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  Friday, 13 December, 2002, 11:32 GMT
England bowlers 'need new plan'
Knight gets help for cramp in the middle of his innings
Centurion could struggle to be fir for Sunday's match
England captain Nasser Hussain said 25 overs in the middle of the VB Series opener were key to Australia's seven-wicket victory.

"We played a bit better today but our last 10 overs and their first 15 made all the difference," Hussain explained.

England put the poor form of their warm-up matches behind them to reach 251 for eight, with Nick Knight making 111.

We are going to have to work out some better plans for the first 15 overs

Nasser Hussain
But Brett Lee picked up four wickets late in the innings to prevent any late charge for runs.

And Australian opening pair Adam Gilchrist and Matthew Hayden put on 101 runs together in 13.5 overs before Gilchrist was caught in the deep for 53.

"We fielded OK but we are going to have to work out some better plans for the first 15 overs," Hussain went on.

"Hayden and Gilchrist can come at you extremely well and you can't let a side get away from you - Sri Lanka will do exactly the same."

England must face Australia again in Melbourne on Sunday before two matches against Sri Lanka next week.

And opener Knight faces a fight for fitness for the second match of the tournament after suffering leg cramps during his innings.

"Nick has struggled in the last couple of weeks so it was good for him to get a 100 - he has played well in one-dayers," Hussain added.

Australian skipper praised Lee for his late blast, but credited spinners Darren Lehmann and Shane Warne for keeping England under-wraps.

Just 56 runs came between the 20th and 35th overs, Lehmann's left-arm spin taking three wickets for 32.

Darren Lehmann
Part-time spinner Lehmann took three wickets
"The fielding was so-so, we put down some difficult chances and hopefully some of them will stick next time," Ponting said.

Australia failed to gain a bonus point, available to sides reaching their target within 40 overs, but Ponting claimed it had not been in the team's plans.

"When Gilchrist and Hayden had that great start it did come into our minds but with 11 or 12 overs left we needed 80 and it just got harder."

Man-of-the-match Hayden top-scored for the hosts with 98, admitting to a little disappointment that he fell short of a third one-day international century.

"That flying start with Adam Gilchrist was great fun," he said.

"The wicket was a bit slow so we chanced our arms a little but we showed experience throughout the innings.

"It was a terrific innings from Damien Martyn in difficult conditions."

Martyn hit the winnings runs with five overs remaining, to finish unbeaten on 46.

 VOTE RESULTS
Which team will win the VB Series?

Australia
 71.82% 

England
 14.98% 

Sri Lanka
 13.21% 

17334 Votes Cast

Results are indicative and may not reflect public opinion
England take on Australia and Sri Lanka

Finals

Group matches

Have your say

RESULT/FIXTURES
Links to more The Ashes stories are at the foot of the page.


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