Perth: It took them almost three months, but England finally notched up their first win of a forgettable tour Down Under in the fourth ODI, here, at the WACA, on Friday.
After eight successive losses to Australia in both Tests and one-dayers, the visitors finally had something to celebrate with a 57-run win over the hosts, who already held an unassailable 3-0 lead in the five-match series.
Up against an under-strength Australian side led by George Bailey, England scored 316 for eight after being sent in to bat on a good batting wicket. In reply, Australia managed 259 from 47.4 overs.
Australia’s loss meant India have regained the No. 1 ranking in ODIs.
England would owe it to the all-round efforts of Man-of-the-Match Ben Stokes, who made 70 with the bat and claimed four wickets for 39, and wicket-keeper Jos Buttler, who thrashed 71 runs and then claimed five catches. And despite a century from Australian opener Aaron Finch, the home side was always struggling in the run chase.
Any realistic hope of an Australian win evaporated when Finch (108) holed out to Stuart Broad at third man, off the bowling of Tim Bresnan (three for 45). That left Australia at 189 for five in the 36th over and there was no last-gasp miracle from James Faulkner this time around.
Stokes delivered a polished 70 off 84 balls, while opener Ian Bell chipped in with 55 from 52 deliveries.
Both were dropped during their innings, while captain Alastair Cook made a crisp 44 from 43 balls at the top order, only to fall when a much-needed big score seemed likely for the embattled skipper.
Buttler produced some scintillating batting at the end of the innings, hitting four sixes. For just about the first time on the tour, the English got on top of Mitchell Johnson. (AFP)