Oz Ashes hopes dealt 'psychological blow' with loss to 'old foes' England in CT opener

Sydney, June 9 (ANI): Australia took a shattering blow to their ICC Champions Trophy defences after they were defeated by their old foes England in the Group A opener at Edgbaston, with the defeat coming as a psychological blow to their Ashes ambitions.

With captain Michael Clarke unlikely to play in the tournament due to a back injury, Australia were pushed even further against the ropes after their batsmen failed to find any rhythm chasing England's beatable total of 6-269, and finished 9-221 from their 50 overs, the Sydney Morning Herald reports.

Although the English bowlers were ominously on target and Australia's batsmen alarmingly unsure, however acting captain George Bailey played down the significance of the loss for the greater Ashes picture, saying that they want to win any game against their rivals, although he admitted that the game might be a marker for future games.

Stating that the loss came down to a combination of expert bowling by England and poor batting from his side, Bailey said that the English bowlers made it very hard for the Australian batsmen to get any momentum with the bat.

According to the report, England won the toss and had no hesitation in batting although the strip was not as flat as it first appeared with both teams struggling with timing, adding that English seamers James Anderson, Tim Bresnan ans Stuart Broad eventually suffocated the Australian batsmen after dismissing openers David Warner and Shane Watson before the score reached 50.

The report further said that Anderson surpassed Darren Gough's mark of 234 as the highest wicket-taker in England's ODI history.

Australia must now beat New Zealand in Birmingham on Wednesday and Sri Lanka in their final pool game on June 17 to be a chance of progressing to the semi-finals.

Bailey stood up as skipper in Michael Clarke's absence, making 55 and James Faulkner held his bat for a maiden ODI half century, the report added. (ANI)