Australia clinch Twenty20 series

Stuart Broad, centre, congratulates George Bailey and Cameron White after Australia clinched the T20 series (AP)

Stuart Broad, centre, congratulates George Bailey and Cameron White after Australia clinched the T20 series (AP)

First published in National Sport News © by

England will leave Australia empty-handed following an eight-wicket defeat to concede the Twenty20 international series in Melbourne.

The tourists have been left battered and bruised this winter, and any hopes of achieving some redemption in the shortest format were brutally taken away from them at the MCG.

After limping to 130 for nine - when Australia were inspired by the fielding of the returning 39-year-old Brad Hodge and Josh Hazlewood's four for 30 - England saw their hosts reel in the chase with 31 balls to spare.

Unbeaten half-centuries from Cameron White (58) and skipper George Bailey (60) ensured Australia coasted to a 2-0 series lead ahead of the series finale in Sydney on Sunday.

Defeat for England sent them down to eighth in the Twenty20 world rankings - one place ahead of Ireland.

With less than two months to go before the World Twenty20 in Bangladesh, restoring confidence appears a primary aim.

Jos Buttler's 22 was the best any England batsman could muster as their top order failed to survive the first nine overs.

That owed in no small part to Hodge, back playing for his country after six years, and who was even more surprisingly allowed to bowl the first over with his gentle spin.

The over went for 10 runs, Michael Lumb crashing two boundaries before hitting another pair of fours in the next over from Nathan Coulter-Nile.

But England's top-order wobble set in - they crashed to 96 for seven - as Hodge defied his years.

The veteran dived full length forward to catch Luke Wright, his Melbourne Stars team-mate in the Big Bash League, before he had scored.

With Lumb and Alex Hales falling to catches off Hazlewood, England's top three did not see out the powerplay for the second successive game.

Two run-outs then made matters worse, the first after some razor-sharp Hodge fielding.

Hodge hit the stumps direct from cover and while Eoin Morgan's dive saw him initially reach his ground, the bat bounced up as the bails were dislodged.

That was enough evidence for Simon Fry in the television booth to give him out.

There was no questioning the next run-out when Joe Root, who had looked fluent in reaching 18, was caught well short attempting an ill-advised second on Glenn Maxwell's arm.

Ravi Bopara then picked out deep mid-wicket off impressive 20-year-old leg-spinner James Muirhead.

Australia could do no wrong and, when Coulter-Nile returned, he immediately trapped Buttler in front.

Tim Bresnan and Stuart Broad, in his 50th Twenty20 international, made sure England had something to defend with an innings-best 34-run stand.

That ended when Hazlewood bowled Bresnan and from the next, and last, ball of the innings also located James Tredwell's stumps.

Australia raced after the target with openers White and Aaron Finch hitting 10 fours inside the first five overs.

Bresnan ended their fast 48-run start when Finch was given out lbw, before Maxwell holed out in the deep off Tredwell in the next over.

The asking rate was, however, already below a run a ball and new man Bailey soon hit the first six of the match, straight back over Tredwell's head.

Bailey launched Jade Dernbach even further in an over that cost 18 runs.

White reached his half-century from 38 balls and Bailey followed him to the mark moments later.

The captain only needed 24 balls to get there, hitting three sixes and five fours, as England surrendered.

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