The Australian cricket side’s topsy turvy tour of England continued on Monday when the side went down in a tightly fought T20 clash. The combination of a glorious debut from Marcus “Stoina” Stoinis and a cameo from Cameron Boyce were not enough to get Australia home, as England held on in dramatic fashion to win by 5 runs.
While Stoina and Boyce may not be household names it surely won’t be long if they keep up form like this. Having not been able to crack a spot in the WA side in recent seasons Stoinis headed to Victoria where his below average form caught the eye of the selectors and saw him parachuted into the national side. Once there he made an immediate impact. First with the ball, where he was able to coax Moeen Ali into an array of false strokes; unfortunately for Stoina most of them cleared the fence. Then with the bat, where he assisted in running out Wade and Cummins in a wonderful display of closing out a match which saw Australia eschew any chance of victory and make sure England took the early ascendency in the limited overs portion of the tour.
If Stoinis was the star on the day, and he surely was, Boyce was not far behind. Having flown 16,500km for the game, Boyce showed no ill effects, in his one over, getting smashed to every part of the ground in a performance which left onlookers fully understanding of the comparisons he has drawn with Shane Warne. Boyce wasn’t asked to wield the willow but given he was able to conjure almost 20, in his one over, with the ball, one imagines the results would have been spectacular if he’d been given a go with the bat.
The disappointing aspect of the loss for Australia, if losses still garner disappointment on a tour as fascicle as this, was the performance of some of the senior players. Shane Watson was caught auditioning for a role on Dancing With the Stars and failed to get his leg between ball and wicket, where it would have paid to do so.
Steve Smith failed again to score more than 60% of his team’s runs and Pat Cummins failed to take more than 2 wickets in his first over. If some of these older players could just help out the likes of Stoina and Boyce maybe, just maybe, Australian cricket could get up off the canvas and show some signs of life. In the meantime it will continue to struggle, at least until Cameron Boyce finds a nickname, or a flight home.
Attention now turns to the 50 over version of the game and a chance for Australia, the reigning world champs in that format, to salvage something from the tour, other than chronic beard envy over Moeen Ali’s virile patch.