Innings break England 302 for 7 (Bairstow 112, Billings 57, Woakes 53*) v Australia
A powerful century from Jonny Bairstow helped England overcome a terrible start to post a highly respectable total in the ODI decider against Australia at Emirates Old Trafford.
Bairstow struck an authoritative 112 from 126 balls after Mitchell Starc had reduced England to 2 for 0 within the first two balls of the match. Sam Billings contributed a valuable 57 in a fifth-wicket partnership with Bairstow worth 114, while some late swinging by Chris Woakes pushed England past the 300-mark and raised an unbeaten fifty for himself.
Adam Zampa continued his fruitful series, finishing with 3 for 51 after a miserly six-over opening spell in which he snared two of those wickets for just 22 runs. Zampa will finish the series, currently tied 1-1, with 10 wickets at 14.20.
Jason Roy fell first ball, sending Starc straight to Glenn Maxwell at backward point. So ended a lean home summer for Roy who scored 24, 0, 1 in the ODIs against Ireland and 3, 21 and 0 in this series. Starc compounded the blow on the next ball, trapping Joe Root lbw with one that swung in and struck the pad in line with leg stump.
Eoin Morgan survived the hat-trick ball and drove the next one beautifully for four through cover point, as he and Bairstow set about England’s recovery effort. Bairstow was in fine fettle, his timing sublime as he picked off Australia’s frontline seamers, seemingly at will, his pull shot particularly damaging. He clubbed Pat Cummins over the fence at cow corner and added seven fours en route to 41 off 32 balls.
At the end of the Powerplay England were 67 for 2 and Australia introduced leg-spinner Zampa to almost immediate effect when Morgan tried to loft him down the ground but failed to get under it and found Starc at mid-off.
Morgan’s dismissal forced Bairstow to put the brakes on slightly but he brought up his fifty from 48 balls with a four that went fine off Cummins.
Zampa struck again when he had Jos Buttler out for just 8 off 20, driving to Aaron Finch in the covers. It was Buttler’s highest score of the series, which yielded 12 runs from three innings in total following his Man-of-the-Series performance in the T20Is, where he played just two of the three fixtures.
Billings, who scored his maiden international century in a losing cause during the series opener, joined Bairstow and the pair formed a formidable union.
Starc conceded two sixes in as many overs to Billings, first over cow corner and then a deft hoick to fine leg where some of the England players and staff stood clapping with delight. They were applauding again when Billings sent Zampa to the boundary twice in the next over, bringing up his fifty in between with a pull to midwicket for two.
Bairstow brought up the 100-partnership off 112 balls in the same over with a single but he brought up his own century – his 10th in ODIs – in more emphatic fashion five balls later, whacking Cummins for six over square leg.
Billings was out top-edging a reverse sweep off Zampa to Mitch Marsh at short third man for 57 from 58 balls.
It took some spin from a seamer to end Bairstow’s knock when Cummins got one to turn into the batsman and clatter into the top of off stump via the gap between bat and pad.
Tom Curran threatened with 19 off as many balls, including a six off Starc, but Starc replied next ball with a beautiful in-swinging yorker that crashed into off stump. Starc was on the other end of a glorious six by Adil Rashid over square leg as Rashid added 11 from nine, while Woakes was 53 not out off just 39 balls.
England won the toss and chose to bat on a different pitch to the one used for the previous two matches, the first won by Australia and the second by England following the tourists’ monumental batting collapse in the face of some wonderful bowling by Jofra Archer, Woakes and Sam Curran.
Curran was left out for the decider, with England opting for the extra pace of Mark Wood, who recovered from the ankle problem that kept him out of the second match.
Australia were again without Steven Smith, who was hit on the head during training before the series began. Marcus Stoinis, who deputised at No. 3 in the first two matches, held his place as Finch explained before play that Smith had felt “groggy” and “not 100 percent” on Wednesday, six days after suffering the blow.