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Marsh, Finch seal Australian series triumph

Visitor cruises to eight-wicket win in decisive ODI after England is shot out for 138

Marsh, Finch seal Australian series triumph - Cricket News
Aaron Finch and George Bailey shared an unbroken third-wicket stand of 109 as Australia won the series 3-2.
Australia’s search for silverware in England at the end of what has been a long and exhausting summer ended on Sunday (September 13) as it bossed its way to an eight-wicket win in the series-deciding fifth One-Day International in Manchester.
 
After Mitchell Marsh ripped through England’s middle order in a fiery spell that read 6-2-27-4 to bowl it out for 138, Australia overcame early jitters to cruise home. Aaron Finch (70 not out) and George Bailey (41 not out) shared an unbroken third-wicket stand of 109 as the visitor overhauled the target in 24.2 overs to take the series 3-2.
 
While the approach of the batsmen hardly came as a surprise, it was Australia’s spirited bowling that set the tone early on a pitch where both captains were desperate to bat first. But the manner in which the England batsmen tied themselves up in knots they couldn’t come out of reduced what promised to be a potential thriller into an anti-climax.
 
The start to the day was dramatic. Jason Roy, who began with a neat leg glance, successfully reviewed an lbw decision off the second delivery from Mitchell Starc, the inside-edge coming to his rescue. Two balls later, a similar error of the bat not coming down in time resulted in another lbw in favour of Australia. This time, Roy walked off, only to find out later that the ball was missing leg-stump.
 
The dream start had the Australians chirping as John Hastings, playing his second match of the series after being drafted in due to a slew of injuries, kept up the pressure. Hitting the deck hard and generating good bounce, he had the batsmen hopping back. After beginning with a maiden, he had Hales searching for answers outside off, before an uppish drive resulted in a catch on the second attempt to Glenn Maxwell at point.
 
Taylor followed suit as his decision to continue playing shots resulted in an error in judgment. Taylor poked at a delivery he could have left alone with Matthew Wade gleefully accepting a catch to leave England at 22 for 3.
 
But the drama surrounding the game only got bigger when Eoin Morgan copped a sickening blow on the helmet, ducking into a bouncer that got to him faster than he expected. Morgan, clearly shaken by the blow even as the Australians crowded around him with concern, walked off. Morgan was treated for concussion and took no part in the match, Taylor leading England’s unsuccessful defence of its meagre total.
 
Effectively four down in the seventh over, Ben Stokes had the challenge of curbing his natural game and holding the lower middle order together. He batted without a trace of worry in his 51-ball 42 to briefly halt the freefall before Marsh announced his arrival to scythe through the lower order with his wicket-to-wicket bowling.


 
Adil Rashid, highly rated as a batsman in the county circuit, played a high-risk game to conjure 35 vital runs. But a batting meltdown left England ducking for cover. A last-wicket stand of 30 between Reece Topley, the debutant, and Rashid briefly frustrated Australia before Ashton Agar brought the curtains down.
 
Caution over aggression seemed Australia’s mantra upfront but the early wickets of Joe Burns and Steven Smith brought about a change. After an impressive start to the series, Burns tailed off, an ungainly slash resulting in a thick edge through to Jonny Bairstow, the wicketkeeper. Smith followed suit in identical fashion, giving James Wood his only wicket, to give England a sniff going into the supper break.
 
After the interval though, the sting in England’s bowling disappeared as it was suddenly under the pump. Finch launched into Rashid, welcoming him to the bowling crease with a four followed by a six over long-off. At the other end, Bailey’s calm wiped out any fear of a middle-order collapse as the world champion signed off from England on a victorious note.

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