ODI series: Alastair Cook's England find yet another way to lose as normal service resumes

Australia win by five runs to secure 4-1 one-day series victory

Adelaide Oval

Just when you thought it might be safe for England to go back on the field, they crumbled again on Sunday. Two wins in three days would have been pushing it after such a wretched tour and they duly found another way to lose a match they should have won at a canter.

For three months, the tourists had shown all manner of ways to fold against rivals who had virtually forgotten what defeat was like and have no wish to be reacquainted with it. But the failure to chase down a target of 218 to win the fifth one-day international was a fresh twist on a familiar theme.

At most stages of the pursuit they were in control. The pitch was slow and did not yield runs lightly but it was a matter of rotating the strike and eschewing risk. Easy-peasy lemon squeezy, they must have been thinking in the dressing room.

But poor strokes from two batsmen who were firmly entrenched, Joe Root and Eoin Morgan, and a strangely benign innings from  Ravi Bopara which ended controversially left them with too much to do. They fell five  runs short, bowled out in the final over.

After the jubilation of the solitary victory in Perth on Friday it was akin to the resumption of the winter’s normal service. For Alastair Cook, the captain, it was a typically horrid end to a grotesque trip.

Cook walks off after prodding a Nathan Coulter-Nile delivery to cover Cook walks off after prodding a Nathan Coulter-Nile delivery to cover He will fly home today – leaving the Twenty20 specialists to play three matches as warm ups before the World Twenty20 in March – and has plenty to ponder. His wife, Alice, is due to give birth to the couple’s first child in March, the lambing season will soon be in full swing on the family farm and he must shortly discuss the way forward for England and several of their players, particularly Kevin Pietersen.

England will name their squad for the World T20 in Bangladesh sometime next week. If Pietersen is omitted, that will virtually mean the end of his career. If he makes the 15 it may mean that yet another extraordinary rapprochement has been affected (or it may be that they can put up with him in Bangladesh but not beyond).

There is much then for Cook to dwell on but as he said last night after England went down 4-1 in the one-day series to follow their 5-0 Ashes whitewash, it is time for him to put the pads away for a couple of weeks. He denied that he was exhausted by the events of the previous three months but if not, a few new lambs and a new baby  will ensure that position is  rectified.

The result of this series will be forgiven, not to mention forgotten, if and when England return to Australasia next year and mount a serious challenge for the World Cup. Nor is this beyond them.

They will have to adapt much more quickly than they managed here but then they will not also be trying to rid themselves of an Ashes hangover. To compensate for the loss there was abundant compensation in the form of Ben Stokes, Jos Butler and Chris Jordan.

In all sport, it is always delightful to watch the future unfold before your eyes. That is what has happened with this embryonic England team in the last few weeks.

Stokes has emerged as a player with a big-match temperament which is accompanied by a dash of flair and that unfathomable quality of making things happen. He took another three wickets yesterday to confirm his rapid progress as a fast bowler.

The Australian team celebrate after the end of the ODI series The Australian team celebrate after the end of the ODI series Buttler was among the  culpable batsmen, pulling a long hop to deep but he has had a splendid series. England are worried about rushing him into affairs for which he is  not ready. The selectors should instead find some of his boldness.

Few can have expected  Jordan to make the impression he has in the past month. His selection was as much hunch as careful design but he bowls properly fast and has just enough movement to concern any batsmen. A little wobble is more probing than extravagant shifts.

The batting of Morgan should have been monitored closely. He made a poor error of judgement yesterday when he ought to have seen England home but throughout the bulk of the one-day series has been a model of maturity, calmness and skill. Should Pietersen really be unwanted for the future then Morgan may yet resume a Test career which has yet to fulfil its initial promise.

The middle batting  cupboard is not as bare as it spin counterpart but at 28 Morgan may have his best years immediately ahead of him. It is to be hoped he may reach some sort of  compromise about his participation in the Indian Premier League so he can make some early season Championship runs to press his case. After all, it is one thing saying how much playing Test cricket means to you and another demonstrating it.

The defeat yesterday was all that England ultimately deserved. They bowled well on an astonishingly sluggish surface and seized the  initiative.

Gallery: How England rated in the One-Day International series

 

Cook made his fourth score above 20 in the series but again failed to go on, prodding to cover. But the pairing of Morgan and Root for the fourth wicket seemed to put England in the clear.

