England continue domination of Australia
England rounded off an outstanding effort in the NatWest Series by completing a 4-0 triumph with a thoroughly dominant performance at Old Trafford.
Australia have proved no match for the in-form hosts, who will rue a washout at Edgbaston that ended their hopes of moving to the summit of the International Cricket Council rankings via a 5-0 whitewash.
The nature of their success should still satisfy, however, especially after England wrapped things up in fine style; they limited Australia to just 145 for seven in 32 overs of a rain-shortened clash.
That left them needing 146 - a target that was reduced to 138 from 29 following a rain delay when England were 24 for one, having lost Ian Bell.
Jonathan Trott was then bowled by Michael Clarke, but Ravi Bopara and Alastair Cook put on 92, only for the latter to fall for 58.
It mattered little, though, as Bopara finished unbeaten on 52 and Eoin Morgan found a boundary to seal a seven-wicket success with 11 balls to spare.
After Cook unsurprisingly opted to field, the home side were initially profligate as three catches went begging.
David Warner capitalised, playing with typical power to move on to 32 at better than a run a ball.
But James Tredwell, back in the XI for the first time since last year’s World Cup, illustrated the level of England’s depth by starting Australia’s collapse.
The spinner trapped Warner in front, combined with Samit Patel to run out Peter Forrest and ended Matthew Wade’s 41-ball vigil on 12; the left-hander ran past prodigious turn and a gleeful Craig Kieswetter finished the stumping.
Australia’s plight in a series they have rarely been competitive in was then epitomised by skipper Clarke needlessly running himself out.
Steven Smith struck two nice fours before falling for 21 to golden-arm Bopara, who completed a fine effort with the ball by having David Hussey caught behind.
It was left to George Bailey to clear the ropes a couple of times, yet his effort merely took Australia to respectability.
Even when Clint McKay claimed the wicket of Bell in the first over of the reply, few in the ground worried.
Trott’s departure also had little impact; Cook and Bopara merely rotated with ease, providing the boundary whenever the run-rate crept up.
The former, in particular, looked imperious from the off, saving his best work for the spinners and capping a fine series - in which he has shone with bat and ball.
Cook’s display was, much to the tourists’ dismay, the kind of effort we have seen routinely since he was handed the captaincy last year.
He was given out on eight, but the caught-behind verdict was rightly overturned given the bat hit pad rather than the ball.
And by the time Australia got their man - Cook edged Ben Hilfenhaus to Clarke - it was too late.
9:23pm - ENGLAND WIN BY SEVEN WICKETS - What a way to start Eoin Morgan, who hammers his first ball through cover for four. McKay raps Bopara on the pad and Clarke calls for a review, but was not hitting enough of leg stump to overturn the decision. Morgan then finishes the 27th over with a three after skying one to long-on, and then seals a seven-wicket success at the start of the next. Four-nil. Job done. An outstanding effort from England.
9:13pm - WICKET! Cook c Clarke b Hilfenhaus 58; ENG 126/3 - A real disappointment for Cook, who does not see it through to the end, edging an attempted cut into the hands of his opposite number.
9:08pm – FIFTY! Bopara (51b 5x4 0x6) - Clarke opts to throw Doherty the ball following a couple of solid overs from Smith, but Bopara greets the left-arm spinner with a powerful sweep for four. The right-hander then treats Pattinson with similar disdain, pulling through midwicket and hitting beautifully over cover before moving to 50 with a single.
9:55pm - FIFTY! Cook (69b 4x4 0x6) - Bopara’s bat breaks, not that having a new one makes any difference. He crunches through the covers and is unfortunate to have to settle for two following some excellent fielding. Cook then glides Steven Smith to fine-leg for a single that heralds a deserved half-century.
9:48pm - Class from Cook, who capitalises on short balls in back-to-back overs, sending the first through midwicket and the second to the fine-leg fence. England are picking up runs at will now.
9:35pm - I’ve rarely seen Rav-Bop look in better touch than this. He follows a variety of dabs and deflections with an authoritative cut to the cover boundary. A series of ones and twos follow before Bopara eases Doherty through the off side for another four.
9:20pm - Good stuff from Ravi Bopara and Cook, who greet Xavier Doherty’s introduction by working the ball around cleverly, taking seven from the over. Cook gets three off the last to move to 2,000 ODI runs, after which come another two overs of accumulation.
