Michael Clarke has tagged James Faulkner ‘‘the new Michael Bevan’’ after he stared mission impossible in the face with one of the great one-day performances at the Gabba.
Already credited with the country’s fastest one-day century thanks to his staggering 116 in India last year, he added another spectacular entry to his CV with a rescue act for the ages in the second one-day international.
Chasing a record-breaking Brisbane target of 301 and left with only No.11 Clint McKay by his side and 57 runs still to get, Faulkner set the ground alight with a remarkable and unbeaten 69 from 47 balls.
‘‘He is the new finisher, he is the new Michael Bevan,’’ Clarke said.
Needing 12 runs off the final over, Faulkner required only three balls, hitting England’s Tim Bresnan for three fours to seal the incredible come-from-behind win and the all-rounder’s status as an undisputed hero. It was a record-breaking run chase in Brisbane.
‘‘I knew I could do it deep down, but it’s always nice to get the boys over the line,’’ said Faulkner, who said he could see his teammates watching were nervous as the finale approached.
‘‘I saw one of the boys bouncing a beach ball over there at one stage, Ithink that was George [Bailey]. Everyone was nervous yeah but it was just good to get the win. When you bat down in the lower order you’ve got to try and get the team home. Lucky enough [the balls] went over the rope and we got the win. To get the win like this is something special.’’
All five of Faulkner’s sixes were off England all-rounder Ben Stokes and left the tourists shocked.
Three England players have already gone home since they arrived here 85 days ago. The rest might well feel like packing up now, too.
Their wait for a victory against Australia looked finally over thanks to two players who were not involved in the 5-0 Ashes defeat – Eoin Morgan and Chris Jordan.
Morgan’s thrilling 106 from 99 balls, only the second England hundred against Australia this summer, helped set Australia a formidable target, and a wonder catch and a couple of key wickets from Jordan seemed set to ensure they would not get there despite the efforts of a free-swinging Glenn Maxwell and Faulkner.
The all-rounder dubbed the Big Show by teammates threatened his best production yet, hauling Australia back from 4-114 after the exit of Shaun Marsh (55) into what was looking by the minute a match-turning knock.
Maxwell’s 54 from 39 balls featured a series of audacious reverse sweeps, including three in a row from the off-spin of Joe Root that went for four.
However, after losing sidekick and perpetual England foe Brad Haddin (26), Maxwell was on his way in the same Bresnan over with one big shot too many. The ball after reverse-pulling Bresnan for another boundary a slightly more conventional pull brought him unstuck, ending up in the hands of Ravi Bopara at midwicket.
Furious, Maxwell cursed himself as he trudged off the ground.
He knew his departure spelt trouble again for Australia and while the task in front of them was not out of the question – they needed 95 runs from 91 balls to win at that point – they were running out of wickets rapidly.
The presence of Faulkner meant England could not relax, and after belting two huge sixes in a row off Stokes to restore hope he and McKay were left with the objective of 30 runs from the last three overs. Somehow, he pulled it off.
Batting at No.9, the Tasmanian had come to the middle with the score at 7-206, ramming home just how extraordinary his display was.
Australia lead the series 2-0 heading into Sunday’s third match in Sydney.
Compounding England's defeat are injury concerns for Morgan (calf) and Boyd Rankin (hamstring).