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Momentum with England as series reaches climax

The home side looked better rounded than Australia as it clawed back from a 2-0 deficit to level the tally

Momentum with England as series reaches climax - Cricket News
Eoin Morgan personifies everything about England’s brave new era.
A week ago, Australia was leading the five-match One-Day International series against England 2-0, and was primed to ensure it didn’t come away from its two-and-a-half-month tour empty handed. Fast forward the day before the final exchange, and things are markedly different. England, true to its reinvented status, has found a couple of extra gears and clawed back to make the series 2-2, making the final clash at Old Trafford on Sunday (September 13) a potentially riveting contest.
England was sparked to life after the second ODI, at Lord’s, and it has been unstoppable since. In the third ODI in Manchester, it was dominant, putting in a solid all-round display to win by 93 runs after putting up 300. Then it displayed its grit in the fourth ODI at Headingley on Friday, Eoin Morgan expertly shepherding a tricky chase of 300 to seal a three-wicket win.
Morgan personifies everything about England’s brave new era, leading from the front with a never-say-die attitude. The 92 on Friday was his third consecutive half-century of the series, and it prompted Pat Cummins to say afterwards, “He plays spin well, he plays pace well. When he's going there certainly aren't many options. He'll be a key wicket on Sunday.”
England also has both its departments clicking in tandem. Morgan, James Taylor and Jason Roy are the top three run-scorers of the series so far, while Adil Rashid and Moeen Ali have been amongst the wickets. David Willey, who replaced Steven Finn at Headingley, returned 3 for 51. Whether Finn will return to the XI for the final ODI remains to be seen, but England has its bases covered.
The same can’t quite be said of Australia. Cummins has impressed so far – he frequently crossed the 150-speed-barrier on Friday – with 12 wickets in four matches, but the rest of the pacemen haven’t kept up. The fatigued Mitchell Starc was rested in Leeds after poor returns, meaning Australia has had to rely on the part-time spin of Glenn Maxwell for wickets.

As far as the batting is concerned, Australia has largely been reliant on its middle order – it was reduced to 30 for 3 by Willey on Friday before Maxwell, George Bailey and Matthew Wade scored half-centuries to revive the innings. Later, England displayed the benefits of an explosive start from the top order as Roy and Taylor added a quick 72 for the second wicket.
Ahead of the finale, the momentum lies with England. “Going into Sunday, the guys are full of confidence and really looking forward to it,” said Morgan on Friday. “We have had a little bit of success so far this summer and hopefully that continues because if things go well that accelerates our learning as we go along. Sitting here at two-all, having beaten New Zealand 3-2, we are pretty confident.”
Win on Sunday and England would have gone through its home season unbeaten – the drawn Test series against New Zealand the only sharing of spoils. It will only motivate it further, but whether that counts for anything remains to be seen.
Teams (from)
Jason Roy, Alex Hales, Moeen Ali, Eoin Morgan (capt), Jonny Bairstow (wk), Sam Billings, Steven Finn, Alex Hales, Liam Plunkett, Adil Rashid, Jason Roy, Ben Stokes, James Taylor, David Willey, Chris Woakes, Mark Wood.

Australia: Aaron Finch, Peter Handscomb, Steve Smith (capt), Glenn Maxwell, George Bailey, Mitchell Marsh, Marcus Stoinis, Matthew Wade (wk), John Hastings, Pat Cummins, Mitchell Starc, Ashton Agar, George Bailey, Joe Burns, James Pattinson.

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