If you want to describe England in a phrase as to how they’ve performed in this series, it would no doubt be ‘completely dominant’. From the first match till the last, that is all the hosts have been humbling their arch-rivals Australia, the ICC ranked #1 team in the world, in a way no one had expected..
The last ODI of the series which happened at Old Trafford in Manchester was almost called off due to bad weather, but the umpires took a tough decision, which ultimately proved to be fruitful for England and its fans. It was decided that the teams would play 32 overs each, but that was cut short as well, with later disturbances from the rain. More on that in a bit.
The scoresAustralia 145 for 7 wkts in 32 overs.
England 138 for 3 wkts in 27.1 overs.
Full scorecard : 5th ODI, 10 Jul 2012.
1st ODI | 2nd ODI | 3rd ODI | 4th ODI.
Australia were in a tough spot from the start, with pressure to get something at least, from this tour. Calf niggles for both Brett Lee and Shane Watson didn’t help either, as both of them were ruled out. England won the toss and elected to field first, giving it their all. James Tredwell and Ravi Bopara shined throughout their spell, cleaning the top and middle order out. At one point, the Aussies were down to 86 for 6, but a last gasp performance by George Bailey saved a lot of red faces, as he helped his team put up 145 runs for the loss of 7 wickets.
The English had done a marvelous job in fielding as well, especially in these wet conditions.
When England started batting, it got a whole lot wetter out there and play was even stopped briefly during the 6th over of the innings. 3 overs were lost because of this, and England needed to get to 138. This ODI was the first match in which Kevin Pietersen’s replacement Ian Bell didn’t contribute much. He was bowled out for 4. The captain Alastair Cook though, stuck around to get to a fine 58. But it was Bopara who eventually finished it off, playing some classic shots and getting to his 50 in almost as many balls. England had reached their target with almost 2 overs to spare.
Australia had come for the tour prepared, but it wasn’t enough, even for a single victory. If it wasn’t for the 3rd ODI’s washout, they would have lost their #1 spot as well. All in all, it has been an utterly disappointing series for them, but Michael Clarke, who lost his first series as captain, will be happy that his young bowlers have got much needed experience on English soil.
England on the other hand, are on top of the world at the moment, and they have every right to be. Beating Australia itself is a mighty task but a 4-0 series whitewash is something else altogether. They have shown time and again a strength at home that can’t be matched by any other team as of now. Their functioning as a unit and the steady build-up towards victories is what sets them apart today. All-round performances have also been brilliant by the players, including Ravi Bopara, who won the Man of the Match award today. Then there’s the captain Alastair Cook, who has managed his side splendidly throughout. One player who definitely stands out from the rest is Player of the Tournament Ian Bell, who put up solid numbers on the scoreboard, silencing his critics once and for all.
This is a monumental victory. The rejoicing however, will have to be cut short, as England’s hectic schedule continues. They play South Africa in a little over a week from now in 3 Tests, 5 ODIs and 3 T20s, starting from July the 19th.