Image courtesy of: ESPNcricinfo
Australia thrashed England 4-1
It was a very special Australia Day for the fans of Australian cricket as the national team emerged victorious in a nail-biting five-run win against England during the fifth and final ODI in Adelaide.
George Bailey was the pick of the Australian batsmen as he scored a vital half-century, while the pace duo of Clint McKay and Nathan Coulter-Nile took three wickets apiece to dismantle England.
Australia captain Michael Clarke won the toss and chose to bat first.
However, his decision to do so backfired as opening batsman Aaron Finch was clean bowled by Stuart Broad for just seven runs.
Shane Watson failed to trouble the scorers as he was caught behind off the bowling of Broad for a duck.
Clarke himself only scored eight runs before he was cleaned up by Tim Bresnan.
Shaun Marsh managed to make 36 runs before he was caught by England captain Alastair Cook at short midwicket off the bowling of Ben Stokes.
All-rounder Glenn Maxwell amassed 22 runs before he was caught behind off the bowling of Stokes.
George Bailey and wicketkeeper Matthew Wade stabilised the innings with a much-needed 55-run partnership, during which Bailey brought up his half-century, before he was caught by Broad at mid-on to become Stokes’ third victim of the match.
Bailey’s fantastic knock of 56 came off 74 balls and included four boundaries.
Wade ended up making 31 runs before he had his stumps shattered by Broad.
James Faulkner smashed a quickfire 27 and pace bowler Nathan Coulter-Nile added 15 as Australia went on to score 217 off their 50 overs.
Broad and Stokes picked up three wickets apiece, while Chris Jordan snapped up two and Bresnan chipped in with one.
Chasing 218 to win, England got off to a poor start as opening batsman Ian Bell was caught by Finch at mid-off off the bowling of Coulter-Nile for 14.
Stokes failed to have an impact with the bat as he was caught by Marsh at midwicket off the bowling of Clint McKay for a duck.
Cook and Joe Root stemmed the bleeding with a 61-run partnership before Cook was caught by Bailey at short cover off the bowling of Coulter-Nile for 39.
Root and Eoin Morgan kept the runs flowing with a 64-run partnership, during which Root registered his half-century, before Morgan was caught by Watson at mid-off off the bowling of Faulkner for 39.
Root ended up making 55 off 86 balls, which included three boundaries and a six, before he was caught by Xavier Doherty at short fine leg off the bowling of Faulkner.
Wicketkeeper Jos Buttler only made five runs before he was caught by McKay at deep midwicket off the bowling of Coulter-Nile.
Bresnan scored 13 runs before he was run out by Maxwell.
Broad made a quick seven runs before he was clean bowled by McKay.
Ravi Bopara managed to muster 25 runs before he was brilliantly stumped by Wade off the bowling of McKay.
With England only needing eight runs off the last over with one wicket in hand, Watson became Australia’s hero as he only gave away two runs off the first three balls before producing a gem of a delivery to have James Tredwell caught behind and lead the baggy greens to a five-run win.
Cook was extremely disappointed that his side had fallen short of a relatively straightforward target, and said: “We should have got over the line there…some poor shots were played under pressure. Australia have had a great summer against us and…on the back end of three months of that it probably showed for us.”
Clarke was ecstatic to have won the series 4-1, and said: “A magnificent performance by the boys with the ball especially, I thought our batting was disappointing today. For me it was about finding a way to take 10 wickets and bowl England out…to be able to find different ways to take wickets, the bowlers on both sides deserve a lot of credit.”
Faulkner was named Man of the Match, and said: “It was an incredible game of cricket. For that to happen on Australia Day was unbelievable.”
Finch was named Man of the Series for scoring two centuries, and said: “It was nice to start the series off really well with the bat and contribute. It gives you a lot of confidence and allows you to play with some freedom.”