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Australia demolish insipid England to book Tri Series final place

Blink and you missed it... and the English will wish they had; an obviously insufficient target was chased down at a canter at the MCG

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Sam Morshead | 2/10/2018 at 11:24 AM

Blink and you missed it... and the English will wish they had.

Australia booked their place in the Trans-Tasman Tri Series without wasting a drop of sweat in Melbourne as insipid England slipped to a seven-wicket defeat.

An obviously insufficient target was chased down at a canter at the MCG.

England, strangled early in their innings and brutalised by Australia’s in-form Big Bash stars when it was their turn with the ball, saved their worst white-ball performance for last in their final outing Down Under.

In staggering to 137 for seven, the tourists seemed hampered by a two-paced pitch yet Australia, David Warner aside, looked totally at ease.

Chris Lynn set the tone with a brutal 31 before D’Arcy Short and Glenn Maxwell tucked into England’s ineffective spin in the middle overs.

It was all over with more than a quarter of the innings left.

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David Warner celebrates the run out of Dawid Malan

In the absence of injured captain Eoin Morgan, stand-in skipper Jos Buttler lost the toss at the MCG and promptly watched England fall apart in the powerplay.

Aaron Finch’s tremendous catch, taken on the run with his back facing the wicket at long-on, made sure Alex Hales’ 50th T20 international appearance didn’t last too long, while Jason Roy lazily tickled Kane Richardson through to wicketkeeper Alex Carey.

When Dawid Malan was run out, courtesy of a remarkable piece of fielding at mid-off from Warner, Buttler found himself at the crease with just four overs of the innings bowled.

Forget shooting themselves in the foot, the tourists had gone straight for the nuclear option. Somewhat fortunately, their aim was slightly off.

Vince edged between keeper and slip, the Hampshire batsman would have been out by several feet had Maxwell hit with a throw from cover and then Buttler survived a second run out chance when Andrew Tye fumbled at the stumps.

England sloped along to 67 for three at halfway, and that became 80 for four when Vince was finally dismissed, bowled by one of Tye’s many variations.

Sam Billings provided an entertaining cameo, including a remarkable reverse pull for a one-bounce four off Tye, before picking out Warner at mid-off.

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Jos Buttler made 46

That he was the only man to score at substantially better than a run a ball summed up the sluggish nature of the MCG pitch.

David Willey added a handful of late runs and Buttler hung around but 137 - some 23 shy of the average winning first-innings total at this venue - was never likely to be enough against a potent Australian top order.

Willey struck early again, just as he had in Hobart four days previous, sending Warner back to the pavilion with a perfect late outswinger which caught the Aussie captain’s outside edge, but the wobble didn’t last long.

Lynn hit Tom Curran for 16 in his first over and, though their momentum was stalled when the Spider Cam got stuck above the wicket and needed several minutes to reboot, the platform was laid.

When Lynn whipped a Willey full toss over fine leg for six, the required run rate dropped to one a ball. It had taken just four-and-a-half overs.

Lynn’s frontal assault came to an end on 31, Chris Jordan’s bouncer catching the top edge and looping into Buttler’s gloves, but this Australia team is blessed with power and pugnacity throughout.

Short, largely subdued during his 49-run stand with Lynn, unshackled himself.

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David Willey strikes early

Nineteen came from Dawson’s second over - the 10th of the innings - as the shorter straight boundaries came in for a pounding.

The following over, from Adil Rashid, produced 20 as Maxwell got going.

Australia were accelerating to the finish line as England, scrambling for the inhaler, wheezed on their haunches behind.

Maxwell was eventually dismissed, for the first time in the series, caught by Buttler off Jordan but it was scant consolation for England.

Aaron Finch, batting at five just to show how powerful this Aussie line-up is, clattered 20 in five balls to bring the match to a close.

There were still 33 balls available.

It was, in T20 terms, an absolute hiding.

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