Aussie begin rebuild

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After a humbling Ashes defeat, Australia entered the ODI portion of their UK tour. It was a fine series; Australia carried their World Cup momentum to lead 2-0, England won the next two, including a 600 run classic at Headingley, with the Aussies clinching the series win a big win at Manchester.

While a one-day series may seem inconsequential after the Ashes loss, it’s an important building block for the future. Remember 2013, when Australia – and Mitchell Johnson – used the ODI series to prepare for the 2013/14 Ashes. With Michael Clarke, Chris Rogers and Shane Watson retiring, the ODIs were an audition for Test places, starting in Bangladesh next month and a home summer against New Zealand and the West Indies. The Kiwis should be competitive (they won the Hobart Test in 2011), but the struggling Windies will be fodder for the hungry Aussies.

SOUTHAMPTON: Australia opened the series with a comfortable win at Southhampton. Defending 305, Australia’s pace trio of  Nathan Coulter-Nile (2/39), Pat Cummins (2/48) and Mitchell Starc (2/55) dismissed England for 246 in 45.3 overs.  Shane Watson chipped in with 2/39. England looked strong at 1/112 before Jason Roy (67) fell. James Taylor (49) and captain Eoin Morgan (38) provided some support. Australia’s innings was built upon the top three: openers David Warner (59) and Joe Burns (44) complied 76, with 44 from captain Steve Smith and 23 from George Bailey. Australia were 6/193 before Matthew Wade (71*) and Mitch Marsh (40*) added an unbeaten 112 in the last 13 overs.

LORD’S: Australia went 2-0 up with another big win. Similar to Southampton, Australia exceeded 300 batting first and contained England’s chase. Morgan’s 85, Taylor’s 43 and Roy’s 31 were the only resistance to Cummins’ 4/56 from 8.3 overs. Smith (70), Mitch Marsh (64) and Bailey (54) scored half centuries, supported by Glen Maxwell (49) and Watson (39). Smith and Bailey compiled 99 for the second wicket. The only negative for Australia was Warner fracturing his thumb, missing the rest of the series and the Bangladesh tour.

MANCHESTER: England struck back with a 93-run win at Old Trafford. This time, England batted first and made 8/300. Taylor scored a century (101), with fifties from Roy (63) and Morgan (62), Taylor and Morgan sharing a 119-run third wicket stand. Australia were well positioned at 2/106 after 21 overs when Aaron Finch (53) fell. A rearguard 42 from Wade delayed the inevitable.

HEADINGLEY; England tied the series with a three-wicket win in the closest game so far. Chasing 300, England won with 10 balls to spare. Captain Morgan hit 92, supported by Ben Stokes (41), Taylor (41), Roy (36) and Johnny Bairstow (31).Cummins (4/49) took his second four-wicket haul of the series. Australia were in trouble at 3-30 before Maxwell (85) and Bailey (75) compiled 137 in 21 overs. Wade again made a valuable late-order half-century (50*).putting on an unbeaten 84 for the eight wicket with John Hastings (34*).

MANCHESTER: Australia secured the series win a comfortable eight-wicket win. Chasing 139, Finch (70*) and Bailey (41*) compiled an unbeaten 109 for the third wicket as Australia reached 2/140 in 24.2 overs. Earlier Mitch Marsh (4/27) and  Hastings (3/21) dismissed England for 139 in 33 overs. England captain Morgan suffered a nasty blow to the head from Starc and retired hurt for 1. The injury deeply affected the Australians, especially Starc, still carrying the memory of Phil Hughes.

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