Finn finishes off Australia's chances
Australia 200-9 England 201-2 (England win by eight wickets): Fast bowler leads the way as England sweep to ninth straight one-day win and also take series
England defeated Australia yesterday to win the fourth one-day international and with it the NatWest Series. At this rate, administrators will have to start asking if it is really worth continuing these one-sided contests or encourage more robust opponents, such as Bangladesh.
If the toss was significant, with the pitch granting appreciable seam movement, England took full advantage of it. They have clearly been the superior team in this series, winning all three games to have been played in some comfort whether batting or bowling.
This victory, with 13 balls left, was their ninth in succession, a record sequence for any England team, and it gave them their seventh successive one-day series win at home. Australia have played nothing like the No 1-ranked side in the world, a status they will continue to hold.
Steve Finn, bowling like the wind, took four wickets yesterday and was twice on a hat-trick. But he was but one member of an attack that applied relentless pressure from the start. On this form, it is becoming increasingly difficult to sanction Finn's exclusion from England's first-choice Test XI.
In the event Australia, from 96 for 6 in the 33rd over, made more than they ought to have done. But their total of 200 for 9 was easily hunted down. Ian Bell and Alastair Cook assembled an opening partnership of 70, their third above 50 since being paired last month on Kevin Pietersen's retirement. Bell, who has transformed his limited-overs career, made a sumptuous 69 and could be faulted only for failing to go on to a hundred. By the time he chopped on innocuously to Clint McKay the match and a 3-0 lead for England were all but secured.
All this may have no bearing whatever on the destiny of the Ashes next year but all the available evidence suggests that Australia must conjure up a couple of hitherto unknown champions if they are to have a prayer. Everything that could go wrong went wrong yesterday, from the toss to injuries to two key bowlers, Brett Lee and Shane Watson.
It was a triumph for the groundsmanship and high-quality drainage that the match went ahead. The Emirates pitch, like much of the north east, had been under water for most of the week. but the ground staff turned up for work at 3am, when the storm finally relented, and the match started on time at 10.45. England had no hesitation in inviting the tourists to bat and Australia must have known what was coming.
It duly arrived. Jimmy Anderson and Finn were irrepressible and they could have struck several times before Finn broke through in the sixth over. Dave Warner, who had already been worked over by the seam movement, nudged across the line and was struck low on the pads in front of middle stump. Given not out, the inevitable review confirmed what only umpire Nigel Llong doubted.
Next ball, Peter Forrest was half-forward to one that cut back at him and if it was less clear cut it was still hitting. The hat-trick ball seared through Michael Clarke's defences but somehow missed the stumps.
Watson and Clarke tried to repair the damage with characteristic Aussie doggedness but England allowed them no freedom to score. Watson chopped on to Tim Bresnan and George Bailey was bowled by a beauty from Ravi Bopara, of all people, which moved and bounced sharply.
Clarke, who had three escapes, had his vigil ended by Finn, and Matthew Wade's inside edge was spectacularly taken at the second attempt by Craig Kieswetter. That might have been that but David Hussey marshalled the tail expertly and played the grittiest of innings – 70 from 73 balls was electrifying in the circumstances – to take Australia to a total that might have tested England.
Bell and Cook played with calm authority as Australia offered far too much in the way of poor-length balls. It was a surprise when Cook drove tamely to cover and a bigger one when Bell misjudged an attempted run to third man. But it was a chase custom-made for Jonathan Trott, who never had to move out of second gear, and Bopara did his Test claims no harm at all. It was expertly done. Almost routine.
England won toss
S R Watson b Bresnan 28/1/2/54
D A Warner lbw b Finn 2/0/0/19
P J Forrest lbw b Finn 0/0/0/1
*M J Clarke b Finn 43/0/4/85
G J Bailey b Bopara 9/0/1/10
D J Hussey c Anderson b Bresnan 70/0/9/73
†M S Wade c Kieswetter b Finn 0/0/0/1
B Lee c Broad b Anderson 27/1/2/41
C J McKay c Bresnan b Anderson 6/0/1/11
J L Pattinson not out 8/0/0/6
B W Hilfenhaus not out 0/0/0/0
Extras (lb2 w4 nb1): 7
Total (for 9, 50 overs): 200
Fall 1-6, 2-6, 3-57, 4-68, 5-96, 6-96, 7-166, 8-174, 9-194.
Bowling J M Anderson 10-3-34-2, S T Finn 10-2-37-4, T T Bresnan 9-0-46-2, S C J Broad 9-1-34-0, R S Bopara 9-0-29-1, S R Patel 3-0-18-0.
*A N Cook c sub b McKay 29/0/5/46
I R Bell b McKay 69/0/9/94
I J L Trott not out 64/0/4/102
R S Bopara not out 33/0/3/47
Extras (w4, nb2): 6
Total (for 2, 47.5 overs): 201
Fall 1-70, 2-136.
Did Not Bat E J G Morgan, †C Kieswetter, S R Patel, T T Bresnan, S C J Broad, S T Finn, J M Anderson.
Bowling B Lee 2.2-1-12-0, B W Hilfenhaus 9.4-0-36-0, C J McKay 10-1-29-2, J L Pattinson 10-1-46-0, S R Watson 1-0-5-0, M J Clarke 5-0-17-0, D J Hussey 8.5-0-48-0, D A Warner 1-0-8-0.
Umpires M Erasmus (SA) and N J Llong (Eng).
TV Umpire Aleem Dar (Pak). Match referee: J Srinath (Ind).
England win by 8 wkts and lead five-match series 3-0.
Man of the match S T Finn (Eng).
Gareth Bale reveals the two things he hates about Real Madrid: 'Getting nutmegged and Spanish spiders'
Cristiano Ronaldo: Real Madrid superstar 'sends his hair stylist to look after his waxwork once a month'
Six things we learnt: Louis van Gaal is watching a different Manchester United; Henderson becoming the genuine heir to Gerrard
Terminally-ill Club Brugge fan Lorenzo Schoonbaert delays euthanasia appointment to see his beloved football club 'win one last time'
Steven Gerrard tribute match: An alternative XI the Liverpool player wouldn't want crashing the Anfield party
- 1 What happens to your body when you give up sugar?
- 2 Have sex with your iPad thanks to the new sex toy no-one asked for
- 3 The 'sex selfie stick' lets you FaceTime the inside of a vagina
- 4 Why you're almost certainly more like your father than your mother
Durham Free School: 'Creationism taught at' free school facing closure
Nearly 100,000 of Britain's poorest children go hungry after parents' benefits are cut
End of the licence fee: BBC to back radical overhaul of how it is funded
Nigel Farage promises Ukip will not 'stigmatise' would-be migrants – and says he wants 'everyone to speak the same language'
Ex-head of MI6: 'We shouldn't kid ourselves that Russia is on a path to democracy'
Most people think legal tax avoidance is just as wrong as illegal tax evasion, poll suggests