By Julian Guyer | AFP News –
Steven Finn’s four-wicket haul laid the platform for England’s eight wicket hammering of Australia in the fourth one-day international here on Saturday.
England, set a modest 201 for victory, finished on 201 for two with 13 balls as they won the series, going 3-0 up in this five match campaign after Wednesday’s clash in Birmingham was washed out.
“Our bowlers set the tone beautifully at the start,” said England captain Alastair Cook. “Steven Finn took the wickets today, but the other guys bowled well too.”
Jonathan Trott (64 not out) and Ravi Bopara (33 not out) shared an unbroken stand of 65 as England recorded their ninth successive one-day international victory with 13 balls to spare.
Ian Bell (69) and Warwickshire colleague Trott had previously put on 66 for the second wicket.
Bell’s 94-ball knock, featuring nine fours, meant that in five innings since taking over as an opener following Kevin Pietersen’s limited overs retirement he’d scored 364 runs at an average of 72.8 with one hundred and three fifties.
Meanwhile Trott’s effort, in his 47th innings, saw him become the fourth fastest batsman to 2,000 ODI runs behind South Africa’s Hashim Amla (40 innings) and Pakistan’s Zaheer Abbas and Pietersen (both 45).
Earlier, fast bowler Finn’s man-of-the-match haul of four for 37 in his maximum 10 overs sparked an Australia top-order collapse as the visitors struggled in overcast conditions after losing the toss.
“They were great conditions for fast bowling today, it was a key toss to win,” said Finn.
“We realised we had to bowl a fuller length and we did that well as a unit.”
Finn, yet to nail down a place in England’s Test side, added: “I have tried to be as consistent as I can in one-day cricket for the last 12 months and wherever that leads me to in Test cricket, I will take.”
Australia captain Michael Clarke said the toss had played its part in the result but stressed his side had been outplayed.
“England were outstanding once again and showed us how to play consistently in this form of the game,” said Clarke. “England had the better of the conditions, but we had the better of them at Lord’s and they still found a way to beat us.”
Clarke added: “England have outplayed us so far, and we have plenty of work to do ahead of the Ashes next summer (in England).”
That Australia, still the world number one side in this format, recovered from a lowly 96 for six to 200 for nine was largely down to David Hussey’s 70.
Cook and Bell made a sound start to the chase.
Bell eased fast bowler James Pattinson, recalled alongside fellow seamer Ben Hilfenhaus in place of of left-arm paceman Mitchell Johnson and spinner Xavier Doherty, through the covers.
Australia’s problems intensified as all-rounder Shane Watson and Lee both went off with calf problems, meaning Clarke had to use part-time bowlers.
Seamer Clint McKay (two for 29) took the only wickets to fall, having Cook (29) caught at short extra-cover and getting Bell to play on.
England would have had even fewer runs to chase had they not dropped four catches, with Hussey missed on 15 and 29.
Finn, twice on a hat-trick, ended just shy of his career-best four for 34 which he achieved twice against Pakistan in the United Arab Emirates in February.
England saw Finn claim two wickets in successive balls as Australia slumped to six for two, although it needed a review before David Warner was lbw.
But next ball there was no doubt when Peter Forrest was plumb lbw.
Clarke survived the hat-trick, before being dropped on 28. But he found scoring tough and was out for 43 off 85 balls when bowled by Finn.
Next ball Finn had Matthew Wade brilliantly caught by opposing wicket-keeper Craig Kieswetter, who dived to his right and grabbed the one-handed chance at the second attempt.
Once again Finn was on a hat-trick but Lee watched his first ball pass wide of his stumps.
The series concludes with a day/night match at Old Trafford on Tuesday.