England mounted their second-highest successful run-chase to secure a six-wicket victory over Australia in the fourth one-day international, at Emirates Riverside.
Set 311 to win after Aaron Finch (100) and Shaun Marsh (101) struck centuries for the tourists, England eased to their target – and a 4-0 lead in the five-match series – in just 44.4 overs.
Jason Roy (101) and Jonny Bairstow (79) put on 174 – their second opening stand of over 150 in as many games – before Jos Buttler’s dazzling 54no off 29 balls and Alex Hales (34no off 45) finished matters, giving the hosts the chance to whitewash Australia in Sunday’s fifth ODI.
Only on one occasion have England scored more to win an ODI batting second – that being the 350-3 amassed against New Zealand at Trent Bridge in 2015.
In terms of 300+ totals since England’s nadir at the 2015 World Cup the tale is instructive
South Africa 15
And for 350+ totals over the same period
England 11 (400+ thrice)
South Africa 8 (400+ once)
Having lost this one day series though,h Australia are becoming ever better equipped to win the war which will be the Ashes series next summer. Not always does the better pace attack win the Ashes in England as is invariably the case in Australia. Still, England will find it alarming that the Australians keep churning out pace bowlers quicker than the fastest of their own.
Having unveiled Billy Stanlake in the first international, they have another fine prospect in Jhye Richardson, who touches 90 mph and is only 21. This is a proper bowler to be added to the Australian arsenal of Mitchell Starc, Josh Hazlewood, Pat Cummins and Stanlake.
So Australia’s pace bowling, if raw, is still sharp: It is their batting which smacks of an “A” team. This is not solely due to the bans on David Warner and Steve Smith. Australia have lost 13 and won two of their last 15 internationals spread over the last two calendar years, suggesting their ODI batting has been more affected than their Test batting by the growth of T20.
Since the last World Cup Australia average 26.17 against wrist-spin in ODIs. They lose a wicket every 30 balls – that’s only the 10th best in the world.
England’s spinners have now taken 18 wickets in this series, the most for England in a home ODI series since 1999. Ali has taken 8-166 at a strike rate of 19, Rashid 11-225 at a strike rate of 19
With the series wone we can expect some team changes but odds reflect how one sided this series has been. England are 8/15 for Manchester, Australia out to 2/1.
That looks fair but Australia the value bet based on the likelihood of a consolation victory if they can get the better of conditions