkeeper BradHaddin squandered the first of three missed stumpings whenDavies was on 24 from the bowling of David Hussey.

The blunders enabled England to get off to a flyer, andthe visitors were 90-0 after 12 overs.

Haddin later missed another simple stumping when Strausswas on 48 and facing Xavier Doherty.

The New South Welshman made it a hat-trick of missedstumpings when he cost Hussey for a second time, withPietersen the beneficiary when on 37.

The belligerent Englishman made the Aussies payimmediately, lofting the unlucky Hussey for successive sixesto bring up his half-century and his team''s 200. (AFP)

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