Sparkling centuries from Aaron Finch and Shaun Marsh helped Australia post 310 for 8 in the fourth ODI at Chester-le-Street against England in their bid for salvation having already lost the series.
After suffering their biggest ODI loss in the previous game, a battered Australian outfit brought back Nathan Lyon into their XI and sent Finch up the order once again. The move didn’t seem to work initially with Finch looking tentative in the powerplay as David Willey found some swing early on to keep the batsmen on their toes.
Travis Head finally opened up after Australia had made 28 in the first six overs. He hit a beautiful straight drive off Mark Wood in the seventh over and followed it up with one more off the final delivery. He reserved some special treatment for the debutant Craig Overton by picking three fours off his first over to round off the powerplay on a high.
The scoring rate dropped slightly for a while with Joe Root slipping in some tight overs and before Head could press on the accelerator, England made the breakthrough at the right time. Once the partnership went past 100, Adil Rashid’s half-tracker found the fielder at deep square leg much to Head’s frustration. Finch took charge post Head’s dismissal as he deposited Rashid over the midwicket fence and reached his fifty at the halfway mark. One more six off the legspinner followed even though Root and Moeen Ali were tidy at the other end.
But with nine wickets in hand and 17 overs left in the innings, Marsh and Finch, who had already 67 by then, started to open up by finding boundaries at regular intervals. Overton’s day went from bad to worse as Finch hammered him for another six to move into the nineties and eventually reached three figures for the sixth time against England in his career. He failed to convert it into a big hundred by departing immediately after. England fought back with one more wicket as Wood also got rid off Marcus Stoinis in the same over.
The two wickets hurt Australia as they needed set batsmen for the final ten overs. While Marsh was going strong, he couldn’t get support at the other end. The 47th over proved to be a much-needed one for the Australians with Marsh going berserk against Rashid to slam two fours and two sixes to bring up his second hundred of the series. Things changed rapidly in the very next over though with Willey striking thrice, which meant that Australia just about managed to go past 300.
Brief scores: Australia 310/8 in 50 overs (Shaun Marsh 101, Aaron Finch 100; David Willey 4-43, Mark Wood 2-49) vs England.
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