Superb centuries of Alex Carey and Glenn Maxwell inspired Australia to a dramatic three-game win over England on Wednesday as the touring side clinched a one-day international 2-1 series. The pair set 212 runs for the sixth wicket after Australia collapsed to 73-5, chasing a stiff target of 303 runs in the final game of the match.
Jonny Bairstow scored 112 as England recovered from losing her first two wickets to opening the two balls of the game to score 302 for seven in their 50 overs after winning the toss. Australia lost their first five wickets one after the other but came back brilliantly to win with two balls to spare against the world champions and beat their first home one-day series for five years.
England got off to the worst possible start as Jason Roy drove a thick outer edge to the back and Joe Root was caught by Mitchell Starc out of the first two balls of the innings. But Bairstow set about engineering recovery, and England rapidly raised the run rate over and above six.
The 114-strong partnership for the fifth wicket between Bairstow and Sam Billings (54) provided the backbone of the innings, and Chris Woakes also contributed a fast half-century to take England past the 300-strong mark. Woakes then took the first two wickets of Australia’s innings before Root, with his part-time off-spin, uprooted David Warner and Mitchell Marsh and they were easily able to crack the tourists top order.
When Marnus Labuschagne was out in the 17th position, Australia was in the 73/5 position. Carey and Maxwell fought back, however, dragging Australia back into the lustful match and leaving them in need of 21 runs out of the last 18 balls to win. They looked like throwing away a winning spot when Maxwell’s top spinner Adil Rashid was caught by Tom Curran 108 out of 90 balls and 10 balls later Carey was caught by Mark Wood at the third man off Jofra Archer 106.
Australia needed 10 runs off the final that England’s captain Eoin Morgan bravely entrusted to Rashid. Starc struck his first ball six times and hit another boundary to win the game, taking the crowded summer of international cricket to a thrilling end.
England had a busy three-month span in which six tests and 12 limited-time internationals – all of them played behind closed doors in a bio-secure bubble as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic.