England succumb to ODI series whitewash to Australia in 221-run defeat

Down and out: England  (Getty Images)
Down and out: England (Getty Images)

England vice-captain Moeen Ali had described the timing of the ODI series against Australia as “horrible”.

The same might have been said about his side’s performance in the finale to a series which, in truth, should never have happened, played to its sorry denouement in front of a smattering of fans at the MCG.

It was a performance in stark contrast to their brilliance a few days earlier at the T20 World Cup, their bowlers wayward and their batsmen guilty of some horrid shot-making.

This was the most chastening of losses in what was a series whitewash, the end coming with England 221 runs short of Australia’s total and with 18 overs left to play.

Jos Buttler was made to pay for putting Australia into bat as Travis Head and David Warner made 269 for the first wicket, Warner the quieter understudy in his 106 off 102 as Head bludgeoned 152 from 130.

Of England’s bowlers, only Chris Woakes was remotely economical but still went at more than a run a ball. Olly Stone was costly but took four wickets, notably the opening pair in quick succession.

First, Stone had Warner caught in the deep by David Willey before bowling Head. But it only briefly curtailed the damage as Australia comfortably eclipsed their ODI record at the MCG for 355-5 off 48 overs.

In a revised target under the Duckworth Lewis method, England were never in contention for the 364 required to win.

Dawid Malan was removed by a good diving catch by Alex Carey off Josh Hazlewood while Jason Roy, perhaps the sole England batsman to look in good touch, was the next man out, trapped lbw by Cummins for 33.

From there, the resistance crumbled as Adam Zampa took three wickets in as many overs on his introduction to the attack to leave England heading to a certain defeat. Rash shots allied with an excellent pace-spin bowl attack eventually saw England all out for 142.

While it leaves England coach Matthew Mott and his captain Buttler with plenty to ponder, the one-sided nature of the series not to mention the lack of spectators in the stands should give even greater food for thought to the two cricket boards involved over the scheduling of these three ODIs.