In what was a welcome departure from the run-fests witnessed in recent times, England and Australia fought a low-scoring thriller at the Old Trafford Cricket Ground in Manchester. A surface, which provided assistance for both seamers and spinners alike, served as ideal setting for a captivating contest between bat and ball.
In front of a partisan crowd, Australia scrapped hard by pillaging through the hosts' top-order. Their hopes of securing a consolation win were dashed by an astounding knock from the in-form Jos Buttler. The dynamic right-hander's unbeaten century guided England to a stirring one-wicket victory and the accompanying 5-0 clean-sweep in the series. Here are five major talking points from the riveting encounter.
#5 Head's conversion issue continues
Normally, three successive half-centuries would deserve instant commendation. However, in the current scenario of limited-overs cricket, most team managements prefer to see substantial scores at the top of the order. Following middling scores of 63 and 51 in the previous two matches, opener Travis Head looked like leaving a firmer imprint on the game at Manchester. Until another soft dismissal halted his stay in the middle.
In the company of Aaron Finch, Head was largely responsible for Australia's boisterous start. Having brought up his tenth ODI half-century off just 36 balls, the southpaw seemed to be on his way to a sizeable score. But he gave his wicket away rather cheaply during an inopportune moment in the innings. Liam Plunkett's propensity to extract sharp bounce evinced a soft lob to mid-wicket and curtailed his effort.