9:09pm - WICKET! Trott b Clarke 10; ENG 34/2 - This is not Trott's finest hour as he falls to Australia skipper Clarke's left-arm spin. The number three attempts to sweep across the line, but the tweaker finds a little turn and hits off stump.
9:08pm - The collective roar of “shot” in the press box said it all. Trott profits on a wide delivery from Pattinson and eases it through point for four. England are 33 for one and looking relatively comfortable at this stage.
9pm - After the mandatory powerplay, reduced to six overs on account of the rain, is over, Michael Clarke immediately takes the bowling one. Hilfenhaus sends down a cheap over; good stuff from Australia, who are trying to put England under pressure.
8:50pm - The hundreds of people I have just seen leaving the ground will be feeling pretty silly now. The players are back on the field and England need 138 to win from 29 overs. Let's hope we have seen the last of the rain.
8:44pm - I was about to say the covers are on and things are looking pretty bleak. However, the covers now appear to be coming off and it may well have stopped raining. Time to cross those fingers again.
8:35pm - RAIN DELAYS PLAY - This was not expected! I am afraid the rain has started falling despite assurances there was none coming. Oh, and the umpires are taking the players off the field. Well, I say the players: Australia have stayed out there with the umpires, while Trott and Cook are headed to the dressing room.
8:30pm – REVIEW! - Australia’s celebrations are shortlived. McKay beats Cook’s edge and umpire Aleem Dar rewards a passionate appeal, only for the skipper to instantly review. Rightly so too, with replays showing the bat hit pad rather than ball.
8:26pm - Cracking shot from Alastair Cook; after stealing an extra run for an overthrow, the left-hander pushes through the off side for a back-foot four off McKay. Trott is denied a boundary of his own off Hilfenhaus as David Warner produces some excellence in the field. There is no stopping him off the next delivery, following up a two with a flick to the fine-leg boundary. He and England are away.
8:19pm - As Ben Hilfenhaus runs into bowl, he has Jonathan Trott looking at him lifting his bat. That would be fine if Trott was on strike, but he isn’t. You would think that would be somewhat off-putting, but an impressive over ensues.
8:13pm - WICKET! Bell c Bailey b McKay 4; ENG 5/1 - Well, that was not in the script. Ian Bell has got to go and will not be happy at all. Clint McKay, comfortably Australia's best bowler during the series, is a bit too straight, but Bell clips straight to George Bailey. Are Australia starting to believe?
8:09pm - The players are out in the middle and we're ready for the chase. The good news for the crowd - doubtless a worse for wear by now - is that Mitchell Johnson is in the middle! David Hussey has a hamstring injury, so Mitch will be fielding. I do feel for him.
7:50pm - END OF INNINGS - AUS 145/7; Bailey 46, McKay 5 - Bailey clips a couple fine to the fence before Clint McKay edges one narrowly past Kieswetter for another four. Thirteen come from the penultimate over, bowled by Broad, who has been expensive. Anderson then concedes 12 off the final set of six – including a maximum and four from Bailey. England need just 146 from 32 overs to seal a 4-0 triumph and will be extremely confident.
7:34pm – WICKET! Pattinson c Kieswetter b Finn 13; AUS 120/7 - A deserved reward for Finn, who has bowled magnificently. Pattinson, having clipped over point for four earlier in the over, bottom-edges a slower ball behind and Kieswetter takes a fine catch diving forward.
7:28pm - Good stuff from George Bailey, who crashes Tredwell over long-on for a maximum. Australia need runs desperately and that's a good start. Three overs left, meaning the batting powerplay has been enforced.
7:18pm - Australia are desperately trying, without reward, to fashion some runs from somewhere here. Just six overs left and they have only 96 on the board.
7:09pm – REVIEW! - England are just getting greedy now. Tredwell hits James Pattinson on the pad and Cook opts to review after umpire Ian Gould delivers a not-out verdict, which is upheld with the ball missing off stump.
7pm - WICKET! Hussey c Kieswetter b Bopara 9; AUS 86/6 - This is just incredible. When was the last update without a wicket?! Golden arm does it again, and it is a big one. David Hussey tries to run one down to third man yet succeeds only in nicking behind; maybe Bopara is bowling like McGrath after all.
