By ANDY WILSON - ECB
NORTH Devon’s Dan Bowser slammed a unbeaten 93 to help England claim their third successive INAS tri-series title thanks to an eight-wicket win over Australia at Neston today (Monday).
England did not have things all their own way on an excellent pitch with a lightning fast outfield as the Australians posted 165 inside 38 overs.
Captain Chris Edwards claimed 3-24 from eight overs of seamers before anchoring the chase with 42 off 54 balls, securing himself the man-of-the-match award.
The Cheshire all-rounder shared 123 in 20 overs for the second wicket with Bowser, who finished with 93 not out from 87 balls, including 14 fours.
After the runs were knocked off with 9.4 overs to spare, Edwards said: “That’s a fantastic result for us.
“We’ve played really good cricket all week. To win the final is a great feeling, and all the work we’ve put into 40-over cricket has paid off.
“They got off to a flyer, but we pulled it back. It was a really good fightback.
“It was great to have a partnership with Dan - he’s been unbelievable all week.”
Bowser had already taken 108 and 84 not out off South Africa en-route to the final.
Bowled out for 47 in beating South Africa yesterday, Australia elected to bat and got off to a flying start thanks to openers Gavan Hicks and Boyd Duffield, who put on 83 inside 13 overs.
Duffield led the way and was strong square on both sides of the wicket with 46 off 41 balls before edging Edwards behind as the first of two wickets to fall in the 13th, with Haydn Brumm also caught behind by Jack Perry.
Duffield was the first of five wickets to fall for eleven runs as the score fell to 94-5 in the 20th, with Yorkshire medium pacer Alex Jervis bowling Brendan Westlake and David Alford.
Sandwiched in between, Edwards also had Brett Wilson lbw. Jervis finished with notable figures of 2-9 from his eight and was key in halting the early momentum. Edwards continued: “We decided to take pace off the ball, so I brought myself and Alex on. “Alex went unnoticed with his 2-9, but he gave them nothing. He’s bowled really well all week, and that was thoroughly deserved.”
Aussie captain Hicks top-scored with an impressive and measured 85-ball 77 with nine fours and a six.
He pulled a full toss from Bowser’s left-arm spin for six and reverse swept the same bowler for four, but no one could stay with him as wickets fell regularly, including two run outs. Lachlan MacRae was unlucky to fall backing up as Matt Browne got a finger end on a fierce Hicks drive.
Tayler Young, Ronnie Jackson and off-spinner Thomas Wilson all claimed a wicket apiece in an innings which saw only the openers hit boundaries.
England lost Jonny Gale caught behind off new ball seamer Wilson early in their chase.
But Edwards and Bowser managed to see off some tight bowling from Wilson and Brumm, his left-arm spinning new ball partner, to advance to 57-1 in the 15th over before Bowser was dropped on 16 by wicketkeeper Hicks off the latter.
It proved to be a hugely significant moment.
Bowser overtook Edwards in the late twenties shortly afterwards as he began to accelerate. By the time he reached 50 off 46 balls, England were 94-1 after 18 overs.
Edwards, meanwhile, was happy to play second fiddle, picking up the odd boundary and getting his partner back on strike.
There was a stage when left-handed Bowser was on for a second hundred of the series, but he fell just short.
Edwards was bowled by Daynah Hopkins with 19 needed in the 27th over. Bowser hit the winning runs in the 30th. Attentions turn to the Twenty20 series tomorrow when England play Australia and Australia face South Africa at Toft, starting at 12.30pm.