England rode on a superb century from Jos Buttler and an all-round show by Chris Woakes to beat Australia by 16 runs in the third ODI at the Sydney Cricket Ground and hence seal the series.
Australia, who needed 303 runs to win the game, eventually managed 286 in their 50-over-quota as nobody managed to stay until the end to see their side past the finish line.
After a comfortable victory at the Gabba in Brisbane in the second ODI, England once again were too good for the hosts. Woakes was the star of the day with both bat and ball. His unbeaten 53 backed by a splendid 2/57 with the ball capped off a stellar win for the Englishmen. On the other hand, Australia lost wickets at key moments to surrender a must-win match.
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England’s ODI team shine
After winning the first two games comfortably, England kept the momentum going and lead the five-match series 3-0 with two dead-rubber ODIs left. After a heart-breaking Ashes loss, England will feel ecstatic the way bounced back in the limited overs and brushed aside Australia at their own turf. What helped England massively was the depth they possess and it showed in all the three games.
Where the Aussies chipped and changed the starting XI, England looked comfortable and well settled. This will go down as one of the team’s best ever ODI series victory away from home. Credit goes to Eoin Morgan for leading his troops brilliantly and at the SCG too they held the nerves in the end. It was a collective performance by the Englishmen and their depth in the batting really came to party.
- It was the first ever bilateral ODI series win for England on Aussie soil
- Australia have lost 6 of the last 7 ODIs against England
Game, set and match! England make it 3-0 and take the ODI series against Australia after a nervy 16 run victory at the SCG. #AUSvENG pic.twitter.com/QPneqV28mp
— ICC (@ICC) January 21, 2018
Australia’s chase falter
The hosts would have felt chasing 302 runs was gettable at the SCG, but early wickets meant the momentum was lost. David Warner tried to carve a Chris Woakes slower ball away but sliced it instead straight to Alex Hales at extra cover. At 25/1 Aussies needed a partnership going. Veteran Cameron White came in next and did not last long. He edged Chris Wood’s delivery to Buttler and the Aussie chase continued to hit roadblocks.
Aaron Finch the hero in the first two ODIs with two sublime tons, was magnificent to watch at the SCG too. He batted freely and got the runs to keep the side alive. With Steve Smith on the other end looking to settle in, the in-form Finch targeted Joe Root and smashed a six over mid-wicket to bring up his fifty. The next ball was dispatched as well into the stands and the Aussies got 16 runs in the 20th over. But Finch’s stay was curtailed and Adil Rashid trapped him leg-before.
STAT ATTACK: Finch has an average of 91 for the series and a strike-rate of 96
Smith and Mitchell Marsh rallied on and brought up 68 runs in the next 14 overs. Just when a big partnership looked possible, Smith departed for 44 off 66. Marsh decided to up the ante and tried to hit long off Rashid’s ball but failed to clear the ropes.
Marcus Stoinis once again showed why he is a valuable asset as a finisher and he smashed a 43-ball 56 this time. But he could not help his side go all the way getting out in the final over, with England bowlers holding their nerves and getting the job done. In the end the target proved too much for the Aussies as they failed to get the momentum similar to England in the final 10 overs.
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Buttler, Woakes onslaught ignite England
Earlier, the visitors lost wickets at key moments of the game and were reduced to 107/4 in the 23rd over. Morgan played a vital innings of 41 and shared a 65-run stand with Buttler. That partnership saved England as the duo kept up with the scoring rate at a good pace. After Morgan’s dismissal, Moeen Ali followed suit and the visitors were pegged back to reel at 189/6 in the 39th over.
But in came Chris Woakes and for the 2nd match in a row he batted sensuously. The all-rounder rallied with Buttler and the duo picked 102 runs off the last 10 overs targeting the Aussie pacers and bringing their experience at the death into play. Woakes smashed 53 runs off just 36 balls and Buttler ensured he too cashed in as the duo’s explosion stunned the Aussies. The duo shared a brilliant 113-run stand off just 11.5 overs.
Woakes smashed Starc for a six in the 50th over to bring up his fifty. In the final ball of the over, Buttler squeezed his shot into the leg side and raced through for the second to complete a truly magnificent century off just 83 balls.