All-round Australia avoid whitewash in 4th ODI against England
Adelaide, Jan. 26 (IANS): Australia put up an all-round show to avoid a whitewash and defeat England by three wickets in the fourth One-Day International (ODI) at the Adelaide Oval here on Friday.
The hosts who have already conceded the five match ODI series to England, showed some resistance in the fourth tie to bring the series at 1-3.
After being asked to bat first, the Australian pacers rekindled memories of the Ashes with a devastating new ball spell to reduce England’s hitherto unstoppable batting line-up to 8/5.
Finding appreciable nip off the seam on a lively surface, the pair nobbled four of England’s top six for nought, with Jason Roy the first to go, driving loosely to his second delivery from Hazlewood.
Roy’s dismissal provoked a collapse that was less about English over-zealousness than Australian rampancy.
Jonny Bairstow, Alex Hales and Jos Buttler, with three runs between them, were all blameless victims.
Joe Root, perhaps, will look back regretfully at his top-edged pull shot to his seventh ball, though he may also point to his average of 72 since the start of 2017.
In the circumstances, England’s lower order were able to mount an impressive recovery.
Eoin Morgan and Moeen Ali stopped the rot, before Chris Woakes, whose emergence as a genuinely influential No.8 in ODI cricket continues apace, smashed his second-highest score in the format to date, his 78 from 82 balls featuring five sixes.
England’s final total of 197 all out in the 45th over represented a seriously under-par score.
In response, Australian opener Travis Head — returning to the team in place of the injured Aaron Finch — scored 96 runs which was the standout innings of the match.
On the other hand as all the players around him lost their heads, Head kept his.
David Warner, Cameron White and Steve Smith could only muster 20 runs between them, before Mitchell Marsh’s counter-attacking 32 from 30 balls wrested the initiative back in the home team’s favour.
Australia were always just ahead of the game yet familiar anxieties kept threatening to break through. Head’s dismissal, caught at mid-on off the decidedly slippery Mark Wood, was swiftly followed by Cummins running himself out, leaving Australia seven down and still 12 runs shy.
Amid mounting tension, it was left to Tim Paine, who has enjoyed a triumphant return to Australian colours and who kept wicket immaculately again today, to steady the nerves, clattering successive boundaries off Wood to ice the match.
It may have come too late in the series, but Australia, on its national day of celebration, will be mightily relieved to have swerved the dreaded whitewash.
Brief scores: England 196 (Chris Woakes 78, Tom Curran 35; Pat Cummins 4/24) against Australia 197/7 in 37 overs (Pat Cummins 96, Mitchell Marsh 32; Adil Rashid 3/49)