Morgan drove loosely to mid-off, Root’s overhead lap went straight to short fine leg. Bopara was too becalmed, failing to find the gaps. He was unfortunate to be adjudged out stumped after the ball ricocheted off wicketekeeper Matthew Wade’s pads (another indifferent decision by Kumar Dharmasena as third umpire) but had left himself with much to do.

The end came with three balls remaining. England have one series left, of three T20s, to salvage something from the wreckage of the winter. Cook will be glad to have bailed out at last.

Suggested Topics
News
Food blogger and Guardian writer Jack Monroe with her young son
people
News
people
News
peopleSinger tells The Independent what life is like in rehab in an exclusive video interview
Arts and Entertainment
booksPhotographer Richard Young has been snapping celebrities at play for 40 years - but he says it wasn’t all fun and games...
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
i100
Sport
Aguero - who single-handedly has kept City's Champions League dreams alive - celebrates his dramatic late winner
footballManchester City 3 Bayern Munich 2: Argentine's late hat-rick sees home side snatch vital victory
News
Muhammad Ali pictured in better health in 2006
peopleBut he has enjoyed publicity from his alleged near-death experience
Arts and Entertainment
Tony breaks into Ian Garrett's yacht and makes a shocking discovery
TVReview: Revelations continue to make this drama a tough watch
News
news
Arts and Entertainment
TV
News
The assumption that women are not as competent in leadership positions as men are leads to increased stress in the workplace
science... and it's down to gender stereotypes
Life and Style
The racy marketing to entice consumers to buy Fairlife, which launches in the US next month
food + drink
Arts and Entertainment
Inner sanctum: Tove Jansson and friends in her studio in 1992
booksWhat was the inspiration for Finland's most famous family?
News
i100
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

Homeless Veterans Christmas Appeal: Drifting and forgotten - turning lives around for ex-soldiers

Homeless Veterans Christmas Appeal: Turning lives around for ex-soldiers

Our partner charities help veterans on the brink – and get them back on their feet
Putin’s far-right ambition: Think-tank reveals how Russian President is wooing – and funding – populist parties across Europe to gain influence in the EU

Putin’s far-right ambition

Think-tank reveals how Russian President is wooing – and funding – populist parties across Europe to gain influence in the EU
Tove Jansson's Moominland: What was the inspiration for Finland's most famous family?

Escape to Moominland

What was the inspiration for Finland's most famous family?
Nightclubbing with Richard Young: The story behind his latest book of celebrity photographs

24-Hour party person

Photographer Richard Young has been snapping celebrities at play for 40 years. As his latest book is released, he reveals that it wasn’t all fun and games
Michelle Obama's school dinners: America’s children have a message for the First Lady

A taste for rebellion

US children have started an online protest against Michelle Obama’s drive for healthy school meals by posting photos of their lunches
Colouring books for adults: How the French are going crazy for Crayolas

Colouring books for adults

How the French are going crazy for Crayolas
Jack Thorne's play 'Hope': What would you do as a local politician faced with an impossible choice of cuts?

What would you do as a local politician faced with an impossible choice of cuts?

Playwright Jack Thorne's latest work 'Hope' poses the question to audiences
Ed Harcourt on Romeo Beckham and life as a court composer at Burberry

Call me Ed Mozart

Paloma Faith, Lana del Ray... Romeo Beckham. Ed Harcourt has proved that he can write for them all. But it took a personal crisis to turn him from indie star to writer-for-hire
10 best stocking fillers for foodies

Festive treats: 10 best stocking fillers for foodies

From boozy milk to wasabi, give the food-lover in your life some extra-special, unusual treats to wake up to on Christmas morning
Phil Hughes head injury: He had one weakness – it has come back to haunt him

Phil Hughes had one weakness – it has come back to haunt him

Prolific opener had world at his feet until Harmison and Flintoff bounced him
'I have an age of attraction that starts as low as four': How do you deal with a paedophile who has never committed a crime?

'I am a paedophile'

Is our approach to sex offenders helping to create more victims?
How bad do you have to be to lose a Home Office contract?

How bad do you have to be to lose a Home Office contract?

Serco given Yarl’s Wood immigration contract despite ‘vast failings’
Green Party on the march in Bristol: From a lost deposit to victory

From a lost deposit to victory

Green Party on the march in Bristol
Putting the grot right into Santa's grotto

Winter blunderlands

Putting the grot into grotto
'It just came to us, why not do it naked?' London's first nude free runner captured in breathtaking images across capital

'It just came to us, why not do it naked?'

London's first nude free runner captured in breathtaking images across capital