Australia 296 for 8 (Paine 111, Hussey 65, Anderson 4-55) beat England 185 (Hopes 3-32) by 111 runs
Scorecard and ball-by-ball details
Scorecard and ball-by-ball details
Tim Paine's maiden one-day international century and two spectacular, direct-hit run-outs from Ricky Ponting sent England tumbling to their third heaviest all-time home defeat and a sixth consecutive loss to Australia. In a thoroughly dispiriting display, England were bundled out for 185 in pursuit of the tourists' 296 for 8, allowing the Australians a chance at an unprecedented seven-game series whitewash and moving them into a first-place tie with South Africa atop the ODI rankings.
England seemed resigned to another punishing outing when Paine and Michael Hussey combined for Australia's highest third-wicket partnership (163) in limited overs matches against England. That sentiment was mercilessly driven home when Ponting capitalised on the confused states of mind of England's middle order to gun down Matt Prior and Ravi Bopara during the fielding Powerplay; dismissals from which they would never rebound.
England's run-chase began disastrously when Andrew Strauss was incorrectly ruled out for the second successive match by Asad Rauf, but the hosts had only themselves to blame thereafter. Prior was caught off-guard at the non-striker's end by a sublime Ponting turn-and-throw at extra cover, while another mix-up from the combustible duo of Owais Shah and Bopara led to the latter's demise six balls later. Bopara's departure rounded out a depressing sequence in which England lost three top-order wicket for 15 runs in the space of 26 deliveries, and when Eoin Morgan fell with the England total on 100, another home defeat seemed assured.
The 111-run loss was England's heaviest home defeat in eight years, and 11th worst in their 517-game ODI history. It was, by some distance, the nadir of England's already lamentable series, and will prompt much soul-searching barely a week out from their Champions Trophy opener against Sri Lanka.
Earlier, Paine and Hussey posted Australia's highest third-wicket partnership against England to lead the tourists to a near run-a-ball total from their 50 overs. Paine notched his maiden one-day international century in just his seventh match, while Hussey blasted a brisk 65 as part of a 163-run stand that eclipsed the previous record set by David Boon and Allan Border in Sharjah 22 years ago.
Australia's prospects of a sixth consecutive victory over England were significantly boosted by the contributions of Paine and Hussey, although James Anderson (4 for 55) ensured the tourists did not have it all their own way. Anderson, clearly rejuvenated after his enforced two-match break, removed Shane Watson and Ponting early and bowled Callum Ferguson with the first delivery of his third spell to apply a degree of restraint to Australia's total.
But the afternoon belonged to Paine. Called in as a late replacement for the injured Brad Haddin, the wicketkeeper-batsman displayed temperament far beyond that of a man playing just his third week of one-day international cricket during a 148-ball innings of 111. He batted methodically in the tense, early exchanges, relying on cover and square drives for the bulk of his runs before expanding his repertoire to include a deft reverse sweep off Graeme Swann and a series of well-struck cut-shots. Patience and placement were his major weapons, although Paine did dip into the power reserves on occasion, most notably when he dispatched a Dimitri Mascarenhas slower ball over the long-off rope.
Paine was ably supported by Hussey, who operated on a higher gear to his younger partner throughout his 69-ball stint in the middle. Hussey weathered a testing period early before hitting the accelerator to bring the previously subdued Trent Bridge crowd to life. Glides behind square were complemented by withering blows in front of the wicket - his sixes of Ryan Sidebottom and Mascarenhas a highlight - as Australia's third-wicket partnership swelled to 163.
Hussey's dismissal to Swann sparked a nervous period for the tourists during which they lost 3 for 17 in 24 deliveries. However, a late surge from James Hopes (38 off 22 balls) and Cameron White (35 off 23) allowed the Australians to take 54 runs from their final Powerplay. The pair combined for a sixth-wicket stand of 53 from 27 deliveries.
Alex Brown is deputy editor of Cricinfo