England seal one-day series after Buttler blitz

January 22, 2018

A brilliant century from 83 balls by Jos Buttler guided England to a series-clinching win in the one-day international (ODI) series against Australia at Sydney yesterday (January 21st).

The tourists are now 3-0 after three games, with their eyes now trained on a potential 5-0 whitewash that could go some way to easing the disappointment of the recent Ashes series. 

While England might have struggled with the red ball down under, their ODI form continues to be irresistible as the World Champions have been outclassed on their own soil.

The first two matches, at Melbourne and Brisbane, both saw Australia batting first, with Aaron Finch scoring hundreds on both occasions. Neither time, however, were they able to set a target beyond the reach of England's scintillating batting. Jason Roy's 180 - the highest score by an Englishman in ODIs - helped them comfortably chase down a target of 305 at Melbourne, with Joe Root making 91 not out. Root was to the fore again as his unbeaten 46 steadied the ship as the side cruised to a target of 271.

England's ability to chase targets effectively forced a change of tactics by Australia in Sydney, with the home side opting to bowl first after winning the toss and also axing their policy of rotating the trio of fast bowlers who were so effective in the Ashes. 

The pitch was much slower than those seen in Melbourne and Brisbane and England struggled to set anything like the same tempo. With Jason Roy and Alex Hales both caught driving down the ground, Jonny Bairstow bowled neck and crop by Adam Zampa's googly and Joe Root dragging the ball into his stumps, England were struggling on 107-4, with a total of 250 looking to be the height of their ambition.

That, however, was to reckon without Jos Buttler. Ably assisted by captain Eoin Morgan, who made 41, he reached 50 from 52 balls before he and Chris Woakes launched an astonishing assault on the home bowling. Buttler reached his second 50 in only 33 balls and Woakes hammered an unbeaten 53 from just 36 balls. The last six overs brought 76 runs as the pair ran riot and England reached 302-6.

Emulating such mayhem proved beyond Australia, who battled gamely but finished on 286-6. Joe Root bowled tidily to make up for the loss of Liam Plunkett, who bowled just eight balls before injuring his hamstring.

Fans booking corporate hospitality for England's first ODI of the series against India at the Kia Oval this summer will hope to see further evidence of the team's ongoing excellence in 50-over cricket, especially with the 2019 World Cup now on the horizon. 

Commentating for BT Sport, former England captain Michael Vaughan described Buttler as the best 'finisher' in world cricket, ahead of India's M.S Dhoni. The veteran Dhoni may not tour this summer, but the Indians will be keen to show that they are still are contenders for the World Cup, not least after the disappointment of a heavy defeat in last year's ICC Champions Trophy final to Pakistan.  

Speaking after the victory in Sydney, Eoin Morgan said: "It's the best win we've ever had - the way we were challenged throughout, Plunkett getting injured, Joe Root sticking his hand up to bowl the overs, and still fighting, and to win the series."

With so much momentum, this England team will take some stopping as they aim for a 5-0 whitewash.

Image:  Brook Mitchell/Getty Images


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