A thrilling encounter played out in Manchester in England's final game of the 2020 home summer. Australia, down at out at one stage with 73 for 5 on the board in chase of 303, staged a remarkable come-from-behind win after Glenn Maxwell and Alex Carey scored 212 for the sixth wicket to take the visitors to a three-wicket win and a 2-1 series win.
Both Carey and Jofra Archer will be on the same charter tomorrow as they embark for the Indian Premier League. It wouldn't be surprising if they both think of the incident in the 20th over when the pacer had Carey caught at third man. Archer, however, had bowled a massive no-ball and gave a reprieve to the left-hander, who was batting at nine.
Despite being in a wobble, both Carey and Maxwell continued to look for boundaries and kept the asking rate around seven. There was another opportunity when Maxwell was dropped by Jos Buttler with the batsman on 44. Australia, like England, lost wickets in a cluster. Aaron Finch and Marcus Stoinis fell early to Chris Woakes while Joe Root spun out David Warner and Mitchell Marsh. Marnus Labuschagne's run out left Australia gasping, but they found their heroes in Maxwell and Carey to walk away with a series win after the loss in the preceding T20I series.
While Maxwell was at his belligerent best, Carey laboured his way up early on and eventually found his rhythm. Crucial boundaries at timely intervals meant England were never really able to mount on the pressure. Maxwell, after Jonny Bairstow, became the second batsman in the game to get to his century with a six. He reached his second ODI ton off 84 balls with the challenge done and dusted by then. Carey brought up his maiden ODI ton in the very next over off 106 deliveries as Eoin Morgan and Co. watched the game slip away.
There was, of course, some late drama. Maxwell fell with Australia needing 18 and Carey fell to leave the visitors with 10 in the final over. Mitchell Starc struck a six on the first ball before taking the side home.
Earlier in the day, Bairstow's tenth ODI century helped England post a fighting total with Sam Billings and Woakes scoring half-centuries. Things, however, got off to a rocky start as Starc removed Jason Roy and Joe Root with the first two deliveries of the match. While Roy spliced a wide delivery to point, the Test captain was trapped in front for a duck. Despite the start, Bairstow and Eoin Morgan looked steady at the crease and even managed to counter-attack.
The fifth, sixth and the seventh over went for more than ten runs as England ended the PowerPlay with 67 on the board. The pacers had looked flat but the introduction of Zampa helped Aaron Finch control things better. Morgan fell in the 11th over as he swatted a flighted delivery to mid-off. Job Buttler settled in but failed to kick on as his stay fetched England just eight. At 96 for 4, England were in danger of ending with a below-par score.
Billings, fresh from a confidence-boosting century in the first game, did well to settle in and score at a brisk pace. He got his fourth half-century and scored 114 for the fifth wicket with Bairstow. The opener, meanwhile, reached his century off 116 balls with an audacious swat off Pat Cummins for a maximum.
An ill-timed reverse sweep against Zampa had Billings walking off for 57 as England looked set to push on in the last ten overs. Cummins struck a crucial blow as his delivery nipped back in to knock out Bairstow in the 41st over. Woakes and Tom Curran added 46 for the seventh wicket but Starc ended the frustrating stand in the 47th over. Australia, however, will be a touch disappointed as the hosts' lower-order managed to add 82 runs in the last ten overs with Woakes (51 not out) doing most of the damage.
Brief scores: England 302/7 in 50 overs (Jonny Bairstow 116; Adam Zampa 3-51, 3-74) lost to Australia 305/7 in 49.4 overs (Glenn Maxwell 108, Alex Carey 106) by three wickets.
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