Australia won the fifth and final one-day international against England after a low scoring, but thoroughly entertaining game at the Adelaide Oval. The tourists failed to chase down a score of 218 meaning a series result of 4-1 in the Australians' favour.
In truth, it’s a scoreline befitting of the dominance that Australia have asserted over England throughout the whole tour.
Australia welcomed back skipper Michael Clarke and Shane Watson for the Australia Day game after the duo were rested for the fourth ODI, but they could only score eight runs between them as the hosts struggled to a meagre total of 217-9.
Stuart Broad and Ben Stokes did the damage with the ball for England, taking three wickets a piece.
England looked to be well in control after studious knocks from Joe Root and Eoin Morgan but some late wickets left it down to James Tredwell and Chris Jordan to steer England home. They eventually fell just five runs short of the Australian score, with Watson taking the wicket of Tredwell in the final over.
|Australia 217-9 (50 Overs)|
|AJ Finch||b Broad||7||16||1||0|
|SE Marsh||c Cook b Stokes||36||52||3||0|
|SR Watson||c †Buttler b Broad||0||4||0||0|
|MJ Clarke*||b Bresnan||8||26||0||0|
|GJ Bailey||c Broad b Stokes||56||74||4||0|
|GJ Maxwell||c †Buttler b Stokes||22||35||1||0|
|MS Wade†||b Broad||31||46||2||0|
|JP Faulkner||c Morgan b Jordan||27||27||2||0|
|NM Coulter-Nile||lbw b Jordan||15||18||1||0|
|CJ McKay||not out||1||1||0||0|
|XJ Doherty||not out||1||1||0||0|
|Extras||(lb 9, w 4)||13|
|Total||(9 wickets; 50 overs)||217|
|England 212 (49.4 Overs)|
|AN Cook*||c Bailey b Coulter-Nile||39||62||3||0|
|IR Bell||c Finch b Coulter-Nile||14||23||3||0|
|BA Stokes||c Marsh b McKay||0||6||0||0|
|JE Root||c Doherty b Faulkner||55||86||3||1|
|EJG Morgan||c Watson b Faulkner||39||40||3||1|
|RS Bopara||st †Wade b McKay||25||44||2||0|
|JC Buttler†||c McKay b Coulter-Nile||5||9||0||0|
|TT Bresnan||run out (Maxwell)||13||14||0||1|
|SCJ Broad||b McKay||7||4||1||0|
|CJ Jordan||not out||4||6||0||0|
|JC Tredwell||c †Wade b Watson||0||4||0||0|
|Extras||(b 1, lb 4, w 6)||11|
|Total||(all out; 49.4 overs)||212|
ESPN Cric Info
Highlights to follow
The hosts won the toss and with their line-up bolstered by Clarke and Watson, decided to have a bat. But England created openings with the ball right from the off. Cook dropped a difficult chance from Aaron Finch in the second over, before the Aussie opener was spilled again in the third over; Ravi Bopara failing to cling on to a much easier opportunity.
But luckily for England, those mistakes would not prove costly, as Broad bowled Finch for just seven. It was the catalyst for a bit of an assault from the England bowling attack, as Broad and Co. continued to get stuck into the Australian batsmen.
He had Watson back in the hutch for a duck after the Australian No. 3 edged behind to wicketkeeper Jos Buttler. Clarke strode out to the crease to join Shaun Marsh, but England didn’t have to wait long until they had the key man. The Aussie skipper tried to pull a Tim Bresnan delivery that was a little too full and the ball crashed into his stumps.
At 43-3, the hosts were in trouble. But things got even worse when Marsh, who was well set on 36, was snaffled by Stokes. The hosts were trying to rebuild and looking to dig in, but England just kept on picking up key wickets as Aussie partnerships were beginning blossom.
Stokes struck again in the 30th over, as Glenn Maxwell feathered one behind to the 'keeper Buttler. George Bailey did offer some resistance for the hosts, as he moved to 50 in just 60 balls. But just as he was setting himself for a bit of a blast in the final ten overs, England struck again. Stokes the man, striking in timely fashion.
Matt Wade, who offered some support to Bailey with a dogged 31, was bowled by Broad in the 43rd over leaving the Australian tail exposed with the score on 176-7.
Some late hitting from James Faulkner got Australia up past 200 in the 48th over. But a couple of wickets in the final over from Jordan dampened any Aussie momentum, and they concluded on 217-9.
England were in the box seat and Australia needed a big response from their bowling attack. They got off to a decent enough start, as Nathan Coulter-Nile had Ian Bell caught at mid-off for just 14.
Stokes, recently installed at No. 3 in the England batting line-up, was next up. But he didn't last long, pulling one straight down the throat of mid-off. At 29-2, Australia might have just sensed blood.
But Cook was joined at the crease by Root and England started to put runs on the board. The England skipper played well for his 39 and accompanied by Root, they moved the score on up to 90-2.
The skipper was gone after being caught by Bailey off the bowling of Coulter-Nile, but Morgan arrived at the crease and picked up the pace of the England run chase. He was inventive in his shotmaking and ran between the wickets with aggressive intent.
Root went past 50 in the 33rd over, hauling Maxwell for an enormous six over mid-wicket and England seemed to be cruising to victory. But when Morgan went for 39 to Faulkner and Root fell for 55 a couple of overs later to the same bowler, the runs started to dry up for the tourists.
Bopara struggled to establish any early rhythm and suddenly England needed 58 to win from the final 60 balls with just five wickets remaining.
Frustration got the better of Bopara when he had scored just two from 19 balls, and he went for a big shot off the bowling of Faulkner. It was skied high, but luckily for him it was just out of reach of Watson at long-on.
Buttler looked to play in typically aggressive fashion but it didn't pay off for him this time as he picked out the fielder at deep square leg to be dismissed for five.
With England now six wickets down and a rate required of more than a run per ball, the Australians looked to be wrestling back control of the game. Neither Bresnan nor Bopara could get the ball away to the boundary, and they looked to be dealing in singles as they crept towards the Aussie total.
A four from Bopara in the 44th over and a massive six from Bresnan in the 45th seemed to relieve the pressure on the England chase but once again they seemed intent on making things as difficult as possible for themselves. Bresnan pushed for a single that never looked on, and Maxwell hit the stumps with the England man out of the picture.
Broad came in at No. 9 and had obvious intentions of getting the game finished early. But Clint McKay got through his defences and hit the top of middle stump. England now needed 14 to win from 18 balls with just two wickets remaining.
Faulkner started the next over with three dot balls, before Bopara eked out a single to put Jordan on strike. Another dot followed, before Jordan worked a single onto the leg side to keep the strike for the penultimate over.
Needing 12 at a run a ball for victory, England kept up with the rate after taking three singles from the first three balls of the next over. But after the fourth ball of the over, Bopara was out in the most unfortunate and innocuous of circumstances.
A delivery from McKay hit the wicketkeeper, ricocheted onto the stumps and both teams looked happy to get on with play. But a closer examination from the third umpire saw that Bopara had just lifted his foot when the bail was dislodged and he was gone.
England took another single from the final two balls and they needed eight from the final over. But Watson had No. 11 Tredwell caught behind with England five runs short.
Another dramatic finish in the series and somewhat fitting on Australia Day, another steely, determined performance from Clarke's team