After thrashing England in the Ashes, Australia would have been keen on overcoming the English challenge in the one-dayers as well. So dominant were the hosts in the ODIs that they would have been confident of a 5-0 victory. In the end, they would have been slightly disappointed that they lost one game, but would be more than glad to have clinched the series 4-1. As the teams head towards the T20 clashes, we look at the men who made Australia’s emphatic one-day series win possible.
Aaron Finch: The man of the series, Finch proved that his spectacular innings against the same opponent back in England last year was no fluke. The burly hitter was the top-scorer in the series for Australia with 258 runs at an average of 51 and a strike rate of 93. He kicked off the series with a magnificent 120 at Melbourne, and got a hundred even in a losing cause at Perth. He couldn’t do much in the other matches, but Australia would take two tons in five games from him anytime.
James Faulkner: Yet another impressive series for the all-rounder. The left-arm pacer was the leading wicket-taker in the series with 11 wickets at an average of 25.4 and a strike rate of 25 as well. His best figures came in the losing cause at Perth when he picked up 4 for 67, but he was also impressive at the SCG and the Adelaide Oval with figures of 2 for 35 and 2 for 37 as Australia won both games. Faulkner’s most telling contribution, not for the first time, came with the bat. Having conceded 300 at Brisbane, Australia looked set to lose at 9 for 244. Faulkner then did the unthinkable as he blasted 69 from 47 balls to lead Australia to a miraculous one-wicket win.
Shaun Marsh: He has been around for a while, but the opener is yet to establish himself in the side. Marsh took a step towards the same in this series as he compiled 177 runs in four games at an average of 59 with two half-centuries and a decent strike rate of 78. Marsh got a mature 55 at Brisbane as Australia chased down 301. The left-hander was in his elements in the next game at the SCG as well. His unbeaten 71 complemented David Warner’s attacking 71 beautifully as the hosts chased down 244 with ease. In the last match at Adelaide as well he got a good-looking 36. Overall, a satisfactory series for Marsh.
Nathan Coulter-Nile: The paceman had yet another impressive series. With 10 wickets in five games, he was the joint second-highest wicket- taker in the series. Coulter-Nile maintained an impressive average of 25 in the series and an equally impressive strike rate of 29. His best figures of 3 for 34 came in the game at Adelaide on Australia Day. Coulter-Nile also picked up three wickets at Sydney. In fact, he did not go wicket-less in any match of the series.
--By A Cricket Analyst