England coast to eighth straight win

Daily Echo: Ravi Bopara (pictured) and Ian Bell shared a stand of 90 in England's victory over Australia Ravi Bopara (pictured) and Ian Bell shared a stand of 90 in England's victory over Australia

England coasted to their eighth successive one-day international victory, to go 2-0 up against Australia after recording a six-wicket victory with more than four overs to spare in the NatWest Series.

Ravi Bopara (82) and Ian Bell (75) shared a stand of 90 at The Oval as England's batsmen consolidated an effective performance from their bowlers. Bell, a revelation at the top of the order since his ODI recall last month, brought up his 50 in 71 balls and Bopara was more fluent still on a good batting surface in a chanceless half-century from only 54 deliveries.

The outcome was rarely in the remotest doubt, though, once Australia's innings stalled in the middle overs. Opener Shane Watson's half-century had hinted at much better than 251 for seven, after Michael Clarke won the toss.

Watson (66) reached 50 with his eighth four at a run a ball but took another 30 over his last 14 runs, before George Bailey cashed in his lengthy reconnaissance in a career-best 65.

England's reply did not need to be much more than competent, all the more so after a wayward first two overs with the new ball from Mitchell Johnson set up the chase.

Alastair Cook was lbw pushing forward to first change Clint McKay, and Jonathan Trott bowled off an inside-edge as he advanced to Watson.

But Bell made few mistakes as he continued his prolific form since replacing the retired Kevin Pietersen.

Matthew Wade dropped him on 38, standing up to Watson. But after David Warner did likewise at point at the start of Brett Lee's second spell, Bell could add only another five runs before being bowled when he missed a cut at the first delivery from Clarke.

Eoin Morgan was saved by DRS, and the faintest of inside edges according to Hostpot, when Clarke - and umpire Richard Illingworth, initially - thought he was gone lbw for a second-ball duck.

That moment of controversy passed, England continued seamless progress to a routine and impressive win - and the only shame was that Bopara managed to run himself out two runs short of the finish line.

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