Faulkner the new go-to man

JAMES Faulkner's explosive rescue mission against England at the Gabba on Friday night was another example of the former Launceston all-rounder's maturity as an international cricketer, his former Tasmanian coach Tim Coyle says.

Faulkner's unbeaten 69 from 47 balls allowed Australia to chase down England's 8-300 with three balls and one wicket in hand.

With 12 needed off the final over, he needed just three balls to get the job done, finishing his innings with three fours and five sixes and comparisons to Michael Bevan when it comes to finishing an innings.

``He really understands the strengths of his game and he really understands how to be in control of cricket matches now that he has played more at the level,'' Coyle told  The Sunday Examiner  yesterday.

``He knows where he can score, he has great self-belief and he loves the contest, so it was really all set up for him.

``It surprised most of us that Australia could chase down 300 from where they were situated [7-206 in the 35th over after the departures of Glenn Maxwell and Brad Haddin], but with James Faulkner at the crease they were always a chance, and that's the way everyone will think now.

``When you see some of the innings he has played for Australia recently in limited-overs cricket, you did think if one person was going to do something special, it was going to be Jim.''

The 23-year-old Launceston Church Grammar graduate admitted post-game there was a lot going through his head as the chase neared its conclusion.

``I've been in that situation before as the all-rounder when you bat at the end and a lot of times I haven't been successful and I've stuffed up the game, but it was nice to get the boys over the line this evening,'' Faulkner said.

``It gives you a lot of confidence, but the next time I go out to bat I'll have to start again, so it will be a new game in Sydney and so forth after that.''

Friday's innings was not an isolated incident for Faulkner, who has well and truly put the ghosts of his inability to get Tasmania home in the 2012 domestic one-day final behind him.

Before spending Australia's Ashes whitewash as 12th man, Faulkner saw his country home against India in Mohali with an unbeaten 64 from 39 balls, which included 30 runs from the 48th over.

Then in Bangalore he scored the fastest hundred by an Australian in ODIs (off 57 balls) before finishing with 116 from 73 deliveries.

After 21 ODIs, he is averaging 53 at a strike rate of 120.45, to go with 28 wickets at 33.64, where his work at the death with his left-arm fast mediums is highly valued.

In his Test debut at the end of the English summer,  he contributed 23 and 22 and took 4-51 and 2-47.

``Because he is playing more cricket, and is learning at that level, there's not much luck involved, it's just damn good cricket,'' Coyle said.

``I expect to see more of it with his batting and he's a very effective bowler.

``He believes he is capable of winning games for Australia and Tasmania, with a `win from everywhere' kind of attitude, which is a really good attitude to have.''

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