Australia cruises to series win

Australia could be just days away from returning to the top of the one-day international rankings after hammering England to claim a series victory as tensions between the two sides resurfaced at the SCG on Sunday.

England may have come tantalisingly close to breaking a long drought on Friday night but normal transmission was restored by the end of the weekend.

With the series won, Australia will rest Michael Clarke for the next game in Perth on Friday, the captain said, while Alastair Cook admitted he was considering his future as England skipper.

Australia's seven-wicket annihilation, achieved with 60 balls to spare, featured an on-field altercation involving Clarke over a low return chance claimed by Dan Christian from Eoin Morgan.

Morgan refused to take the word of the recalled all-rounder, instead exercising his right to to seek confirmation from the third umpire that the ball had carried to Christian before walking.

Clarke and Morgan, who top-scored with 54 in England's total of 9-243, then exchanged words while the chance was reviewed.The argument escalated when Buttler, who had last week claimed a low catch only for the third umpire to rule against him, joined the discussions.

Clarke said Buttler had been asking for consistency but the Australian captain said he was being consistent and it was England's batsman not taking the fielder's word.

Cook would also like to see more consistency over line-ball decisions.

‘‘Where I do agree with Alastair is I would like to see it get back to old school cricket where you ask the fieldsman did he catch it and if the fieldsman says yes you take his word,’’ Clarke said.

‘‘I think we've got so much technology these days that if you say yes when you don't catch it that's your reputation, that's the integrity of the game of cricket. If you're going to claim a catch where it has bounced I think you'll be crucified anyway.’’

The win was Australia's ninth victory on the trot against the old enemy and leaves them needing just two more wins to eclipse their previous record of 10 against England set in 2006-07.

There will be further joy for Australia if India are conquered by New Zealand again in Hamilton on Wednesday as that would see them reclaim the No.1 ranking from the world champions for the first time since July 2012.

Australia, however, would have to beat England 5-0 in the ODI series, thereby completing a double whitewash, to guarantee a stay at the top beyond this month.

The latest victory was achieved on the back of half-centuries to Warner and Shaun Marsh, who made light work of England's target of 244.

Any thoughts England had of ending their poor run ended after Warner clubbed a dashing 71 off 70 balls. The left-hander feasted on the pace bowling, in particular that of Tim Bresnan, whom he slapped for three boundaries off one over.

He had a third ODI century at his mercy before he drove a half-volley from Ben Stokes straight to Ian Bell at cover. It was a small mark of revenge for Bell, who had earlier been run out by a freak 50-metre direct hit from Warner running in from the deep.

‘‘It’s been overwhelming,’’ Warner said of his return to form this summer. ‘‘I’ve been able to show my true potential, I’m going well at the moment.’’

By the time Warner departed in the 21st over Australia had wiped off nearly half their run chase. Marsh's unbeaten 71 and some dashing strokeplay from Brad Haddin ensured there would be no last-minute heist by England.

Haddin, who made an unbeaten 37 from 33 balls, seemed to make it up as he went along, forcing regular field changes from Cook with his clean hitting over the top. England's innings was characterised by a series of players failing to convert strong starts.

Nathan Coulter-Nile stole the spoils with three wickets though Xavier Doherty pulled the hand brake on England during the middle stages with a frugal 1-28 from 10 overs.

England 9-243 (E Morgan 54, T Bresnan 41no; N Coulter-Nile 3-47); Australia 3-244 (D Warner 71, S Marsh 71no).

The story Australia cruises to series win first appeared on Canberra Times.

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