The word is spreading quickly. England have probably become the team to beat. They showed the world what they were capable of, just by winning the 1st ODI of the 5-match NatWest series against the ICC ranked #1 team in the world Australia. But who would have thought that they’d line the Aussies up nicely for a whitewash? Having won 2nd ODI comfortably, and with the 3rd ODI being washed away by rain, they had to wait a bit longer before they could taste victory yet again, against their arch-rivals. With today's win, they have sealed the series win with an astounding 3-0, with one more match to go. But the utter dominance they have shown with bat as well as ball has been awe-inspiring..
The scoresAustralia 200 for 9 wkts in 50 overs.
England 201 for 2 wkts in 47.1 overs.
Full scorecard : 4th ODI, 7 July 2012.
The fourth ODI at Chester-le-street was a do-or-die situation for Australia, who were already down 2-0 to their hosts, but it looked like their form had deteriorated even further. England won the toss this time and had elected to field, and boy, were the Aussies in for a thrashing. The batting never really took off from the beginning, with the top and middle order crashing out quickly with Steven Finn doing most of the damage, taking wickets off consecutive balls twice.
The Australian captain Michael Clarke and David Hussey were the only two batsmen who actually stood up to the challenge, with more than half the team’s total score between them. Clarke’s 43 and Hussey’s 70 saved the visitors from being bowled all out for within 150 runs after being 6 down for 96.
With minimal help from opener Shane Watson and veteran bowler Brett Lee, they were able to reach 200 in 50 overs, 9 wickets down. No one else managed to even get to a two-figure run tally. Steven Finn’s brilliance with the ball had wiped almost half the opposition out, while restricting them to a below-average total. At that moment, the Aussies looked like they needed a miracle to get out of this fresh predicament. But fate had other plans for them. Even the rain-Gods weren’t showing mercy by washing this match out as well.
England’s much talked about “depth” in the team wasn’t even barely tested with the bat, as the openers and upper-middle order took their time, crossing the finish-line only in the 47th over. They lost only two wickets along the way, with Ian Bell and Jonathan Trott getting 60+ runs, easing their team in for the series win. They had out-classed and outsmarted the Aussies in almost every aspect of the game, which is a tough feat to perform. Australia have shown their ferocity and their ability to dismantle teams with ease, but they have been far from their top-form in this series until now, and England is currently peaking in terms of performance.
Steven Finn’s 4 wicket haul got him a deserving Man of the Match award in a game where he almost got a hat-trick at the beginning of Australia’s innings.
One more match remaining and England go into it looking for at least a whitewash, after rains made them miss out on a huge chance to dethrone the visitors from the #1 spot. The Aussies however, are having more troubles with Watson and Lee picking up injuries during the match, which would definitely affect their chances of avoiding a whitewash.
The final match happens at Old Trafford in Manchester on the 10th of July. Will Australia manage to get at least one win? If not, how will the reaction of England be after they lift the series Cup for their 7th consecutive series victory at home? Watch and find out.