6:55pm – WICKET! Smith c Kieswetter b Bopara 21; AUS 77/5 Lovely shot from Steven Smith, who straight drives Finn for a well-timed boundary. The bowler almost gets his revenge by beating the edge, but finds himself looking to the fence again as Smith then glances through fine-leg. He falls soon after, however, as golden arm Ravi Bopara – who has bowled like Glenn McGrath in the last three games, well maybe that’s an exaggeration – gets him to tickle one to Kieswetter.
6:40pm – WICKET! Clarke run out Morgan 1; AUS 55/4 - The Aussies are imploding in a big way here. A miserable moment for the skipper, who attempts a quick single and is well short of his ground when Eoin Morgan swoops. The crowd are loving it and why not?!
6:32pm - WICKET! Wade st Kieswetter b Tredwell 12; AUS 49/3 Another one bites the dust and Tredders is loving it. A brilliant ball from the tweaker, who lures the left-hander down the pitch and finds prodigious turn. Kieswetter does the rest and ends Wade's 41-ball vigil. Outstanding start from England and Tredwell, in particular.
6:29pm - WICKET! Forrest run out Patel 3; AUS 49/2 - Patel has made amends for his mistake now too. Forrest attempts a second run that is not there, Patel delivers a fine throw from long-on and Tredwell whips off the bail. The batsman was looking in awful nick and is a goner!
6:29pm - As chants of “Yorkshire, Yorkshire, Yorkshire” go around the ground, to the annoyance of the locals, Broad hits Peter Forrest’s pad, but the umpire rightly delivers a not-out verdict; he middled it first. Tredwell then sends down a maiden and Broad bowls a tidy over too.
6:16pm - WICKET! Warner lbw Tredwell 32; AUS 43/1 Oh, Tredders you beauty. Is there a more relieved man than Patel in the ground right now? Unlikely. Tredwell, representing England for the first time since the World Cup last year, traps Warner in front as the left-hander attempts to sweep. It's all happening here; I am working up a sweat just typing.
6:13pm – DROPPED CATCH - Frustration, frustration, frustration. If you think there’s an error in the system that is putting “DROPPED CATCH” in, you’re wrong I am afraid. Samit Patel has shelled an absolute dolly off the dangerous Warner, who late cut Broad to third man. That could be costly.
6:08pm – DROPPED CATCH - Maybe England want Wade, who has scored just seven from 29 balls, to stick around. James Tredwell is the guilty party this time, shelling one off Finn at slip. The hosts would have no such thoughts about Warner, with the left-hander having struck 30 in the same amount of balls as Wade’s faced. A drive through cover off Finn was followed up by a glorious straight six off Broad. Frustration for England.
6:03pm – DROPPED CATCH - Catching is an area England have been below their best in this series, and that proves the case again. Stuart Broad is the unlucky bowler, forcing an edge from Wade – only for Anderson to fail to hold on diving to his left.
6pm - Finn continues to bowl exceptionally without luck, epitomised by Warner’s inside edge beating wicketkeeper Craig Kieswetter and reaching the boundary. The left-hander finds the rope in considerably more impressive fashion in the next over, clipping Anderson off his hip. That’s the end of the seven-over mandatory powerplay and Australia are 22 without loss.
5:51pm - Warner breaks the shackles against Finn with the game’s first boundary, a beautifully-timed straight drive. That is the only time either he or Wade threatens to even put bat on ball, never mind find the fence again. Excellent stuff from England; the tourists are nine for none after five overs.
5:42pm - What an outstanding over that is from Steven Finn, who beats Matthew Wade with his opening two deliveries and repeats the trick against David Warner to round of his set of six. Anderson follows that up with a fine maiden; the Australia openers can barely lay a bat on it at the moment.
5:30pm - A fantastic reception for Lancashire's own James Anderson, who gets proceedings under way with a solid opening over that cost just one run. Australia will need to be more positive than they were at Durham on Saturday if they are to secure a morale-boosting victory.
5:24pm - England: Alastair Cook, Ian Bell, Jonathan Trott, Ravi Bopara, Eoin Morgan, Craig Kieswetter, Samit Patel, Stuart Broad, James Tredwell, James Anderson, Steven Finn.
