Monday, January 18, 2021

England whitewash Australia in ODI series

Morgan’s men triumph in ODI series

England whitewash Australia. A phrase seldom uttered in the long-held rivalry between the two nations. The series should be remembered for world record feats attained by Morgan’s players. England’s one-day cricket revolution, discussed previously on LazyFanSports.com, puts them in prime position to win the 2019 World Cup.

However, a poor batting performance in today’s match hints at complacency. Without the brilliance of Jos Buttler, the team would have fallen short of a mediocre Australian total. For England to realise their potential and win the 2019 World Cup, the team needs to eliminate these under-par innings. World Cup success cannot include a single disastrous display, especially in the knock-out rounds. The 2018 series has certainly vindicated England’s positive approach, yet batting collapses need to be addressed internally.

Australia bowled out for 205

Going against the norm for England’s ODI side, it was the bowlers who outperformed the batsmen at Old Trafford. With Australia winning the toss and electing to bat first, Aaron Finch and Travis Head set to work with an opening stand of 60. However, three wickets from Moeen Ali put England firmly in charge of the contest. The loss of Head, Marcus Stoinis and Shaun Marsh left the away side 97-4 at the end of the 12th over.

Despite this collapse, Alex Carey and D’Arcy Short built a strong partnership, batting with more conviction than much of the top-order. This set the foundation for Australia to reach a score of 200, typically a sub-standard score in modern ODIs. Moeen (4 wickets) and Curran (2 wickets) were the pick of England’s bowling attack, who managed to bowl out the Aussies within 35 overs.

whitewash
England complete ODI Whitewash

Buttler’s mature knock brings England whitewash

England’s top order were equally poor, leaving the home-side at 27-4 and 50-5. Billy Stanlake, by far the most effective Australian bowler, picked up 3 wickets for 35 runs in his 10 overs. Australia had seemingly rediscovered some form and were at least competing with England.

Jos Buttler, arguably England’s most talented one-day batsman, played a knock of maturity and responsibility. As the only England player to score over 20 runs, his innings of 110 not out demonstrated his capability to manage a run-chase. Upon his return to the test side in May, the characterisation of Buttler as a ‘T20 slogger‘ was both reductionist and unjustified. Alongside Ben Stokes, he is England’s most naturally talented cricketer and should be ever-present in all three formats of the game.

Buttler and Adil Rashid batted together in a partnership of 81, transforming England’s match prospects. Rashid was out caught off the bowling of Stanlake with 11 runs required, but Buttler smashed the next ball over the rope for six. In a nervy finish, Jake Ball saw off the bowling of Ashton Agar, allowing Buttler to win the game in the penultimate over. Celebrations erupted around Old Trafford, with fans rejoicing in the 5-0 whitewash and England’s success in the football World Cup. A great day for English sport.

Looking forward to the 2019 World Cup

Although England should take pride in this series, a few issues need to be resolved. Joe Root, normally the bedrock of England’s batting line-up, made only one fifty in the series. Ben Stokes’ injury meant he was unavailable for the matches against Australia, which has led to a selection conundrum prior to the World Cup. Finally, the Scotland defeat will continue to dwell on the England bowlers’ minds. England are in a fantastic position with one year to go until the World Cup nevertheless, complacency must be avoided.

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