England slump to series defeat
Australia produced a solid all-round bowling performance to take an unassailable 4-1 lead in the seven-match one-day international series against England courtesy of a comprehensive 51-run win at Brisbane.
On a day which was used as an opportunity to raise spirits, as well as money, in Queensland after the recent flood disaster, the home side gave the considerable support something to cheer about.
As has been the case for much of the series, the tourists only had themselves to blame as they again contributed to their own downfall with the bat.
Set 250 to win on an excellent pitch, they lost wickets at regular intervals courtesy, in the main, of poor batting.
That takes nothing away from Australia, particularly Brett Lee and John Hastings, who kept the pressure on throughout.
The result takes the gloss off an excellent effort by young seamer Chris Woakes, who claimed 6-45 - the best figures by an England bowler overseas in ODIs - as the tourists dismissed Australia for 249; Michael Clarke top-scoring with 54 for the hosts.
Shane Watson, affected by the floods more than most given his hometown Ipswich was one of the worst-hit areas, got the poignant occasion off to a good start for Australia, crunching the first ball through the covers for four.
That seemed to signal the home side’s intent as the openers dominated thereafter courtesy of some positive strokeplay.
But, with Brad Haddin beginning to move through the gears, Watson departed in poor fashion as he hit a short and wide delivery from Woakes straight to Paul Collingwood at backward point.
That breakthrough prompted England to take the powerplay and the bowlers responded well only for but Haddin to break the shackles with a booming straight drive over the top.
The wicketkeeper gave his wicket away in ludicrous fashion in the next over, though, bowled by Steven Finn attempting an ill-judged flick to fine-leg.
All eyes were on skipper Michael Clarke and he started positively with a couple of crisp strokes.
But Australia continued to contribute to their own downfall as Shaun Marsh chipped Collingwood tamely to Andrew Strauss at short midwicket.
If England profited from some poor batting to claim the first three wickets then credit must go to the bowler for the fourth.
The increasingly-impressive Woakes was the man, finding a perfect delivery that nipped away and caught Cameron White’s edge to leave Matt Prior with a simple catch.
The tourists put the squeeze on Australia thereafter, with some miserly bowling reducing the run-rate significantly.
Yet as time wore on things became easier for the batsmen and both Clarke and David Hussey picked up the odd boundary en route to a fifty partnership.
Just as Australia seemed to be edging ahead, Woakes returned to get rid of the latter; the batsman dragging on to depart for 34.
Woakes soon bagged a fourth by getting rid of the dangerous Clarke, who top-edged an attempted pull to Strauss.
Mitchell Johnson gave the innings some late impetus, following up a fortuitous top-edged four with a flowing straight-driven boundary off Ajmal Shahzad, who was forced to leave the field with a hamstring injury.
However, Johnson was bowled by James Anderson in the next over and, despite Steven Smith hitting the odd boundary, Australia were struggling.
Woakes claimed a wicket from the first ball of a spell for the third time in the match, having Hastings caught by Collingwood at deep midwicket, before Lee cut him to third man.
Smith managed to smite the seamer for six over cover, but Australia could only stumble to a below-par score on a true surface as Doug Bollinger was run out.
Prior, buoyed by an impressive half-century in the last match, was in no mood to hang around in reply, pulling Bollinger down the ground before squirming one over third man two balls later.
But, after struggling increasingly against Lee, he fell to the seamer, bowled attempting to run the ball down to third man.
Things went from bad to worse off the next delivery as Strauss pulled a Bollinger long-hop straight to Smith at square-leg.
Jonathan Trott did not last any longer, departing for a first-ball duck as he flicked Lee straight to Bollinger at short fine-leg, leaving Lee on a hat-trick.
Kevin Pietersen and Ian Bell played well thereafter, reaching a fifty partnership to briefly raise hopes of a recovery before the former fell.
Pietersen, who had looked so impressive in getting to 40, attempted to over-hit a slower-ball bouncer from Hastings, but only managed to top-edge the ball, allowing Lee to take the easiest of catches at mid-on.
If Australia thought that was a decisive blow, they were about to enjoy another as Morgan hit Smith straight to Johnson at long-off to leave England 98 for five.
Bell was next to go, chopping Hastings on for 36, before Collingwood skied Watson to mid-on where Hastings took an excellent catch over his shoulder and Woakes edged behind two balls later.
Shahzad nicked to Haddin off Bollinger soon after, before Finn and Anderson entertained with an exciting fifty-run alliance, with the former's straight six off Watson proving a particular highlight.
Finn fell just two balls later, though, bowled heaving across the line as England were bowled out for a poor 198.