Buttler serves up series success for England

by Garry Watts January 22, 2018, 1:28
Buttler serves up series success for England

Jos Buttler's magnificent century steered England to a series-clinching victory in the third one-day worldwide against Australia.

With Buttler unbeaten on 70 and his side on a 254-6 with just three overs remaining, England were looking at a decidedly mediocre total. but then the fireworks began.

Wood conceded only two runs from the last two balls of his over and once Woakes had Stoinis caught by Alex Hales out on the midwicket, England could dream of their series victory.

Steve Smith will stay at No.4 for the remainder of the one-day series against England, but the Australian captain says he needs to recapture his own form at the crease.

The 27-year-old started patiently and his first half-century took 52 balls, while the next 50 took just 31 balls.

England were stymied by accurate Australian bowling as their powerful batting order could not score a boundary for more than 10 overs in a complete contrast to their belligerence during the opening two games. He has 38 sixes in final five overs in ODIs since 2013, the most by any batsman.

Australia's captain Steven Smith has called for an end to the practice of on-field umpires offering a "soft signal" to the third umpire on disputed catches, arguing that technology should be arbiter in such cases as the immediate reactions of players in the middle have often proven to be flawed.

Wood and Buttler had earlier combined to dismiss dangerman Smith, brilliantly caught low down by the wicketkeeper and given out on the field, a decision confirmed after an agonising series of video playbacks and much to Smith's displeasure.

Marsh looked to counter attack by targeting Adil Rashid, but holed out to long on off the leg-spinner - who earlier trapped the risky Finch lbw - leaving Australia having to rebuild when they should have been accelerating.

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Josh Hazlewood (2/58) bowled well for the Aussies.

Each offered a threat with their pace and accuracy, ensuring England's batsmen were never able to settle, even after getting starts.

Buttler's first task was to rebuild alongside Morgan (41 off 50), the duo combining for a steady 65 runs in a little over 12 overs to hand England a base from which to tee off at the backend.

"I think I'll probably do it for the rest of the series", Smith said, after having batted at No.3 since mid-2016.

"We've got to try and find ways to get over the line".

Morgan said the target now is to win the series 5-0.

Australia reinstalled their spinner Adam Zampa, and the leggie justified his selection with a stunning wrong-un that bamboozled England opener Jonny Bairstow and cleaned up his stumps.

On his controversial dismissal: "I was given out so I had to get off the field".

"The three big Test quicks (are back) so a good opportunity for them to hopefully stamp their authority and help us win a game of cricket", Smith said.

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