SYDNEY - Australia sprinted to an effortless seven-wicket win over England on Sunday and set their sights on a 10-0 sweep after sealing the one-day series with two matches still to go. Victory in the third ODI at the Sydney Cricket Ground was all too easy for a side riding a wave of confidence from their 5-0 Ashes whitewash and successive victories in the 50-over tournament.
Skipper Michael Clarke is targeting the world number one position for Australia in both the one-day and Test formats. "Obviously we want to win 5-0 now we are in this position," Clarke said after leading Australia to their eighth consecutive win over England. Clarke said he would take a rest for the next ODI in Perth on Friday, but would be back for the final tie in Adelaide next Sunday.
England skipper Alastair Cook strove to sound positive. "Obviously they've won a lot of cricket over the last couple of months," he said. "We've got to try and win a game and that's what we're gonna try and do. We need to turn promising starts into wins." England came very close on Friday in Brisbane after a competitive first ODI in Melbourne, but they were comprehensively outplayed in all departments in Sydney.
"The first 10 overs we played all right and then we done what you can't afford to do, lose easy wickets," Cook said. As the wickets fell, the hosts put the brakes on England to restrict them to 243-9. They then smashed 244 with 10 overs to spare. Opener David Warner set the tone, blasting 71 off 70 balls before miscuing Ben Stokes for a simple chest-height catch to Ian Bell.
Shaun Marsh equalled that score in a patiently built innings and hit the winning runs. Wicketkeeper Brad Haddin kept him company, crashing an unbeaten 35 off 33 balls after Clarke went for 34 to a fine delivery from seamer Ravi Bopara. Cook won the toss and chose to bat, but despite some good starts no one could go on to a big score.
Irish-born Eoin Morgan top-scored with 54 while tailender Tim Bresnan smashed 41 off 29 balls. The England captain had opened aggressively by pulling Nathan Coulter-Nile for an early six, and went on to hit Xavier Doherty for successive boundaries before being given out lbw to the spinner. He won a reprieve on review as the luck finally seemed to be going England's way, but Cook did not last much longer. Glenn Maxwell took a brilliant catch in the covers, diving low to his right off Coulter-Nile.
Cook scored 35 off 36 balls, including five fours. Ian Bell looked to be going well until he set off for a second run off Doherty, only for man-of-the-match Warner to hit stumps with a remarkable long throw. Bell, who played as an opener,hit 29 off 35 balls, including four fours, before his second consecutive runout. Australia were superb in the field, with Clarke holding another astonishing dive catch off Doherty to send back Ben Stokes at number three.
England lost the initiative as runs dried up and the spinners took the pace off the ball on a slowish deck. Doherty returned figures of one wicket for just 28 runs off his 10 overs including two maidens, while Nathan Coulter-Nile picked up three wickets for 47 off 10. England's best bowler was part-timer Bopara with one wicket for 14 off his five overs. The tourists' top-rated paceman Stuart Broad went for 61 runs off his eight overs.
A Cook c Maxwell b Coulter-Nile 35
I Bell run out 29
B Stokes c Clarke b Doherty 15
G Ballance c Christian b Coulter-Nile 26
E Morgan c and b Christian 54
R Bopara c Haddin b Faulkner 21
J Buttler b Christian 4
T Bresnan not out 41
S Broad c Haddin b Coulter-Nile 1
C Jordan c Finch b Faulkner 10
J Tredwell not out 2
EXTRAS: (lb2, w2 nb1) 5
TOTAL: (9 wkts, 50 overs) 243
FOW: 1-50, 2-70, 3-91, 4-121, 5-177, 6-186, 7-195, 8-198, 9-225
BOWLING: Faulkner 6-0-35-2, Pattinson 6-0-41-0, Coulter-Nile 10-0-47-3, Doherty 10-2-28-1, Maxwell 9-0-38-0, Christian 9-0-52-2
A Finch c Bopara b Jordan 22
D Warner c Bell b Stokes 71
S Marsh not out 71
M Clarke b Bopara 34
B Haddin not out 35
EXTRAS: (lb4 w5, b2) 11
TOTAL: (3 wkts, 40 overs) 244
FOW: 1-43, 2-121, 3-172
BOWLING: Jordan 9-0-56-1, Broad 8-0-61-0, Bresnan 6-0-42-0, Tredwell 9-0-42-0, Bopara 5-0-14-1, Stokes 3-0-23-1
MAN OF THE MATCH: David Warner
UMPIRES: Ranmore Martinesz (SL), Simon Fry (AUS)