Australia defeated England in a gripping final ODI match to claim a 2-1 series win with just two balls remaining at Old Trafford yesterday.
England set the visitors a target of 303 runs and Australia duo Glenn Maxwell and Alex Carey produced a record-breaking partnership of 212 runs to help the visitors chase down the total.
Maxwell and Carey were in exceptional form and re-kindled Australia’s dwindling innings as their first five wickets fell for just 73 runs. The pair calmly saw the visitors past the 100 mark then accelerated to reach 285 before Maxwell fell for 108, edging a swiping sweep shot for Tom Curran to catch easily.
Carey was then dismissed with 15 balls left for 106, Marc Wood catching brilliantly down low at third man following a Jofra Archer delivery. Australia still required 10 from the final over, but Mitchell Starc made short work of the remaining runs, first slogging Adil Rashid for six and sweeping for four from the next delivery to win the game and the series for Australia.
It was heartache for England who lost their first series on home turf in five years. Opener Jonny Bairstow posted a fine score of 112 after Jason Roy and Joe Root were both dismissed by Australia bowler Mitchell Starc from the opening two deliveries of the match.
Bairstow was backed up well by Sam Billings (57) and Chris Woakes (53), who helped England to reach 302-7 after 50 overs.
But it wasn’t enough and England paid for not dismissing Maxwell or Carey when they had the momentum with Australia 73-5 in reply.
Man of the match Maxwell was delighted with the “incredible” result for Australia. Following his century, Maxwell said: “To take them down on home soil when they have been playing pretty consistent cricket over here and for us to start our summer off after a long time in lockdown with a series win against them was pretty incredible for this group.”
“We’ve worked so hard since coming together and it is just great that everyone could do the work back at home and when we got over here throughout the practice matches and training to get ourselves up to take on the world’s best and beat them on their home soil”
England captain Eoin Morgan was gracious in defeat and praised Carey and Maxwell’s performances, but also backed his own bowlers for contending with the challenge.
He said: “Alex Carey and Glenn Maxwell played outstandingly well. It’s always an interesting challenge, one that the bowlers are always up for. The bowlers never gave up.
“Sometimes when you’re beaten by the better side you’ve just got to put your hand up and today was one of those games.”
This was England’s final fixture in all formats for the summer. Australia return home to face India in December and January in four test matches and three ODIs. They then take on New Zealand in a three-match ODI series in late January.