Jos Buttler ton helps England blank Australia 5-0
A magnificent unbeaten century from England’s Jos Buttler sealed a thrilling one-wicket victory and a 5-0 whitewash over Australia, denying the tourists what looked like being a consolation win at Old Trafford.
England’s destructive batsman had inflicted some brutal punishment on the Australia bowlers in a one-sided ODI series, but it was a very different story on a glorious Sunday in Manchester.
Moeen Ali was the pick of the England bowlers with ODI-best figures of 4-46 as Australia collapsed from 60 without loss in the seventh over to 205 all out, Travis Head top scoring with 56 and D’Arcy Short unbeaten on 47.
Billy Stanlake (3-35) produced a devastating early burst and England looked beaten on 114-8, but Buttler (110 not out) and Adil Rashid combined for an 81-run stand to set up a tense finale.
Jake Ball then provided support for Buttler, who struck a boundary to win it with nine balls remaining after bringing up an outstanding sixth ODI hundred with a six on his home ground.
Head and Aaron Finch got the tourists off to a flyer, debutant Sam Curran going for 25 from his first two ODI overs and Joe Root also proving to be expensive when he was given an early bowl.
The introduction of Moeen did the trick for England, the all-rounder bowling Finch with his third delivery and Marcus Stoinis falling without scoring when he picked out Ball at short fine leg two balls later.
Head continued to find the boundary frequently until he picked out Eoin Morgan at midwicket in Liam Plunkett’s first over and Moeen striking again to get the in-form Shaun Marsh stumped.
Australia were 100-5 when captain Tim Paine was run out, so they were very much in need of an encouraging stand between Alex Carey and Short.
Carey smashed Root over his head for six, but a 59-run partnership ended when he edged Curran behind and Ashton Agar went two balls later when he was bowled shouldering arms, then England wasted little time in wrapping up the innings.
Agar bowled Jason Roy - a centurion at Chester-le-Street on Thursday - when the opener missed a straight one attempted to hit him over the top and Jonny Bairstow chopped on before Stanlake snared Root – the Test skipper caught in the slips by Marsh.
The rapid Stanlake cleaned up Morgan, who was done for pace, and England were 50-5 after Kane Richardson saw the back of Alex Hales (20).
Buttler struck two boundaries in the final over before lunch the interval, but Stoinis got in on the act to get rid of Moeen and Richardson struck twice in as many balls to remove Curran and Plunkett, leaving England teetering on 114-8.
The clean-striking Buttler showed great maturity to keep the scoreboard ticking and Rashid (20) looked comfortable until Stanlake sent him on his way with a great catch in the deep with England needing 14 to win off 25 balls.
Buttler launched the next ball for six over long-on to reach three figures and hit Stoinis for his 12th four through the covers to consign Australia to yet another defeat.