Australia hold nerve to win thrilling ODI decider against England

Glenn Maxwell and Alex Carey both scored centuries as they put on a record sixth-wicket partnership for Australia. Picture; STUFF SPORTS

Glenn Maxwell and Alex Carey struck centuries in a 212-run stand to help Australia reach their target of 303 with two balls remaining and secure a one-day international series win over England on Wednesday (Thursday NZT).

Mitchell Starc started the third and deciding ODI by taking wickets from the first two balls of the match, and ended it by sweeping a four for the winning runs under lights as the Australians consigned England to its first loss in a bilateral ODI series at home since 2015.

It was a record ODI chase at the Manchester venue – bettering England’s 286-4 against New Zealand in 1986 in a 60-over match – and gave Australia a famous series win over the world champions to take back Down Under from their white-ball tour that also included a 2-1 loss in a Twenty20 series.

Replying to 302-7, Australia slumped to 73-5 only for Carey and Maxwell to produce Australia’s highest sixth-wicket partnership in ODIs and turn the tide. While Carey was the steadier of the pair with his 106 off 114 balls, Maxwell delivered some trademark big hits – he had seven sixes, all over the short boundary on one side of the ground – for his 90-ball 108.

“Maxy is in the team to do a specific role, and that’s to be able to take the game away from opposition but also be that guy to counterattack and swing momentum in changing rooms,” Australia captain Aaron Finch said.

“What makes him so damaging is he can play all around the ground. I don’t think there’s many bowlers in the world that can trouble him when he is having one of those days. The way he navigated that innings and took it deeper and deeper … he did that perfectly.”

Maxwell eventually fell with 15 balls left and Australia needed 14 off the last two overs. Carey couldn’t see the tourists home, either, departing for 106 to a fabulous diving catch by Mark Wood off the seventh-to-last ball.

Starc entered, with Australia needing 10 off the last over bowled by legspinner Adil Rashid, and smashed his first ball down the ground for six. After two singles, Starc swept Rashid round the corner and the ball sped to the boundary rope, sealing a three-wicket win and sparking cheers from his team-mates on the balcony.

“Australia were too good for us today,” England captain Eoin Morgan said, “starting in the first over.”

Indeed, England, who won the toss, did well to reach 300 after recovering from losing the wickets of Jason Roy and Joe Root from the opening two balls of the match bowled by Starc.

Jonny Bairstow was England’s star, hitting 112 for his 10th ODI hundred with a nonchalant flicked six off Pat Cummins bringing up three figures.

Chris Woakes smashed a late-innings 53 off 39 balls to make Australia’s task even harder.

Playing without Steve Smith for the third straight game this series after the star batsman failed to recover from a knock to the head, the Aussies looked in big trouble after Marnus Labuschagne’s sloppy run-out left them five down, with just bowlers to follow Maxwell.

 

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