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England 481-6: Are ODIs too batsman-friendly?

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England’s batsmen caused carnage once again, returning to Trent Bridge to break the record for the highest total in a one-day international for the second time in two years.

Their 481-6 to destroy Australia by 242 runs beat the 444-3 made against Pakistan in 2016.

It continues a trend of devastating batting that has rippled through the ODI game in the past five years.

The magic 400 mark was first passed by Sri Lanka in 2006 and was matched on nine other occasions until the end of 2011.

What followed was a wait of almost three years for the next 400-plus total, but now they arrive with regularity. There have been nine since the end of 2014.

It can be terrific entertainment seeing the ball disappear to all parts (and out of) the ground, but there is an argument to say that one-day internationals are too heavily weighted in favour of batsmen.

Not only are bowlers faced with uber-confident batsman armed with meaty blades, they also have to contend with short boundaries, flat pitches, white balls offering no movement and fielding restrictions that only ever allow a maximum of five men to patrol the perimeter.

Pace bowler James Anderson, England’s all-time leading wicket-taker in ODIs, told Test Match Special: “The balance has swayed too far in the batsman’s favour.

“When I went to watch cricket as a kid, the things that stuck out are those moments of brilliance – a catch, a yorker, a six. I can’t remember half of the sixes that were hit at Trent Bridge. It just becomes a blur.

“It’s been an incredible performance, you can’t take that away from England, but from a purists’ point of view I want to see a close game, a battle between bat and ball. The crowd haven’t had that.

“I love seeing a batsman in full flow, but I also love to see off stump cartwheeling out of the ground. If the bowler bowled straight today, he was going to get hit for six.”

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