Australia win low-scoring fifth ODI

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Australia's modest total seemed nowhere near enough, until the England batsmen coughed and spluttered through an awkward pursuit, ultimately slipping to a five-run defeat – and four-one series loss – in the fifth and final ODI at the Adelaide Oval on Sunday.

Australia's modest total seemed nowhere near enough, until the England batsmen coughed and spluttered through an awkward pursuit, ultimately slipping to a five-run defeat – and four-one series loss – in the fifth and final ODI at the Adelaide Oval on Sunday.

While all-rounder Ben Stokes endured a duck and opener Ian Bell perished for a mere 14, captain Alastair Cook's commanding 39 and a resilient stand of 64 between middle-order duo Eoin Morgan and Joe Root promised more.

England ultimately required 25 runs off as many deliveries, with all of four wickets in hand, but could not complete the job. The lower order, instead, struggled to oblige – instead choking through the closing overs.

The Australians' choice to bat first after winning the toss did not prove successful initially, with four wickets falling inside the opening 20 overs. Opener Aaron Finch, later named Player of the Series, was out for just eight – and skipper Michael Clarke endured a duck.

Fast bowlers Stuart Broad (three for 31) and Chris Jordan (two for 37) complemented each other superbly, each manufacturing swing and seam from the white ball. Test discard George Bailey, though, defied. The talented right-hander top-scored with a steely 56, enjoying solid support from opener Shaun Marsh's patient 36 and wicketkeeper-batsman Matthew Wade's dogged 31.

Conditions, indeed, were sluggish – playing a large part in an admittedly small tally of 217 for nine. The Aussies had been thwarted by seamer Ben Stokes, who had accrued telling figures of three for 43, but bit back by removing the New Zealand-born all-rounder for a duck.

That breakthrough, at a key juncture in the piece, characterised the sluggish nature of the pitch. Early on the pull, to a delivery that held, Stokes holed out on the on-side. Cook followed soon thereafter, leaving Root's fine 55 and Morgan's attacking 39 to corrective measures.

The right- and left-hander were removed in quick succession, with Man of the Match James Faulkner's brace crucial. The inexperienced Nathan Coulter-Nile (three for 34) then added the dangerous Jos Buttler to the list of dismissed.

The home side enjoyed some fortune when a delivery accidentally bobbled from wicketkeeper Matthew Wade's hands – and onto the stumps. Batsman Ravi Bopara's rear foot was not grounded as the bails toppled, with numerous television replays eventually adjudging Bopara out.

Tail-enders Chris Jordan and James Tredwell were not inventive as the pursuit drew to a close, as the cool, calm and collection of veteran campaigner Clint McKay (three for 36) ensured an economical penultimate over. All-rounder Shane Watson, then, redeemed himself for an earlier duck by dismissing Tredwell.

The result capped a convincing four-one series win for Australia, who earlier this year one the Tests against the same opposition five-nil. The teams will soon meet for three Twenty20 Internationals, the first of which will get underway at the Bellerive Oval in Hobart on Wednesday. Melbourne and Sydney will hosts T20Is two and three on Friday and Sunday respectively.

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