Australia overhaul 333 in Sydney
Australia produced the fourth-highest successful run-chase in one-day internationals to continue their domination of the Commonwealth Bank Series, which they now lead 5-1.
Jonathan Trott’s ODI-best 137 from 126 deliveries had put England in the box seat at the Sydney Cricket Ground as they posted 333 for six - their highest limited-overs total Down Under:
The hosts enjoyed a flying start to their chase through Shane Watson’s rapid fifty and an impressive half-century from pinch-hitter Mitchell Johnson.
Michael Clarke’s classy 82 from 70 balls kept his side on course but he was among three wickets to fall in three closing overs as the tourists came back into the game.
However, Australia snuck home with four balls and two wickets to spare to give themselves a chance of repeating the 6-1 scoreline they inflicted on England after the 2009 Ashes.
Today’s result was harsh on Trott, who defied the intense Sydney heat to hit a superlative hundred that underpinned a commanding batting display.
The right-hander continued his outstanding form in Australia, which includes Ashes centuries at Brisbane and Melbourne, an ODI ton in Adelaide as well as an unbeaten 84 in the first SCG one-dayer.
This was certainly his most impressive knock of the limited-over series. Having made a steady start, he accelerated gradually before battling cramp in the closing overs.
Temperatures in excess of 35 degrees made Trott’s innings all the more remarkable as his only genuine reprieve came on 120 when Watson spilled a regulation caught and bowled chance.
The Warwickshire man initially laid the foundations for such a vast team total with Andrew Strauss, who won the toss.
They added 80 for the second wicket before Kevin Pietersen shared a 68-run stand with Trott, who then flayed 104 from 103 balls with Ian Bell.
The only shame was England’s record total in an ODI Down Under came in front of a sparse crowd, with Australia having won the series in the fifth game on Sunday.
Hamstring injuries meant Michael Yardy replaced Ajmal Shahzad and Callum Ferguson came in for Shaun Marsh today, while Australia preferred Shaun Tait to Doug Bollinger.
Brett Lee opened up with his first maiden of the series, but Strauss and Matt Prior, who rode his luck, produced a flurry of boundaries. Prior’s fortune ran out, though, when he was bowled via his front pad for 18 by Johnson.
Strauss built momentum in the bowling powerplay - typified by him lifting Johnson down the ground for four.
He and Trott rotated the strike well until the former picked out midwicket off Steven Smith on 63.
Trott responded by taking the initiative, chipping Smith for a straight four, and Pietersen announced his intentions with a pair of boundaries from three John Hastings balls.
However, Pietersen fell to the first delivery of the batting powerplay, taken in conjunction with the change of ball, when he clipped Lee to mid-off on 29.
Trott tempered that loss with consecutive fours off Lee and Bell cut Tait to the rope to make it three in a row.
The number three prospered further after successfully reviewing being given out lbw for 82 to a Tait delivery that was sliding down leg.
He survived six runs later when Smith missed the striker’s stumps from point following Bell’s risky single as 43 runs came from the batting powerplay.
A single through cover off Watson took Trott to three figures at a run a ball and, having driven Johnson to the rope off the next delivery, he called for Prior as a runner.
Bell skilfully scooped Watson and Hastings past short fine-leg for four but perished to Tait at cover for 45 from 32 balls.
Eoin Morgan produced a cameo 21 from 13, which ended when he reverse swept Watson to short fine-leg.
Trott finally fell one ball from the end of the innings when he top-edged Tait to offer the seamer an easy catch.
That only served to bring forward a richly deserved ovation for the exhausted batsman, who studded his ODI-best score with 11 fours.
Unfortunately for England, Paul Collingwood jarred his back attempting to heave the last delivery and was not able to bowl.
The tone for Australia’s chase was set in the first two balls: Watson sweetly cover-drove Chris Woakes for four and the young seamer over-corrected with five wides.
Boundaries came at an alarming rate thereafter, including four from one James Anderson over that went for 19, as the first 50 runs occupied 35 balls.
Man of the moment Trott stemmed the flow when he held a blinder at short fine-leg to dismiss Brad Haddin for 20 off Anderson.
Watson went to 50 from 32 deliveries but continued his bad habit of not going on by falling one run later, clipping Yardy to short midwicket.
Johnson and Ferguson kept Australia ahead of the required rate with a 79-run stand, which ended when Prior threw to the non-striker’s end to run out the latter for 46.
Having creamed Pietersen and Yardy over the square-leg boundary, Johnson arrived at 50 from as many balls shortly before being stumped off Pietersen for 57.
Steven Finn struck a crucial blow with the first delivery of his second spell when the dangerous Cameron White holed out to deep square-leg for 20.
However, Clarke remained and made it back-to-back fifties - this time from 51 balls - and followed by taking Anderson for six over square-leg in a powerplay over that cost 17.
Hussey took the equation down to a run a ball but Finn had him caught behind for 38 off 36 deliveries and Smith, with Haddin as a runner, was run out without scoring.
Trott let a chance from Clarke slip through his hands for four at fine-leg but ran Australia’s skipper out to leave six required from the final over, which Hastings’ inside-edged four off Woakes accomplished.