England extended their unbeaten ODI record to ten consecutive matches, reaching their target of 138 with 11 balls to spare. Captain Alistair Cook made a solid 58 and handy all-rounder and man of the match Ravi Bopara finished the game with an unbeaten 52 with the bat and 2 for 8 with the ball. For the Aussies, only George Bailey contributed any runs of note with 46 from 41 balls.
The English have simply been too good, both with bat and ball throughout the 5 match ODI series and only a washed out match in Birmingham saved the Aussies from surrendering their No. 1 world ranking in the 50 over format. The English have a number of world class batsmen in Alistair Cook and Jonathan Trott, as well as a resurgent Ian Bell and an impressive pace battery led brilliantly by James Anderson.
It will be a bitter pill for captain Michael Clarke to swallow as it is his first series defeat as the man in charge. Clarke recognizes the Aussies have plenty of work to do before the Ashes saying "Our one-day cricket hasn't been as consistent as it needs to be if we want to stay at the top of the table. We have a lot of work to do as a one day team, that's for sure. We need to play better cricket."
Whilst disappointed with the efforts of his team, Clarke also praised the performance of the English admitting, "I think a lot of credit needs to go to England. They have outplayed us in all four matches. They have been very consistent. Their bowlers have bowled with patience and discipline and their batters have made runs"
Both things the Aussies have failed to do. Not one of their batsmen played a really dominant innings and the Aussies lost wickets with regularity in all 4 matches. Their bowlers, possibly bar Clint McKay, lacked any punch or incision and surely there are a number of spots, both batsmen and bowlers up for grabs in the Australian team heading into the all-important Ashes series in 2013.
Australia will now travel to the United Arab Emirates for a three-match ODI series and a three-match Twenty20 series against Pakistan.
Adam Schoenmaker is a high school chaplain in the northern suburbs of Brisbane for three days each week and serves two days a week in his local church. Adam loves a good book, a classic album and all Queensland sporting teams.
Adam Schoenmaker archive of articles can be viewed at www.pressserviceinternational.org/adam-schoenmaker.html