MANCHESTER: Jonny Bairstow revived England from the depths of 0-2 with a superb hundred as the world champions made 302-7 against Australia in the third and deciding One-day International at Old Trafford on Wednesday.
Opening batsman Bairstow watched from the other end as left-arm quick Mitchell Starc took two wickets with the first two balls of the match.
But Bairstow counter-attacked superbly and went to his century in style with a legside six off a 90 mph delivery from fast bowler Pat Cummins. He made 112 before falling to Cummins’s slower ball and with Chris Woakes making an unbeaten 53, England passed 300.
Bairstow’s 10th century in 83 matches at this level came from 116 balls, including 10 fours and two sixes. He also shared a fifth-wicket partnership of 114 with Sam Billings, whose 57 followed his 118 in England’s series-opening loss.
England captain Eoin Morgan won the toss and batted on a fresh pitch with the three-match series all square at 1-1.
But from the first ball, Jason Roy edged a drive off Starc to Glenn Maxwell at backward point. Next ball, Starc had Test captain Joe Root lbw with an inswinger. England were 0-2 before left-hander Morgan survived the hat-trick.
Morgan (23) drove Adam Zampa to mid-off before the in-form leg-spinner had Jos Buttler chipping to extra-cover for just eight. But Billings gave Bairstow excellent support, completing a 53-ball fifty before he too fell to Zampa, when a miscued reverse sweep lobbed to short third man.
Zampa finished with fine figures of 3-51 from his maximum 10 overs.
When Bairstow was dismissed, England were 220-6. Adil Rashid, taking advantage of a short leg-side boundary when the bowling was from the Pavilion End, heaved Starc for six.
In the last over, Josh Hazlewood conceded 14 runs. Woakes faced just 38 balls for his fifty, with England adding a valuable 53 runs off the last five overs.
Starc finished with a relatively expensive 3-74.
Australia were again without Steve Smith, the star batsman not featuring at all in this series after being hit on the head by a throw-down from a member of the tourists’ coaching staff while batting in the nets last Thursday.
The visitors insisted he was being rested purely as a precaution despite passing two concussion tests. But, having seen Smith bat in the nets again on Tuesday, they decided against playing him, with Australia captain Aaron Finch saying at the toss: “Steve Smith had a long hit yesterday and pulled up a little groggy. When you’re dealing with a head injury, you want to be cautious.”
Australia were unchanged but England recalled fast bowler Mark Wood, fit after an ankle injury, in place of Sam Curran.
That followed a dramatic 24-run win on Sunday when Australia, seemingly cruising to victory, lost their last eight wickets for 63 runs.
This is England’s final fixture of a home season overshadowed by the coronavirus. If they win, it will mean they have not lost a series in any format across 18 matches this summer.
J.J. Roy c Maxwell b Starc 0
J.M. Bairstow b Cummins 112
J.E. Root lbw b Starc 0
E.J.G. Morgan c Starc b Zampa 23
J.C. Buttler c Finch b Zampa 8
S.W. Billings c Marsh b Zampa 57
C.R. Woakes not out 53
T.K. Curran b Starc 19
Adil Rashid not out 11
EXTRAS (LB-8, W-10, NB-1) 19
TOTAL (for seven wkts, 50 overs) 302
FALL OF WKTS: 1-0, 2-0, 3-67, 4-96, 5-210, 6-220, 7-266.
DID NOT BAT: J.C. Archer, M.A. Wood.
BOWLING: Starc 10-0-74-3 (2w); Hazlewood 10-0-68-0 (1w); Cummins 10-0-53-1 (2w); Zampa 10-0-51-3; Marsh 6-0-25-0 (1nb, 3w); Maxwell 4-0-23-0 (2w).
AUSTRALIA: D.A. Warner, A.J. Finch, M.P. Stoinis, M. Labuschagne, M.R. Marsh, A.T. Carey, G.J. Maxwell, P.J. Cummins, M.A. Starc, A. Zampa, J.R. Hazlewood.
UMPIRES: R.K. Illingworth (England) and A.G. Wharf (England).
TV UMPIRE: R.A. Kettleborough (England).
MATCH REFEREE: B.C. Broad (England).