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Brilliant Buttler guides England to series whitewash over Australia

Eoin Morgan and Co were tasked with notching 206 runs to win and narrowly completed their task to stamp a comprehensive 5-0 in the book

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England needed 263 runs at Old Trafford to beat their record for runs scored in a five-match ODI series. As it was - having won the toss and elected to bat - Australia’s profligacy with the willow would make that scenario an impossibility.

Eoin Morgan and Co were tasked with notching 206 runs to win and, after an early wobble, completed their task to stamp a comprehensive 5-0 in the book.

It was far from their slickest effort with the bat, a tough ask to live up to when you own the two highest ODI team totals in history, but England bat to around No.17 and despite losing their first five wickets for 50 runs, the hosts got over the line.

Jos Buttler’s innings of 110* from 122 was their saviour as the Lancashire wicketkeeper-batsman overcame a determined bowling display.

Australia’s attack have had little to shout about in the series but managed to find some joy on the Old Trafford deck. After Ashton Agar got one through Jason Roy’s defences, big Billy Stanlake found his rhythm to dismiss Jonny Bairstow, Joe Root and captain Eoin Morgan.

Alex Hales chased after a wide one from Kane Richardson, edging through to Tim Paine, to leave his side reeling at five down.

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Sam Curran made his ODI debut

Moeen Ali fell to Marcus Stoinis and Richardson found himself on a hat-trick after sending Sam Curran and Liam Plunkett back to the dressing room in successive deliveries.

Luckily for England, Buttler found an ally in Adil Rashid as England snuffed out Australia’s hopes of a consolation victory.

Rashid fell with England needing 11 to make it an extremely nervy end with Jake Ball hanging on for dear life, but Buttler hit his 12th four of the piece to secure the win.

Spare a thought for Tim Paine. He has inherited a job with a lot of baggage and has valiantly fronted this tour.

He has said all the right things in terms of changing the culture of a tarnished dressing room. He has shown respect for his opponents. But on the field, his team have been on the wrong end of a 5-0 series obliteration and personally, he has scored just 36 runs in the series.

It was only ever going to be a slither of dignity on offer for the tourists in Manchester but the initial signs were good. Aaron Finch and Travis Head set off and a decent lick, racing to 58 for no loss after six overs.

Moeen Ali - who recorded a career-best 4 for 46 - made a double breakthrough to remove Aaron Finch and Marcus Stoinis in the space of three balls. Thursday’s century-maker Finch bottom-edged onto his stumps and Stoinis swept straight to Jake Ball at short fine leg as Australia’s rapid start began to unravel.

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Buttler hit a magnificent match-winning hundred

Australia’s other hundred-maker from Chester-le-Street, Shaun Marsh, departed thanks to some fine glove work by Buttler to whip off the bails after the batsman was beaten by Moeen.

The keeper produced more brilliance  - on the spin - to run out Paine at the non-striker’s end to have Australia 100 for 5.

Alex Carey and D’Arcy Short added 59 before Curran - who was presented with his cap by James Anderson before the start of play - claimed his first international wicket. Having conceded 25 from his first two overs, the Surrey bowler returned to strike with the first ball of his second spell to have Carey caught behind. 

It was two in three as Agar inexplicably left a straight ball that made a mess of his stumps, crashing through middle and off sticks.

The tail failed to wag and it looked like the hosts would have a relatively comfortable chase to take on. But Australia, to their credit, showed real nous with the ball to make a genuine contest of it.

Unfortunately for Langer’s lot, Jos was in no mood to let a whitewash go begging, and with a backdrop of a sun and beer-soaked crowd already buoyed by the footballers' 6-1 dismantling of Panama, with Hey Jude ringing out around the ground, Buttler went on to record a match-winning century.

For England the series represents an exercise well executed. A valuable training camp ahead of next summer’s end goal. For Australia it is nine defeats in their last 10 ODIs against Morgan's men. It was never going to be easy under the circumstances, but even so, this has been a chastening lesson for Langer’s squad.

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