England in control in Brisbane

Eoin Morgan lit up the Gabba with back-to-back sixes (AP)

Eoin Morgan lit up the Gabba with back-to-back sixes (AP)

First published in National Sport News © by

Eoin Morgan's brilliant century gave England hope of a first win over Australia on their troubled tour.

Morgan thrashed the majority of his 106 in the final 10 overs as a 113-run stand with Jos Buttler, from 68 balls, surged England to 300 for eight in the second one-day international in Brisbane.

Australia were therefore left with the task of reeling in what would be the highest run chase at the Gabba, and England within touching distance of their first win over Michael Clarke's side since arriving Down Under in late October.

An unchanged England had appeared consigned to a below-par total, after Alastair Cook won the toss, as they idled to 178 for five in the 38th over with only Ian Bell's 68 providing a foundation.

Regular wickets meant Morgan was initially forced to play within himself, reaching his half-century from 70 balls.

But from there the left-hander took charge, with able assistance from Buttler (45), as his second 50 came from 24 balls to make him just the second England player to score a century in Australia this winter.

Ben Stokes' ton in the third Test in Perth had stood alone in that regard, and Morgan celebrated joining him with a fist pump after reaching three figures with a ramp over wicketkeeper Brad Haddin and to the ropes.

Morgan's hitting was only ended in the final over, when he mis-timed another swat at James Faulkner, who he had launched for back-to-back sixes at the height of his 99-ball assault.

After winning the toss Cook immediately put himself in the firing line, after failing to survive the opening over in his past two matches.

A single from Clint McKay's first ball ensured he was able to watch the rest of the over from the safety of the non-striker's end.

England plodded through the opening powerplay in the series-opening six-wicket defeat in Melbourne, but Bell and Cook showed sporadic signs of intent to be rewarded with 52 runs by the 10-over mark.

That foundation was, however, undermined by the part-time spin of Glenn Maxwell as three wickets fell in 36 balls.

Cook had seen off the new-ball threat of Mitchell Johnson, back in Australia's side after he was rested at the MCG, only to fall victim to the first ball of spin he faced.

The left-hander pushed back a low return catch that Maxwell held well.

Joe Root then came and went when he was caught horribly out of position by a Johnson delivery that thudded into his back thigh.

Umpire Kumar Dharmasena took an age raise his finger, perhaps prompting the out-of-sorts Yorkshireman into his second incorrect review of the series.

Gary Ballance managed nine before he ran past a Maxwell delivery to be stumped and England were 78 for three in the 18th over.

It could have been worse when Clarke intelligently deflected a Bell drive that just missed the stumps, as a diving Morgan tried to regain his ground.

Clarke thought he had Morgan next ball, caught at deep midwicket, but the left-hander had spotted too many fielders outside the ring before launching a lavish pull and a no-ball was called.

Bell and Morgan got down to the business of re-gathering the innings in a 61-run stand - during which time Bell reached his half-century from 63 balls.

Their stabilisation was ended by a fine piece of Clarke fielding.

Bell was sent back by Morgan after dropping the ball to Clarke's favoured left side and a desperate dive could not save him from a direct hit.

Ravi Bopara thumped Nathan Coulter-Nile for a six, but next over softly bunted Faulkner to short mid-wicket to leave England 178 for five.

That only set the stage for Morgan and Buttler to sweep in and while a late clatter of wickets denied England even more - Buttler, Morgan and Stokes all departed within five balls - Cook's side were left with a record chase to defend to end their winless run.

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