England let slip victory and the perfect ending to a captivating summer as Australia won a thrilling final one-day international by three wickets to take the series 2-1.
Mitchell Starc swept Adil Rashid for four to win the game with two balls to spare as England lost their five-year unbeaten record in home one-day series. The two sides produced a brilliant game of cricket to give a fitting end to a summer that has beaten the odds to entertain. All three games in this series were tight finishes.
Australia punished England for making sloppy mistakes gifting lives to centurions Alex Carey and Glenn Maxwell. England dismissed Carey off a no ball and dropped Maxwell on 44 and both went on to make hundreds, sharing a match-winning 212 run stand for the sixth wicket by targeting the short leg side boundary brilliantly.
“It has been an outstanding summer and it has been great to get our full quota of fixtures in. Playing our full amount of fixtures has been a big thing,” said Eoin Morgan, the England captain. “We had small opportunities we might have taken advantage of in this game if we had been on top of our game that went begging. But when you are beaten by a better side you have to put your hand up and say well played and that was the case.
“The positives of the series is we can win games of cricket when we don’t play our best game and learned a lot about playing on slower wickets and that when playing against Australia you are never home and dry.”
Jonny Bairstow’s tenth ODI century rescued England after they became only the fourth side to lose wickets to the first two balls of a match after Starc gave Australia a perfect start dismissing Jason Roy and Joe Root for golden ducks.
England rallied to make 302 and had the game in the bag when Carey was caught at third man off Jofra Archer for nine but the third umpire called a no ball. Australia would have been 87 for six and in deep trouble but Carey recovered to score his maiden ODI hundred and Maxwell his second. Maxwell was out with 14 needed from 12 balls and when Carey was caught off the last ball of the penultimate over, the game was on a knife edge.
But Starc slotted Rashid’s first ball for six to ease the pressure and take Australia to the highest ever run chase at Emirates Old Trafford.
Maxwell was named man of the match and player of the series. “Being the last batter I had a licence to go for it. I tried to pick my moments, the right time and right ball to go at,” he said.