England win odi series

The ODI series in Australia proved a very different experience for England fans than the Ashes. After the chastening experience of the Ashes Series, English cricket fans had been waiting a long time to enjoy some good news from down under. But the one-day international (ODI) series has provided it in spades.

Liam Plunkett

For several weeks, English fans were faced with the perennial sense of déjà vu as a bowling attack lacking express pace was relentlessly plundered by Steve Smith, seemingly invincible except on one night in Adelaide when the ball swung. Fast forward to the ODIs and the Australian captain struggled for runs, continually flummoxed by the spin of Adil Rashid and a revived Moeen Ali.

With Mark Wood and - until his hamstring injury - Liam Plunkett providing real pace, England's attack was effective in restricting a stuttering Aussie batting line-up. With David Warner also suffering a dip in form, it was Aaron Finch who provided the biggest threat with the bat, making centuries in the first two matches, while Travis Head's 96 was decisive in Australia scraping home at Adelaide for their sole victory. 

Jos Buttler

If Australia's batting line-up was stuck in second gear much of the time, England's was turbo-charged. A target of 305 in the opening ODI in Melbourne represented the highest chase any side had successfully taken on at the MCG . But with Jason Roy's blistering 180 - the highest score by an Englishman in an ODI - and Joe Root's unbeaten 91, they made it home comfortably with nearly two overs to spare.

After that, it was no surprise that they managed to chase down a target of 271 in Brisbane, with rapid half-centuries at the top of the order by Alex Hales and Jonny Bairstow setting up a simple six-wicket win with 34 balls unused.

Given how well England chased, Australia knew they had to do something different. So when Smith won the toss in the third match in Sydney and decided to bowl on a slow, often two-paced pitch, it seemed the visitors might be reeled in for once. But this time Jos Buttler came to the fore with a magnificent 100 not out from 83 balls, assisted by Chris Woakes's 57 from 36 as the last six overs went for 76. 

England ODI game

A total of 302-6 was extraordinary on such a surface, and when Liam Plunkett limped out of the attack with a hamstring injury Joe Root filled in with a great spell of off-spin to ensure Australia fell 16 runs short.

Adelaide provided a consolation win for Australia, but only because they won the toss and bowled in perfect conditions for their seamers. Even then, however, it spoke volumes about this England team that they could recover from a calamitous eight for five to 196 all out - thanks to 78 from Woakes - and then push Australia so hard that they only crept home by three wickets.

So too did the final dead rubber game, the first match at the new Perth Stadium. Having been bowled out for 259 on a curious mosaic of a pitch, it might have been expected that Australia would chase their target with something to spare. Instead, Tom Curran produced a superb spell of reverse swing to take 5-35 and win the match by 12 runs.

England celebrated long and loud, aided by plenty of support inside the ground as there had been throughout the series. The series confirmed that they are currently the best ODI team in the world by some distance, with Australia world champions in name only. As he flies home for a much-needed break, man of the series Joe Root will be able to do so wearing a long-overdue grin. 



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