Twin tons but Aussies still hammered
JUST two days after being hammered in to near one-day oblivion Australia took its turn at record making only to be quickly put back in their box by another outstanding English batting effort which continued the tourists' epic 50-over fall from grace.
Already 3-0 down in a series which has turned in to a no-contest the Aussies thought they had posted a good total after Tim Paine won the toss, for the fourth straight time, and batted on a sunny day at the Chester Le Street ground in northern England.
Twin centuries to Aaron Finch (100), who returned to the top of the order, and Shaun Marsh (101), who smashed his second three-figure effort for the series, were the backbone of the Aussie charge to 8-310, the highest ever one-day international score at the venue.
But in the foothills of 600-year-old Lumley Castle, now a hotel where Shane Watson and Brett Lee were once so spooked by spirits they slept in the same bed, Australia's bowlers endured their own fright night, with the ghosts of Trent Bridge coming back to haunt them.
Watched by Cricket Australia chairman David Peever and high performance boss Pat Howard, who both also witnessed the nightmare in Nottingham on Tuesday when England racked up a world record 481, the tourist's inexperienced attack was taken apart early yet again
It wasn't quite as big a smashing, but England still reeled in the total with more than five overs to spare to win by six wickets on the back of a blistering start from openers Jason Roy (101 off 83 balls) and Jonny Bairstow (79 off 66) who were unrelenting.
Backing up from the onslaught just two days later was always going to be difficult, but given they had 310 runs to defend the bowling stocks, minus AJ Tye who went for 100 at Trent Bridge and was dropped, but with spinner Nathan Lyon for the first time, should have held out some sort of hope.
But it was gone within the first four overs as Billy Stanlake got the Tye treatment, going for 26 runs in his opening 12 balls. Michael Neser, brought in as Tye's replacement, copped it late and his figures blew out to 0-74, off just 8.4 overs, as Jos Buttler (54 off 29 balls) got his team home.
Lyon, who hadn't played in the series before the dead-rubber, was brought on as Stanlanke's replacement, in just the sixth over, and his first ball dispatched for four.
England was ahead in the run chase by the third over and never looked back. They got to 100 five overs before Australia did, and 150 ten overs before the tourists, a marker of the stark difference in batting adventure.
Aussie skipper Paine had no answers at all. He used his fifth bowler, Ashton Agar, before 10 overs were up, and early wickets Australia needed to be any chance in the game did not come.
The young Aussie bowlers fought back and the run rate slowed down after the openers disappeared, but it was too late, then Buttler finished with a flurry.
Lyon, playing his first ODI since 2016, eventually dismissed Roy and Agar grabbed a couple also to take Australia's spin haul to four wickets for the series. England's slow bowlers by contrast have 19, and again restricted the Aussie batting, despite the visitors getting past 300 for the second time in three games.
Glenn Maxwell was left out with a sore shoulder, which he hurt while trying to stop one of the 62 boundaries England smashed at Trent Bridge, and D'Arcy Short was dropped after two disappointing efforts with the bat with Alex Carey his replacement.
Finch returned to his customary position at the top of the order, and his 100 was his sixth in just 23 innings against England, while Marsh, a surprise selection for this series, took his run tally in the four game to 280.
But the tourists are now down 4-0, have lost eight of the past nine games to England and 15 of the past 17 completed one day matches.
They head to Manchester for a match on Sunday which will tell a heck of a lot about the character of the men new coach Justin Langer picked to rebuild Australia's cricketing reputation and who, if any, want to come back in 10 month's time to defend the World Cup crown.
A FINCH lbw Wood 100
T HEAD c Willey b Rashid 63
S MARSH c Overton b Willey 101
M STOINIS b Wood 1
A AGAR c Buttler b Rashid 19
A CAREY c Overton b Willey 6
T PAINE lbw Willey 3
M NESER c Buttler b Willey 2
J RICHARDSON not out 5
N LYON not out 3
Sundries (3lb 4w) 7
Eight wickets for 310 Fall: 101 (Head), 225 (Finch), 227 (Stoinis), 256 (Agar), 296 (Carey), 296 (Marsh), 299 (Neser), 305 (Paine).
Bowling: M Wood 9-1-49-2 (2w), D Willey 7-0-43-4, J Root 10-0-44-0 (1w), C Overton 7-0-55-0, A Rashid 10-0-73-2 (1w), M Ali 7-0-43-0.
Batting time: 188 mins. Overs: 50.
J ROY c Marsh b Lyon 101
J BAIRSTOW c Paine b Stanlake 79
A HALES not out 34
J ROOT b Agar 27
E MORGAN c Paine b Agar 15
J BUTTLER not out 54
Sundries (1b 2w 1nb) 4
Four wickets for 314 Fall: 174 (Roy), 183 (Bairstow), 228 (Root), 244 (Morgan).
Bowling: M Neser 8.4-0-74-0 (1w 1nb), B Stanlake 8-0-54-1, N Lyon 7-0-38-1, J Richardson 7-0-58-0, A Agar 8-0-48-2, M Stoinis 6-0-41-0 (1w).
Batting time: 179 mins. Overs: 44.4.
Umpires: Marais Erasmus (RSA), Michael Gough (ENG).
Match Referee: Ranjan Madugalle (SRI).
Third Umpire: Kumar Dharmasena (SRL).
Result: England won by 6 wickets Man of the Match: Jason Roy