sport

Cook hails Faulkner heroics

England captain Alastair Cook acknowledged his team were beaten by "an unbelievable innings" from James Faulkner in the second ODI in Brisbane.

An Eoin Morgan century helped set the visitors on their way to 300 for eight and a rare victory looked on the cards as they removed Australia's top order cheaply and then pegged their opponents back to 244 for nine.

However, Faulkner's cameo saw him hit 69 from 47 balls, including a hat-trick of fours in the final over from Tim Bresnan, to see the hosts home with three balls to spare.

England now trail 2-0 in the five-match series and Cook admits he faces a task picking his players up for the third ODI on Sunday.

"It took an unbelievable innings to beat us today," he said.

"Morgs (Morgan) played exceptionally well and 300 was defendable. And we did everything right until the last wicket.

"It's obviously tough being a bowler now, but James played an astonishing innings. He took it as deep as he cared and played pretty well.

"It's an emotional dressing room right now and a pretty tough place to be, but when we look at it tomorrow morning in the cold light of day, it was an astonishing innings that beat us.

"So we did a lot of good things here. Obviously I'll have to look at our last few overs but I'm proud of the way we got stuck in. But little things needed to go our way and they didn't."

England coach Ashley Giles is also determined to pick the players up ahead of Sunday's match but feels there are many things the team can be proud of in their performance on Friday.

"The guys are really disappointed but for the majority of the game we played some really good cricket, fought really hard out there but that innings was just too much," he told Sky Sports 2.

"We've got to be better at the death and back up our skills, and today we didn't quite get it right. From the position we were in we'd have liked to go to Sydney at 1-1.

"We had them 240-odd for nine, so I thought we got our selection pretty right today. We won the toss as well and Morgan's innings was superb, supported by (Jos) Butler and (Ian) Bell. But when you're in that position, nine-and-a-half times out of 10 you're going to win the game."

Morgan's knock was of particular satisfaction for Giles and the coach is hopeful he will play in the next match despite leaving the field in the latter stages with a calf injury.

He said: "Morgan has been threatening for a while. He played really well at the end of last season and has continued that this trip.

"That middle order we have can do some really good things down the back end.

"Morgan had a bit of a twinge in his calf and we'll have to have a look at him. But hopefully he'll be fine for Sunday."

With paceman Stuart Broad also set to return in Sydney, Giles is hoping his team will have learned something from this defeat.

"Stuart comes back for the next one-dayer in Sydney and that's a positive for us," said the coach.

"We played some really good cricket. We've not necessarily got our best bowling attack out but the guys are learning, getting experience here, and sometimes it's a steep learning curve.

"One thing I won't do is scream and shout at them. They're all pretty low and we need to pick them back up, they need to get some energy back.

"But we need to analyse as well. We didn't quite get it right and we need to learn along the way. As long as we're learning and improving I'll be happy. We were just a hair's width away from winning the game."

Match-winner Faulkner was relieved to overcome a bout of nerves and see his team past the winning post with his stunning batting display.

He said: "Our middle order batted exceptionally well.

"We only had one wicket left and I knew I could do it deep down, but it's always nice to get the boys over the line.

"Obviously everyone was nervous but it's just great to win.

"More importantly the team won and that's what we're here for, winning for our country.

"It's an honour and privilege playing for your country, so when you get to win like this it's something special."