Thrilling but embarassing: England annihilates Australia
AUSTRALIA saved its best, and worst, until last but still lost in a one-wicket thriller as Shane Warne's man crush Jos Buttler saved the world's best one-day team an embarrassing end to a dominant series in Manchester.
In a staggeringly close end to an extremely one-sided series Buttler produced a magnificent century to guide his team from 8-114 to 9-208 in an edge of your seat ride that had the packed Trent Bridge crowd enthralled to the final ball.
Buttler had put on a record 81 run ninth wicket partnership with Adil Rashid to put the home team on the brink of victory, but had to survive 10 nervous balls faced by number 11 Jake Ball before the superstar keeper/batsmen, named man of the series too, could hit the winning runs himself.
As David Bowie's "Under Pressure" reverberated around the ground, Buttler held his nerve and hit a boundary to give England a 5-0 series win its first ever whitewash against Australia in any form, continuing a losing streak for the tourists which now extends to six.
It shouldn't have been such an enthralling encounter either. Australia posted just 205, its lowest score of a series to forget, after a collapse from 0-60 to all out before the end of the 38th over.
But stirred in to action by only a 10 minute break between innings, because Australia batted so badly, the bowlers who had been pounded all series found something.
The wickets tumbled when England came out to bat as Aussie quick Billy Stanlake built up an energetic head of speed.
The big bowler got three wickets in his first spell and England were 4-27, which became 5-50, then 6-86, and 8-114 as Kane Richardson took two wickets in two balls.
After three lacklustre bowling efforts, given the opening game at The Oval was OK, the Aussie attack was on top and England needed 101 to win with just two wickets in hand.
But what the home team did have was plenty of time, and Buttler at the crease and in total control.
Over after over ticked by and the Aussies couldn't get a wicket. Stanlake was through his 10 overs before there were 40 gone, Nathan Lyon too having looked dangerous without getting a breakthrough.
All the while Buttler, aided by Adil Rashid, not content with taking 12 wickets in the series but bow contributing runs, guided the tiring Aussie bowlers to all parts.
There wasn't the swashbuckling Buttler can do, but instead he put the balls in to gaps, avoided the need to do anything drastic, and ensured his team completed the historic whitewash the locals had been baying for.
It was the first time Buttler had ever batted for longer than 100 balls in an ODI innings, despite a career that no includes six one-day centuries.
Despite the closeness of the finish the performance of the Austrians with the bat left so much to be desired from a team with its own World Cup ambitions.
Captain Tim paine's position must be in jeopardy after he produced just 36 runs in five innings, the lowest return ever from an Aussie skipper in a five match series.
He ran himself out too, amid an Australian batting collapse, and the tourist inability to recover, as England did when it batted, reinforced the widening gulf between the world's best side and an outfit now ranked number six and with loads of work to do before next year's World Cup.