With the Edgebaston match rained out on Sept 11 and England winning at Cardiff last Saturday Sept 14 to level the series 1:1, all eyes were on the final ODI at Southampton last Monday Sept 16.
A shower delayed the start until 2.00pm, and another 20 minutes were lost to rain an hour later, but generally the weather was good. Australia won the toss and decided to bat.
For Australia to play the final ODI at Southampton, where they won the T20 just a few weeks ago, must have given them a good feeling.
After losing the three quick wickets of Phillip Hughes for 2 runs, Aaron Finch 26 and Matthew Wade 0, it was Shane Watson and Michael Clarke to the rescue taking the Australians to 211, before Clarke was out for 75 runs. His replacement George Bailey was stumped by Jos Buttler for 4 making the total 225 for 5. Then Adam Voges, who joined century maker Watson, only stayed a short time and was out for 8.
Australia’s run rate slowed instead of accelerating, but then a big 44th over for Watson, hitting 28 off the over with three sixes and two fours off Joe Root, changed the face of the game again.
Watson having played a masterful match-winning innings was caught by Buttler off the bowling of Ben Stokes for 143 in the 45th over with the total on 282 for seven. The last three wickets fell for 16 runs and Australia were all out for 298 with just a few balls of their 50 overs remaining.
England with two run-outs (Kevin Pietersen and Luke Wright) and a charge down the pitch stumping (Eoin Morgan), set the scene for a well deserved Australian victory in the match and the series.
None of the recognised English batsmen really got going and the slow run rate in the early part of the match left too much to achieve as the overs ticked past.
The Buttler/Ravi Bopara partnership of 90 that took the score from 105-5 to 195-6 was the highlight of the England innings. When Buttler was out the match was all but over, but the final straw was when Bopara hammered a Mitchell Johnson ball to mid-off and Voges hung onto the catch. At 197-7 and needing 102 off 60 balls, the task was too great and the England innings finished at 249-10 leaving Australia the winners of the match and series.
Australia who were put into bat in the fourth ODI match at Cardiff and set England a target of 228, immediately struck at the heart of England’s batting line-up with opening bowler MacKay taking the wickets of Pietersen, Jonathan Trott and Root in successive balls in only the second over to leave the home side shell-shocked at 8 for 3 wickets.
But opener Michael Carberry and Morgan piled on a partnership of 105 before Morgan fell for 53 and Carberry left three overs later for 63.
Bopara only scored seven runs. But Buttler and Stokes took the score to 219 for 7 before Stokes was bowled by Clint MacKay for 25 on the first ball of the 49th over, leaving England to get nine runs off 11 balls.
James Tredwell, after missing three balls, got a single off the fifth ball. But Buttler, needing the strike in the last over, just managed to get a single off a leg bye. Seven runs needed from the last six balls and Buttler who finished on 65 not out hit a huge six off the first ball and then a four to finish the match in style. England won by three wickets.
Earlier at bat, Australia struggled in the early session against seamers Steven Finn and Boyd Rankin, Finch went for 0, Watson 6, Shaun Marsh 25 and Clarke for 22 leaving the visitors on 57 for 4. Voges scored 30. Then Bailey and Wade took the total to 210 in the 43rd over before Wade was out for 36. James Faulkner was run out in the same over for 7. Johnson was out for 4, then Bailey was caught off Rankin for 87 in the 46th over. The final wicket fell after 49.2 overs leaving Australia all out 227.
This concluded the Australia 2013 cricket tour to England, which saw England dominate the Test Series winning 3-0, honours were even in the two T20’s and in the 5-match ODI series Australia regained some pride with a 2-1 win in a rain affected series.