Jason Roy’s fifthh One Day International hundred for England helped guide England to a 38-run win as they took a 2-0 lead in the five match ODI series, despite an excellent 131 from Australia’s Shaun Marsh.
Jos Buttler, who stood in as England captain after Eoin Morgan suffered back spasms before the start of play, finished off the innings in style with an unbeaten 91 off 70 balls.
Australian captain Tim Paine won the toss and chose to put England into bat, a decision Buttler said he would have made anyway, and the England opening pair of Roy and Jonny Bairstow started well, putting on a 63-run partnership.
Bairtstow was the first to depart for a quickfire 42, caught behind by Paine off the bowling of Kane Richardson, but Roy then proceeded to share another 50-run partnership with Alex Hales before the Nottinghamshire batsman was bowled by Jhye Richardson.
Test Captain Joe Root also had a 50-run stand with Roy who was playing an excellent knock despite it being interrupted by breaks in play for rain. Marcus Stoinis dismissed Root for 22, banging the ball in short and getting the Yorkshireman caught by D’Arcy Short.
Unfortunately, Roy’s partnership with Buttler was the lowest scoring of his four, accumulating only the 40 runs together and it is frightening to imagine how big England’s total would have been had the two spent longer at the crease as a pair.
The normally economic Andrew Tye was unusually expensive, going for an average of nine an over, but he had some brief success, removing England’s centurion Roy caught behind for 120.However, the dismissal had little effect on Buttler who continued to add to England’s total, scooping consecutive sixes over Paine’s head.
England did suffer a mini collapse late on with Sam Billings, Moeen Ali, David Willey and Liam Plunkett all scoring just 31 runs between them for their respective dismissals but Buttler’s heroics meant that the good platform built by Roy was turned into an imposing total of 342-8.
Australia’s batting line-up was shuffled around with D’Arcy Short coming into the team at the top of the order at the expense of a front-line bowler to partner Travis Head, with Aaron Finch being moved down to number five due to his reputation as one of Australia’s best players of spin.
Travis Head was again dismissed early for 19 after smashing four boundaries as Hales snaffled a catch off the bowling of Mark Wood. New addition Short, who struggled to recreate his excellent Big Bash form in the recent IPL, hardly looked at his fluent best as he managed just two fours in his 33-ball 21 and soon followed Head, caught smartly by Root off Moeen Ali.
Number three Shaun Marsh, who has been brought into the squad to replace the suspended Steve Smith, then set about his business as he scored an outstanding century for the tourists.
Stoinis was clean bowled by Plunkett for nine and Finch was ironically dismissed by the leg spin of Adil Rashid LBW for 0 as Marsh struggled to find a partner before Glenn Maxwell joined him at the crease and the two shared a 54-run partnership.
However, Maxwell was unable to play at his destructive best, failing to hit a single six in his innings, and holed out in the deep off the bowling of Moeen.
Ashton Agar, sent in ahead of Paine in the order, provided the most support for Marsh and for a while it seemed as though the two of them would be able to see Australia home as the two made 96-runs together but it was Rashid who struck again to break the partnership. Agar advanced down the wicket to Rashid but was deceived by the spinning delivery and stumped by Buttler just four runs short of his maiden ODI half-century.
Despite the wickets falling around him, Marsh continued to accumulate runs but when Paine holed out on the boundary for 15, it was all but confirmed that his hundred would be in vain.
Marsh was then bowled by Plunkett just two balls later to leave Australia at 293-8 and the rest of the tail end was skittled out for just 11 runs as England completed another relatively comfortable win in the series.