Willey’s all-round efforts propel England to commanding warm-up win in Canberra
Willey took three wickets and crunched 79 from only 36 deliveries as England won at a canter.
David Willey starred with ball and bat as England tuned up for their T20 tri-series against Australia and New Zealand by demolishing a Prime Minister’s XI in Canberra.
The home side were billed as the PM’s strongest line-up in years, boasting 239 international caps between them, but were brushed aside by eight wickets as the tourists raced home with 44 balls remaining.
Willey, having already taken three wickets, hammered England’s Ashes tormentor Nathan Lyon’s first five balls for six in the sixth over of the chase, falling just short of a maximum haul when he stroked the final delivery for four.
Lyon to WIlley: 6,6,6,6,6,4......boos after the last ball...— Rory Dollard (@thervd) February 2, 2018
The Yorkshire all-rounder has never batted higher than seven for England but has plenty of domestic experience at the top of the order and finished with 79 from 36 balls.
With the hosts making just 136 for eight, Liam Dawson claiming three for 16, England hurried to victory at indecent pace.
Having already flagged their intention to leave out Liam Plunkett, Chris Jordan and Alex Hales due to fitness niggles, England added Jason Roy to the absentee list when he reported a stiff back.
That led to Willey’s fortuitous promotion and a first appearance at senior level for 19-year-old Sam Curran, who joined elder brother Tom in the XI.
Willey took care of new-ball duties and, in his second over, both openers.
Peter Nevill played on attempting to drag a ball from a yard outside off and the dangerous Nic Maddinson top-edged an abortive pull to short fine-leg.
Peter Handscomb, dropped after two Ashes Tests, used an exaggerated backlift and nimble footwork to strike 43 in quick time but lacked assistance.
James Faulkner might have fitted the bill had he not been brilliantly caught by Sam Billings, who flicked the ball up as he teetered on the rope then leapt back into play as he gathered the catch.
Dawson took the next three wickets with a pick’n’mix of dismissals – Kurtis Patterson caught and bowled, Handscomb bowled slog-sweeping and Daniel Hughes stumped.
At 90 for six the guts had been pulled from the innings, though 42 from the last five overs at least tipped them towards respectability.
James Vince got the chase going by smashing the final ball of Gurinder Sandhu’s first over for six, then Willey milked Lyon’s first visit for nine, with little hint of the brutality to come at their next meeting.
The highest Willey has batted for England in T20s before today is number seven...— Rory Dollard (@thervd) February 2, 2018
The scoreboard had ticked along swiftly to 49 after five overs when Lyon returned and Willey unleashed.
The first ball disappeared straight down the ground, the second over wide long-on and the next two climbing over long-off.
By now even the home support were anticipating something special, cheering as Willey flogged the fifth ball on to the grass bank at mid-wicket then comically booing when he was only able to finish with four through the covers.
Spinner Mitchell Swepson eventually dismissed both batsmen, Vince bowled for 26 and Willey held in the deep after adding another maximum to his collection. That left Dawid Malan (21 not out) and Eoin Morgan (8no) to seal the inevitable.