Clarke's acceleration seals thrilling win
Australia 8 for 334 (Clarke 82, Johnson 57) beat England 6 for 333 (Trott 137) by two wickets
The boos from Brisbane turned to cheers in Sydney as Michael Clarke helped Australia hunt down a record 334, their highest successful chase, by two wickets with four balls to spare at the SCG. However, it was a tense finish after Clarke was run out for 82 with seven needed but John Hastings and Brett Lee held their nerve to see the home side across the line and leave a weary England with plenty of soul-searching to do
That will be particularly true of Jonathan Trott, who was involved in key pieces of action in the closing stages after earlier scoring a career-best 137 to anchor England's highest score in Australia and their highest total in a defeat. Then, in the space of five balls, he lost and almost won the match with two contrasting pieces of fielding. Firstly he failed to hold onto Clarke's clip at short fine-leg which burst through his hands for four, but he then produced a pin-point throw to find the Australian captain short as he came back for a second.
It was the third wicket to fall quickly with Australia faltering as the target approached. David Hussey edged behind against Steven Finn to end a key stand of 90 in 11 overs with Clarke - including 50 runs from the batting Powerplay - and Steven Smith, batting with a runner after a hip injury that has ruled him out of Perth, was run out after a chaotic mix-up. However, Hastings edged the winning runs down to fine leg off Chris Woakes - although there was still confusion as the umpires didn't realise the match was over. A match of 667 runs can frazzle the mind.
Australia's top order had laid the foundations in the chase as Shane Watson butchered a 32-ball fifty and Mitchell Johnson responded to his promotion to No. 4 with a well-made 57. As is his style, Clarke took time to play himself in and his strike rate was under 100 until he'd passed his half-century and took the batting Powerplay. He then whipped James Anderson, who conceded the second most expensive figures by an England bowler, over square leg for six and followed that with another boundary as the home side made their crucial push.
Hussey also located the rope after a sluggish start when he tore into the expensive Anderson and suddenly an asking rate over eight-an-over was down at a run-a-ball although an impressive effort from Finn, in his second ODI, gave England a chance at the end. They were handicapped by an injury to Paul Collingwood, who suffered a back spasm on the last ball of the innings and wasn't able to bowl. He came onto the field briefly after 16 overs, but his back began to stiffen up again. It meant England had to find 10 overs between Trott and Kevin Pietersen which cost 72 - although Pietersen did have Johnson stumped.
Johnson had responded with his second ODI fifty which built on a blistering opening from Australia against some wayward bowling. They had nine runs after just one legal delivery and Anderson came in for some fierce punishment in his third over as Watson collected four boundaries with 19 runs coming in total to bring up the fifty inside six overs.
England needed a stroke of fortune to break through when Brad Haddin flicked a leg-stump delivery to short fine-leg where Trott, who'd recently come into the field after recovering from cramp, took a sharp catch to his right. Watson went to his fifty off 32 balls but didn't go any further when he flicked Michael Yardy to midwicket. Callum Ferguson, replacing the injured Shaun Marsh, played nicely for his 46 until being run out but the required rate was never out of hand for Australia.
Despite England's batting problems during this series, characterised by soft dismissals, this was the third time they had beaten their record total after the innings at Melbourne and Adelaide. Trott's hundred was his fourth of the trip following two in the Ashes series and his 102 at Adelaide last week. He took his time to play himself in and didn't strike a boundary until his 40th delivery, his first fifty taking 61 balls. But the next half of his ton came off 39 balls as he collected four boundaries during the batting Powerplay.
Shaun Tait thought he had him lbw on 82, but the decision was overturned on review with the ball sliding down leg, and Trott escaped again with a missed run-out opportunity on 88. He started to suffer from cramp as the hundred approached and, after passing three figures and slamming Johnson through the covers, was allowed a runner until falling in the final over. The last 87 of his runs came from 65 deliveries.
Ian Bell provided the innings with ideal acceleration as he got himself going in the batting Powerplay then showed his inventive skills by lapping Watson and John Hastings for boundaries. He and Trott added runs at nearly nine an over, the sort of dominant partnership England have struggled to produce even in their previous hefty totals.
Andrew Strauss had set a good tone with his second fifty of the series off 52 balls and looked set for three figures until he clipped Smith to midwicket. Kevin Pietersen was threatening to cut loose with two boundaries in three balls off Hastings, but his frustrating series continued when he drove the first ball of the batting Powerplay to mid-off.
The fielding restrictions again threatening to be a curse rather than a blessing, but the five overs produced 43 runs as Trott and Bell began their surge. Still, though, it didn't prove enough and another 6-1 drubbing is on the cards.
Andrew McGlashan is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo