James Taylor struck his maiden One-Day International hundred as England kept their series hopes alive with a 93-run victory over Australia in the third ODI at Old Trafford today.
Eoin Morgan’s men –– needing to win after two straight defeats in the five-match series –– dismissed the tourists for 207 after Taylor’s 101 off 114 balls lifted the home side to 300 for 8.
Spinners Adil Rashid (2 for 41) and Moeen Ali, who took career-best figures of 3 for 32, found appreciable turn to damage Australia’s hopes of an eighth straight victory over England, whose cause was aided by two incredible outfield catches by Steven Finn and Jason Roy.
Opener Roy dominated a first-wicket stand of 52 off 9.3 overs with Alex Hales (nine) after Morgan chose to bat first, posting his fifty off 34 balls with eight fours –– four of them coming off one Mitchell Starc over.
But after scores of 67 and 31 at the Ageas Bowl and Lord’s respectively, the Surrey opener again failed to cash in as he punched Ashton Agar to short extra cover to hand the spinner his first ODI wicket.
Morgan and Taylor made the most of the platform, nonetheless, adding 119 in a third-wicket stand covering 18.1 overs. The England skipper enjoyed a life on 15 when wicketkeeper Matthew Wade missed a clear stumping chance off Agar as he came down the pitch.
The left-hander made the most of the let off by reverse sweeping emphatically for four in Agar’s next over before reaching his 27th ODI fifty off 46 balls with seven fours.
In contrast, Taylor accumulated steadily without hitting a four until his 53rd delivery, the boundary taking him to 46 not out, but soon he posted his own half-century off 59 deliveries.
Morgan perished attempting to hit Glenn Maxwell over long on and Ben Stokes’ bid to propel England towards 300 came to an early finish when he too miscued the spinner, Aaron Finch running around from midwicket to take an easy catch.
With Jos Buttler rested, Jonny Bairstow had the chance to build on his impressive form earlier in the summer against New Zealand but after thrashing Starc high over midwicket for six, was beaten by Steve Smith’s direct hit.
Liam Plunkett, run out by George Bailey, and Moeen Ali both fell before Taylor reached his hundred in typically frantic fashion as he drove the ball back past Cummins, the ball deflecting onto the stumps at the non-striker’s end off Chris Woakes’ bat – the seamer taking a stump out of the ground to no avail.
Aaron Finch (53 off 60) –– playing in place of David Warner, who broke his thumb in the second ODI at Lord’s –– gave Australia’s chase a strong foundation despite the early loss of Joe Burns (nine).
Morgan just avoided colliding with Roy to take the chance in rather spectacular fashion but the effort wasn’t a patch on Finn’s remarkable one-handed take to remove Smith..
The six foot eight inch seamer, fielding at short midwicket, leapt to his right to pluck a leg-side flick from Australia’s captain out of the sky to the obvious shock of some of his team-mates.
Finch posted his fifty off 53 balls but fell shortly after as he attempted to mow Rashid down the ground before Glenn Maxwell top-edged a reverse sweep off Moeen Ali, the ball deflecting off his back arm and looping into Bairstow’s gloves.
With both spinners finding appreciable turn George Bailey attempted to hit his way out of trouble only to pick out Stokes at deep midwicket, while Marsh chipped Liam Plunkett meekly to midwicket.
England’s fielding –– so impeccable for most of the Ashes –– produced another stunning catch when Roy parried a huge up-and-under, taking the ball at the second chance to remove Agar.