PERTH - England finally notched their first win over Australia in a disastrous Ashes tour on Friday when they took the fourth one-day international at the WACA Ground. After eight successive losses in both Tests and one-dayers, the tourists had something to celebrate with a 57-run win over the home side. Australia held an unbeatable 3-0 lead in the five-match ODI series going into the penultimate match and fielded an understrength side.
George Bailey replaced Michael Clarke, who was rested along with Brad Haddin and David Warner, as England made 316 for eight after being sent in to bat on a great batting wicket. In reply, Australia made 259 from 47.4 overs. "It feels pretty good to be honest," underfire England captain Alastair Cook said. "It's been a long time coming. "We'd lost the series, but the thought of losing 10-nil (Tests and one-dayers) was a prospect, but we played a pretty good game today." Man-of-the-match Ben Stokes made 70 with the bat and claimed four wickets for 38, while wicketkeeper Jos Buttler smashed 71 runs and then claimed five catches. And despite a century by Australian opener Aaron Finch the home side were always struggling in the run chase. Any hope of an Australian win evaporated when Finch holed out to Stuart Broad at third man from the bowling of Tim Bresnan (3-45) for 108, from 111 balls.
That left Australia at 189 for five in the 36th over and for one of the first times this tour England enjoyed all the luck, aided by some uncharacteristically poor fielding by the home side. They even got a crucial decision review in their favour when Bailey was removed. Stokes's 70 came off 84 balls while opener Ian Bell chimed in with 55 from 52 deliveries. Both were dropped during their innings, while Cook made a crisp 44 from 43 balls at the top order, only to fall when a much-needed big score seemed likely for the embattled skipper.
Buttler produced some scintillating batting at the end of the innings, hitting four sixes as he made 71 from just 43 balls. England also got on top of paceman Mitchell Johnson for the first time this Australian summer. The bowler was wicketless and conceded 72 runs from his 10 overs. Having taken virtually every chance England offered all summer, the Australians dropped two catches off Johnson and also squandered a couple of other opportunities.
At one stage, they missed three catches in two overs, with Shaun Marsh putting down two at first slip in one over. Marsh, celebrating his recall to the national Test squad for the upcoming tour of South Africa, dropped Bell on 52 and Stokes on 29. Australia were also guilty of wayward bowling, conceding 16 wides. Cook had been quoted as saying he was reconsidering his role as captain leading up to the match, but at the coin toss vowed to do all he could to hang onto the position and repeated that stance after the win.
He said he had spoken to several other members of the team during the week, which had reassured him he was the right man for the job. The left-hander finally looked back in form during his knock, hitting three successive boundaries off Nathan Coulter-Nile and playing some sparkling shots either side of the wicket. However, he was clean bowled by spinner Glenn Maxwell to continue his frustrating tour with the bat.
A Cook b Maxwell 44
I Bell c Faulkner b Christian 55
B Stokes c Wade b Faulkner 70
G Ballance c Smith b Pattinson 18
E Morgan c Christian b Faulkner 33
R Bopara c sub b Coulter-Nile 3
J Buttler c Johnson b Faulkner 71
T Bresnan c Johnson b Faulkner 2
S Broad not out 4
C Jordan not out 0
EXTRAS: (16w) 16
TOTAL: (8 wkts, 50 overs) 316
FOW: 1-87, 2-138, 3-190, 4-206, 5-216, 6-287, 7-312, 8-312
BOWLING: Johnson 10-0-72-0, Pattinson 8-0-63-1, Faulkner 10-0-67-4, Coulter-Nile 10-0-62-1, Maxwell 9-0-37-1, Christian 3-0-15-1
S Marsh c Bell b Bresnan 15
A Finch c Broad b Bresnan 108
M Wade c Cook b Bopara 23
G Bailey c Buttler b Stokes 11
S Smith c Buttler b Broad 19
G Maxwell c Buttler b Stokes 26
D Christian c Ballance b Broad 23
J Faulkner c Buttler b Stokes 2
M Johnson b Stokes 6
N Coulter-Nile not out 8
J Pattinson c Buttler b Bresnan 4
EXTRAS: (lb5, w9) 14
TOTAL: (all out, 47.4 overs) 259
FOW: 1-46, 2-110, 3-132, 4-174, 5-189, 6-222, 7-230, 8-239, 9-247, 10-259
BOWLING: Jordan 9-0-57-0, Broad 10-0-56-2, Bresnan 8.4-0-45-3, Tredwell 5-0-26-0, Bopara 6-1-32-1, Stokes 9-1-38-4
UMPIRES: Kumar Dharmasena (SRI), John Ward (AUS)
THIRD UMPIRE: Ranmore Martinesz (SRI)
MATCH REFEREE: Andy Pycroft (ZIM)