After six years, Brad Hodge is back in 'Green and Gold' at the MCG. Picture: Michael Klein/heraldsun.com.au
Australia can wrap-up the T20 series with victory over England in game two at the MCG and local boy Brad Hodge wants to be part of it. At 39, Hodge has been called into the Aussie squad to replace Moises Henriques who has joined the Test players in South Africa.
It’s been six years since Hodge played for Australia and that was in a Test in Jamaica. But the world’s most successful Twenty20 batsman has proven his worth in this format. In his 21 IPL and Champions League matches last year, the nuggetty Victorian was not out in more than half his innings, averaging 55.86 at a strike rate of 148.11. Overall, he is the leading scorer in cricket’s shortest format with 5844 runs at 36.98 in 209 matches. Last start at the ‘G’, the veteran spanked 61 for the Melbourne Stars against fellow Big Bash finalist the Perth Scorchers on Monday. Hodge was digging holes at home when he got the call from selectors, now he hopes to be clearing pickets in green and gold again.
Another Star, Cameron White , is hoping to continue his form from game one. Opening the innings with Aaron Finch, White made 75 off 43 balls and was named man of the match. Queenslander Chris Lynn also impressed in the 13-run win at Blundstone Arena with 33 not out off 19 balls in his international debut. Finch added to his two ODI hundreds with 52 off 31 balls and again looms as a key at the top of the order.
England did a solid job chasing a record 214 for victory. Ravi Bopara’s late rally (65n.o. off 27 balls) was not only entertaining, but promising for the tourists. The all-rounder blasted 7 sixes and proved England can take apart an attack. After a horror tour, Joe Root’s knock of 32 was encouraging. But the visitors would love more meaningful contributions from Alex Hales and Luke Wright. Playing for the Stars in BBL03, Wright has smashed two 50s for a total of 275 runs at 34.38, with a strike-rate of almost 152.
On the bowling front, Nathan Coulter-Nile was Australia’s best in Hobart taking 4/31 off his four overs. Young leg-spinner James Muirhead was the only other bowler with a single-figure economy rate. England’s best was captain Stuart Broad with an economy rate of 6.25. Tim Bresnan was okay, but probably needs back-up from Test find Ben Stokes . Others like Jade Dernbach and Danny Briggs were hammered.
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