England produced a solid all-round display on Tuesday evening to beat Australia by 93 runs at Old Trafford, and make it 2-1 to Australia with two matches in the ODI series remaining.
England went into it 2-0 down thanks to two batting collapses, but they batted first in the third encounter, and a maiden century from James Taylor guided them to 300-8, before five wickets between spin pair Moeen Ali and Adil Rashid saw Australia crumble to 207 all out.
Vast improvements were needed from England as Jonny Bairstow came in for the out-of-form wicketkeeper Jos Buttler, while Australia, looking to close out the series, brought in Aaron Finch, Ashton Agar and James Pattinson for the injured trio of David Warner, Shane Watson and Nathan Coulter-Nile.
Jason Roy and Alex Hales put on 52 for the opening stand, but it was Roy who did all the damage as Hales stuttered to a 31-ball 9 before chipping one straight to Mitchell Marsh. Durban-born Roy was in explosive form and blasted his way to a second ODI fifty off just 34 balls. He perished for 63, as he too chipped one straight to the fielder, for debutant Agar to pick up his first wicket.
It was the stand between James Taylor and Eoin Morgan that really gave the English the platform to thrive. They put together 119 in 18 productive overs, before Morgan fell for a well-played 62.
It looked like 340-plus was on the cards, but the wicket of Morgan slowed things down as the middle order struggled again. Ben Stokes and Bairstow could only make 14 and 17 respectively, while Taylor also slowed down. A couple more wickets fell, but it didn’t prevent Taylor from bringing up his century in the penultimate over. He fell for 101, as England posted 300-8.
Joe Burns departed for just nine as England struck early, but Aaron Finch and Steve Smith, who was booed by the Lancashire crowd for his role in Stokes’ controversial dismissal in the previous match, knuckled down and kept within the required rate with a 42-run stand. It took a superb catch from Steven Finn to take the key wicket of Smith, as an outstretched grab with one hand saw him off for 25.
The Australians struggled to pick up any momentum from there as spin pair Moeen Ali and Adil Rashid worked brilliant in tandem to wear their opponents down. Rashid accounted for Finch for 53, while Glen Maxwell (17) and George Bailey (25) both made starts before Moeen saw them off.
The required run rate rose to nine an over as England had victory in their sights. Mooen finished with career-best figures of 3-32, before a fine take from Roy in the deep saw Agar walk back for Liam Plunkett’s third wicket. Matthew Wade produced a cameo of 42, but it was too little too late as they were bowled out for 207.
2-1 to Australia, as the sides head to Headingley for the fourth ODI on Friday.
For full scorecard, click here.