Dominant England beat Australia again
England stretched their winning run to 10 matches as they completed a 4-0 series victory over Australia with a seven-wicket triumph in the fifth one-day international at Old Trafford.
Alastair Cook’s side required a Duckworth-Lewis target of 138 from 29 overs in the rain-shortened match in Manchester, after their change bowlers had inflicted a hapless collapse on Australia and restricted them to 145 for seven in 32.
An unbeaten 52 from Ravi Bopara and 58 from Cook ensured that the hosts coasted to their target with consummate ease with 11 balls remaining as Australia’s miserable tour ended in another ignominious defeat to their old rivals.
As a result of the comprehensive series victory, England are now, along with second-ranked South Africa, on the brink of usurping Australia at the top of the official ICC rankings in the format. England are now in third position - having leapfrogged India - with Andy Flower’s men already sitting atop the listings in Test match and Twenty20 cricket.
The start of the match was delayed by three and a half hours, but England were quick to stamp their authority on proceedings when play did finally get underway under leaden skies.
Off spinner James Tredwell had earlier taken his first home wickets for his country, as the tourists lost four for 12 runs in what amounted to a devastating middle-order capitulation.
Medium-pacer Bopara, who was named man-of-the-match, also took two for three in seven balls - and despite top-scorer George Bailey's unbeaten 46, Australia's total remained decidedly vulnerable.
Two shambolic run-outs, including the captain Michael Clarke’s, contrived to see the tourists contribute to their own downfall as England seized the initiative in the middle overs.
Tredwell, in his first match since last year's World Cup, struck with his fourth delivery when he had David Warner lbw sweeping, before he and Samit Patel combined to run-out number three Peter Forrest.
A frustrated Matthew Wade went on the charge and failed to get to a Tredwell off-break and was stumped for a stodgy 12 from 40 balls.
Clarke was run-out in hapless fashion as he pushed to cover and took on a suicidal single, with Eoin Morgan swooping to produce a brilliant direct hit to leave the Australia captain well short of his ground.
The introduction of Bopara ended an attempted fightback, as Steve Smith edged his first delivery down the leg-side to Craig Kieswetter. The all-rounder went on to strike with his first attempt in his second over too as David Hussey was caught-behind, trying to steer runs to third-man.
Ian Bell, previously prolific in this series, went early for England as he chipped an innocuous delivery from Clint McKay to midwicket in the first over of the innings.
England’s progress was also interrupted by a short break as the bad weather briefly returned - and left Cook and Jonathan Trott with an apparently more exacting equation.
Trott was then bowled sweeping at slow left-armer Clarke, and after 12 overs England were 45 for two.
Just one further wicket would fall as Cook was snaffled at first slip by Clarke in a rare aberration in what was previously a commanding and assured knock from the England captain.
Bopara continued his mightily impressive knock as he steered his side to another comprehensive victory, passing his half-century before Morgan hit the winning run at the start of the 28th over.
It was a resounding win for England as Flower’s men continue to go from strength to strength in the format, stretching their winning run to 10 in the process.
For Australia, it was an alarming setback with Mickey Arthur’s side left to reflect on a sorry showing with only a wash-out at Edgbaston preventing a potential 5-0 series whitewash.