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Aussies twist the dagger on hapless England, take unbeatable lead

David Warner and Shaun Marsh smashed fifties to complement their bowlers’ efforts as Australia crushed England by seven wickets in the third one-day international in Sydney on Sunday to take an unassailable 3-0 lead in the five-match series.

cricket Updated: Jan 20, 2014 01:35 IST
ENgland vs Australia ODI,Sydney Cricket Ground,Xavier Doherty

David Warner and Shaun Marsh smashed fifties to complement their bowlers’ efforts as Australia crushed England by seven wickets in the third one-day international in Sydney on Sunday to take an unassailable 3-0 lead in the five-match series.

Warner blasted seven boundaries and two sixes in his 71 off just 70 balls at the top of the order while fellow left-hander Marsh remained unbeaten on 71 to anchor the chase as Australia maintained an utter dominance of their arch-rivals.

The hosts comfortably chased down their 244-run target with 10 overs to spare as England continued the search for a first win of their wretched tour Down Under, during which they also lost the Ashes series 5-0.

The win heaped more torment on England who now face defeat on a similar scale in the shorter form of the game.

Nathan Coulter-Nile took 3-47 as Australia restricted England to 243-9 after the tourists batted upon winning the toss before Warner and Marsh led the home side to victory.

Captain Alastair Cook, who again had to search for explanations for a poor England performance, said his team fell 30 to 40 runs short of a competitive total on a sound batting pitch at the Sydney Cricket Ground.

“The first 10 overs we played alright and then we did what you can’t afford to do, which is keep losing wickets and it’s very hard to build momentum,” Cook said.

“Everyone got 20 or 30 and you need to go on. The last match we got a big score. Someone gets 100 or 80 and you get 300 plus and that’s what we needed.”

Cook said it was hard to compete against a hugely confident Australian team that is performing well in all aspects of the game.

Australia was never hurried and never lost its composure in pursuit of England’s total.

While Warner scored his 71 runs from 70 balls with seven fours and two sixes, he wasn’t always his usual dashing self.

He put on 43 for the first wicket with Aaron Finch in a steady partnership and had guided Australia to 121-2 in the 21st over when he was caught at cover by Ian Bell off Ben Stokes.

Marsh then took control of the run chase and, in a patient and carefully measured innings, reached 71 runs from 89 balls in 141 minutes. He had help from captain Michael Clarke who made 34 and veteran Brad Haddin who was 37 not out at the close.

Warner was judged man of the match for his innings and for his brilliant run out of opener Bell that delivered a heavy blow to England's innings and its confidence.

“It’s been overwhelming in a way,” Warner said. “It’s been fantastic that I’ve been able to show my true potential.

Clarke said Australia was a team on top of its game.

“I think our bowlers did a great job on a pretty good batting wicket,” he said. “I think that the wicket was outstanding, a very fast outfield and the batters’ execution was very convincing as well.”

Earlier, Eion Morgan made 54 to again provide the backbone of the innings as England reached 243-9.

Morgan followed his brilliant century in Friday’s second international at Brisbane with a half century from 54 balls but his was largely a lone effort in a tired and directionless England batting performance.

Tim Bresnan made an unbeaten 41 from 36 balls at the tail, hitting two sixes from the final over of the innings to add a little gloss to the England innings.

Cook produced England’s next best score, making 35 in his best score since the second innings of the fourth Ashes Test -- a series of six innings in which he has only twice reached double figures.

The England innings was effectively in decline from the moment Cook was caught by Glenn Maxwell from the bowling of Coulter-Nile in the ninth over after he and Bell had shared a rare half-century opening partnership.

Cook looked comfortable at the crease for the first time in weeks when he stepped onto the back foot and drove a short ball from Coulter-Nile directly to Maxwell at cover.

The Australians then delivered a massive blow to English morale when Warner brilliantly ran out Bell (29) with a direct hit from the outfield. Bell played the ball square on the offside and turned for what seemed an easy second run when Warner swooped, gathered the ball and in one movement hurled down the stumps from side on.

England took the gamble of promoting Stokes to No 3 in the hope the allrounder might provide some early momentum but that didn’t materialise when Stokes took 39 balls to make 15 with no boundaries before being superbly caught by Clarke off Xavier Doherty. Doherty bowled his 10 overs consecutively at a cost of 28 runs to shackle England’s early scoring.

Gary Ballance made 26 but couldn’t continue with his strong form in the series to date and was out in the 29th over when England was 121-4. Morgan then once again took responsibility for the innings and batted for 76 minutes for his 54, lifting England to 168-6 before he was out in contentious circumstances.

He offered a difficult return catch to Dan Christian and the bowler made considerable ground then flung himself forward to grab the ball millimetres from the ground.

Though he was given out, Morgan refused to leave until television replays confirmed Christian had held the catch, though in the meantime he exchanged angry words with Clarke.

First Published: Jan 19, 2014 10:33 IST