SYDNEY: Australia wrapped up the three-match one-day international series with a comprehensive 72-run win over England at the Sydney Cricket Ground on Saturday. Chasing 281 to level the series after Australia won the first match in Adelaide on Thursday, England appeared well on track as Sam Billings and James Vince shared a 122-run partnership for the fourth wicket.
But once Vince was trapped lbw by stand-in Australian captain Josh Hazlewood for 60, the English imploded, losing 4-13 to virtually hand the Australians the match. On a tricky wicket at the SCG, Steve Smith continued the form he showed in Australia’s six-wicket win in Adelaide with a hard-fought 94 to help Australia to 280-8.
The target always looked difficult on a surface that was playing slow with the occasional bad bounce. “It looks easy to bat on when a partnership is going,” Hazlewood said of the surface. “But you’re only a wicket away from causing a collapse on such a pitch. I was very happy with 280.”
England got the worst possible start to the run chase when Jason Roy tickled Mitchell Starc’s second delivery down the leg side to keeper Alex Carey. Three balls later Starc got the key wicket of Dawid Malan with an almost unplayable ball that pitched on leg stump then swung back to take the top of off, leaving England staggering at two wickets for no runs.
Phil Salt and Vince kept playing with the aggression that the England white-ball teams are renowned for, and took the score to 34 after five overs. But Salt tried one big shot too many, stepping away to try and smash Hazlewood over cover only to miss the ball and see it cannon into his stumps.
Any hopes Australia may have had of crashing through the England batting lineup were dashed by Vince and Billings. The two mixed caution with aggression as they took the score to 156 before Vince was trapped by Hazlewood as he tried to hoist the Australian skipper over the square leg boundary.
England captain Moeen Ali came in and smashed leg spinner Adam Zampa for a four and a six, then missed a top spinner and was bowled. At 168-5 after 28.3 overs, Australia were back in control and they tightened their grip one run later when Zampa bowled Billings for 71. England wickets kept tumbling as Starc (4-47), Hazlewood (2-33) and Zampa (4-45) wrapped up the English tail. “We were in a good position with the bat but we lost wickets,” Ali said.
“The wicket actually got easier to bat on but we lost wickets-it’s just one of those things. “They bowled well in that phase and the pressure got to us. If you lose wickets regularly, you’re not going to win many games.”
Earlier, Smith’s 94 from 114 balls anchored the Australian innings after Hazlewood won the toss and decided to bat. Hazlewood was brought into the side for captain Pat Cummins, who was rested with an eye to the upcoming Test series against the West Indies. The pitch initially offered little help for the seamers but it deteriorated as the innings progressed. – AFP