Centurions Glenn Maxwell and Alex Carey stitched together an epic partnership of over 200 runs to help Australia avenge their 2018 whitewash at the hands of England, winning the ODI series 2-1. At one stage, Australia were reeling at 73 for 5 in the series decider chasing a total of 303 runs.
Fresh pitch yet dozing senior English batsmen
Keeping the 2023 World Cup in mind, England's World Cup-winning skipper Eoin Morgan had opined the need for England to ace batting on slower tracks in lead up to the series. But as things turned out, it was an absolute horror show for most of the English batsmen, who now have got too accustomed to belters. The quartet of Jason Roy, Joe Root, Eoin Morgan and Jos Buttler had a shambolic series, which continued as they just made 31 runs combined among them in the series decider. Not only did they fail to turn up in the first two games, they didn't have wind in their sails even on a fresh flat pitch, on which they have grown to be the symbol of batting destructors in world cricket. To cut it short, it was akin to a club-esque display that too against arch-rivals, Australia. No wonder they lost the series.
Can you imagine Jos Buttler scoring less runs than Jofra Archer, Mitchell Starc and Pat Cummins in an ODI series? Butter just did that with 12 runs at 4. Still reminiscing Test exploits, Jos boy? Joe the gentleman Root, who rekindled a Test masterclass in the second ODI with 39 off 73, went a step ahead as he got uprooted on a golden duck. One could excuse him for not matching up the other big boys in batting in terms of destruction but now if he starts to fail even on slow and flat tracks, then where would captain Morgan run to hide his face? Not done Joe.
Jason Roy, who has been dozing off this year (102 runs @12.75) in ODIs, needs to realize he can't take a few more months to wake up and smell the coffee, and stop basking in the glory of the 2019 World Cup. He averaged 8 in the series. Oh captain, my captain, Eoin Morgan, one of the best white-ball captains, also failed to turn heads as he made 88 at 29.33, getting bamboozled by Adam Zampa in all the three games, following in the footsteps of Virat Kohli.
Australia and death bowling, well that was the joke
Australian bowling has been one of the undisputed reasons behind them being a good ODI side, despite not having a middle-order, I mean weak middle-order. Oh, I know you must be thinking about India as I wrote middle-order twice. But getting back to Australian bowling, until the last five overs, or till England's tail wagged, they were in the ascendancy in both the last two games. Today as well, some exceptional bowling from Mitchell Starc and Adam Zampa had meant that they had England by the scruff of their neck.
But just like the second ODI where they let the game drift away after England's ninth wicket added 76 runs, today the Kangaroos let the seventh and eight wicket partnerships to add 46 and 36 runs respectively. Talking about the last five overs, Australia leaked 53 runs, with Starc and Hazlewood getting schooled. Even in the last ODI where Australia handed over the game from jaws of victory, they had conceded 53 runs in the last 24 deliveries that had helped the Three Lions set-up a target of 232 runs on a two-paced wicket.
Considered a death over specialist with a slingy yorker up his sleeve, Mitchell Starc, who had taken two-in-two on the first two deliveries of the series decider erred in the last five overs of the English innings, gave 23 runs in his two overs. The left-armer had conceded 11 in the only over he delivered at the death in the second ODI. Hazewood gave 14 runs in the final over today, while Cummins conceded 18 runs in the penultimate over of the last game, which showcases that Australia need to sharpen up their death bowling if they don't want to throw their initial momentum into the mud.
The great Glenn Maxwell resurgence
When Glenn Maxwell walloped Adil Rashid for a humongous six that went into the second tier of the massive great red monolith, Nasser Hussain, who was on air that time, made a pertinent point saying that Maxwell can hit 9 out of 10 balls from Rashid like that, but when to do is what matters. Hussain summed up Maxwell's career in just a sentence. For a man as freakish as Maxwell, it's always about the responsibility that comes with the power of talent he has and that's where he has failed all his life. You must be wondering why I am sounding pessimistic just when the Big Show blasted England in all the nooks and corners of the park. Because the question is why the hell not consistently enough given what a gift he is to our wonderful game and how better it becomes when one of its maverick artists walks on the path of mastery.
Coming to the crease with Australia struggling at 73 for 5, chasing 303 runs in the series decider against world's no.1 side, which has been unbeaten at home since last half decade in bilateral ODI series, the right-hander batted like a man who didn't care or was at the peak of his artistry, unfazed, firing on all cylinders to play arguably his finest ODI century or knock yet, also helping the under-fire Alex Carey to ease into his knock like Mitchell Marsh in the first game, helping the Men in Yellow win an epic series.
The Big Show was under massive pressure to deliver in lead up to the series, having not made a fifty in last 10 ODIs, and having under performed in the preceding T20I series, but he was an instant hit as the 31-year-old had made 77 off just 59 to help Australia to winning total in the series opener. Rejoice Kings XI Punjab, the man on whom you broke the bank for is coming at the peak of his powers, but don't be delusional as you never know which Maxwell will turn up.