Chester-le-Street - England captain Eoin Morgan hopes his
side can maintain their "new level of intensity" after moving to
within sight of a first 5-0 one-day international series whitewash of
Morgan's men, the number one-ranked side in this format,
beat Australia by six wickets at Chester-le-Street on Thursday.
Set an ODI ground record of 311 to win, England finished on
314 for four with more than five overs to spare after Jason Roy (101) hit his
second hundred of the series.
Following their century partnership during England's 481 for
six - the highest total in men's ODI cricket - at Nottingham on Tuesday, Roy
and Jonny Bairstow (79) again overwhelmed a novice Australia attack while
putting on 174 for the first wicket.
There was a brief wobble when both openers fell in quick
succession, but Jos Buttler's unbeaten 54 put the result beyond doubt.
This latest victory left England 4-0 up in the five-match
series against world champions Australia heading into Sunday's finale at Old
It was further confirmation of England's dramatically
altered approach to one-day cricket after a humiliating first-round exit at the
2015 World Cup.
England, the 2019 hosts, are now among the favourites
although, following last year's Champions Trophy semi-final loss to Pakistan in
Cardiff, doubts remain over their ability to cope with the particular pressures
of winner-takes-all knockout games.
But if Roy and Bairstow can maintain anything like their
current form, England will have high hopes of at last winning a maiden World
Cup title, after more than 40 years of trying.
"If it does become the 'normal', that would be awesome
- because it creates an unbelievable tone at the top of the order," said
Morgan when asked about his openers.
"I think the form the two guys are in is phenomenal.
"I think we've found a new gear, or a new level of
If England did not take early wickets on Thursday, they at
least kept Australia in relative check in a total of 310 for eight featuring
hundreds from Aaron Finch (100) and Shaun Marsh (101).
Test skipper Joe Root, best known as a top-order batsman,
bowled 10 overs of part-time off-spin for a meagre 44 runs.
"We didn't take wickets, which is an area we hope to
improve, but we certainly controlled the run-rate," said Morgan.
England did, however, strike late on, thanks to a double
blow by fast bowler Mark Wood and three wickets in an over from left-arm
paceman David Willey, who finished with four for 43.
"We know it falls on a couple of guys to do really
well, or else it can go badly - and Dave stepped up to the plate and bowled
really well," said Morgan.
Meanwhile Finch was frustrated to have been dismissed when
"For me to get out just past a hundred was
disappointing, when we could have really kicked on, put the foot down for that
last 12 or 15 overs," he said. "I take full responsibility for
Australia, however, are currently missing six senior players
- banned batsmen Steve Smith and David Warner as well as injured pacemen
Mitchell Starc, Pat Cummins, Josh Hazlewood and Mitchell Marsh.
And Finch said there was little point in the five-times
men's world champions slavishly adopting England's approach.
"They've got a pretty good blueprint. (But), do we need
to copy that? No.
"I think we've still got to stick to our strengths, but
just find a way to stay in the contest for longer," Finch added, after
Australia's 15th defeat in 17 completed ODIs.