Australia: David Warner, Matthew Wade, Peter Forrest, Michael Clarke, George Bailey, David Hussey, Steven Smith, Clint McKay, James Pattinson, Ben Hilfenhaus, Xavier Doherty.
5:15pm - ENGLAND WIN TOSS AND BOWL! An absolute no-brainer for Alastair Cook, who profits from Michael Clarke calling incorrectly. It is always a little difficult to judge what a good score is in these circumstances and England's bowlers will fancy their chances. James Tredwell and Samit Patel play for England, while Australia also have various spinners as Steven Smith and Xavier Doherty get a chance. Tredwell, by the way, has replaced Tim Bresnan, who has a sore elbow.
5pm - The toss will be in 15 minutes' time, it has just been announced. That means we are still on course for a 5:30pm start and the game conditions remain as stated previously. Oh, what a joyful piece of news that is! The rain appears to have slowed too; good news coming in bunches now at Old Trafford.
4:55pm - All of the covers are back I am afraid. The good news, however, is that the players are still warming up in the middle. It is expected that this is just a passing shower and there has been no announcement that the start time has been put back. It remains 5:30pm as things stand.
4:43pm - There is a small amount of rain in the air at the moment, but not enough to force the players - currently warming up - off the field. All being well, we should get under way at half five and, if the radar is correct, this will be the last bit of precipitation we'll see.
4:26pm - Should the match get under way as planned, there will be a seven-over mandatory powerplay, with two three-over periods to be chosen by the batting and fielding sides. Furthermore, two bowlers will be permitted to deliver seven overs and three will send down six.
4:07pm - The news from Old Trafford is as follows: if there is no more inclement weather, a 32-overs-per-side match will begin at 5:30pm.
3:58pm - The umpires are heading out of the pavilion again and it's inspection time. Let's hope it has dried up in the last hour; you'll know when I do.
3:33pm - I am reliably, I think, informed from a journalist turned meteorologist that there is just one more burst of rain due this evening. It will apparently be light and last around 30 minutes. As Michael Fish proved all of those years ago, however, the forecast can often be badly wrong. I've got the shades ready for some sunshine!
3:10pm - The news is not as positive as we had hoped, unfortunately. The umpires have been out in the middle and it has been decided there will be another inspection at 4pm. The wait goes on I am afraid.
2:50pm - I do not want to speak too soon, but I cannot help but think the prospects of play are improving by the minute. The players have had a bit of a kick about on the outfield, which looks completely dry now. Furthermore, the nets that are used for the warm-ups have been put up. Hopefully the inspection in 10 minutes brings good news.
2:30pm - A few of the England boys are out in the middle at the moment, with the prospects of play looking increasingly positive. A bloke has just been talking up the drainage system here at Old Trafford; let's hope his claims are well-judged.
2:10pm - The Australian chap to my left now thinks we will at least get a 20-over match in. If he is positive then I am too. There is no sign of any more rain, which is great news for all concerned.
1:50pm - The toss has now officially been delayed - as if we did not know already - and there will be another inspection at 3pm. There is little else to add.
1:42pm - The good news is that the covers are starting to come off at Old Trafford. The outfield, in fairness, looks relatively dry too. An Australian journalist has just sat next to me and declared that it does not look too promising. I tend to think it looks quite nice out there now; that is the difference between being brought up in the north-east of England compared with Down Under.
1:30pm - Things are pretty frantic in the press box at the moment following the disappointing news of Mark Boucher's retirement from cricket due to the eye injury he sustained yesterday. On the field at Old Trafford, meanwhile, they have started clearing the rain off the covers yet I imagine there is a lot of work ahead.
1:20pm - The rain has stopped at Old Trafford and the clearing-up effort is under way. However, I am informed that there is some more heavy rain potentially heading in this direction at around 3:30pm, so things are looking rather bleak. All I can do is keep my fingers crossed while tucking into some sandwiches in the press box.
1pm - Good afternoon and welcome to Old Trafford where there is an all too familiar scene for cricket fans this summer. The covers are on and prospects of the scheduled 2pm start for the fifth and final NatWest Series one-day international look slim. England are aiming for their 10th straight ODI win and Australia, ranked number one in the world, are seeking to avoid a 4-0 scoreline.