Ground-breaking – it is the first word that comes into anybody’s mind for England when one could recall this day two years go at Trent Bridge in Nottingham. If it was Stuart Broad in 2015, the tourists had no idea what was coming to them as they took the field for the third ODI, trying to keep the series alive. The then world-champions Australia could have used any digestive pill that there is to absorb the beating their old rivals gave them. And in turn, the Englishmen would give anything for that moment to ever to a close.
At the end of their record-breaking 242-run defeat, all Australia head coach Justin Langer could manage to say is “The boys couldn’t have had a worse day”. Such was the tourists’ misery that England, of all the teams, shellacked the highest ODI team total and piled the agony on an outfit, that merely began recovering from the ball-tampering scandal in March. Considering how both teams fared at the World Cup edition of 2015, it was indeed role-reversal at its absolute best.
And none other than skipper Eoin Morgan deserves the credit for inculcating the attacking brand of cricket amongst the batsmen, one that the fraternity had never seen. And it set in motion for England to breach past 400 plus totals with ease. The hosts’ unthinkable total of 481 in their stipulated 50 overs in Nottingham was their third 400 plus aggregate total in less than three years. It also smashed their previous and world record total of 444, hammered against Pakistan in 2016 at the same venue.
Openers Jason Roy and Jonny Bairstow went wheezing as they stitched an opening stand of 159 in 19.3 overs. Alex Hales was in no mood to slow the tempo down as he and Bairstow put on another 151. Bairstow reached his century in the 26th over and exited at the 35th over for 139 while Hales got to his three-figure mark in the 38th over off 62 deliveries. By this time, the home side got to 341 for the loss of three wickets, and they hadn’t begun loosening themselves.
It was Eoin Morgan’s chance to have fun as the 43rd over brought their 400 and one over later, the captain smacked a half-century off 21 balls. Morgan’s final score amounted to 67 off 30 deliveries, containing three boundaries and six sixes. And it was after another two overs that a maximum off Alex Hales’ bat breached the 450-mark for the first time in men’s cricket. The only relief for Australia that innings was the Englishmen not crossing the 500-run mark, courtesy of resorting to blockholes in the last five overs and not giving away any boundary.
Australia’s Trent Bridge hoodoo continued:
The absence of David Warner at the top opened up a spot for the Big Bash League marauder, D’arcy Short. While Short exited the scene in the fourth over for 15 off 12 deliveries, Travis Head kept the tourists ticking as they reached 95 in 12 overs. But unlike the opposition batsmen, Australia couldn’t convert their short bursts into lengthy ones. Travis Head departed for 51 through a very soft dismissal, giving a return catch to Moeen Ali.
The intent of doing a South Africa of 2006 was all present; however, it hardly let them settle. Shaun Marsh, who scored a valiant hundred in Cardiff, perished for 24 while clearing the boundary down the ground. Aaron Finch went for a mighty heave straight back past the bowler for successive maximums and was done in the air as well. Even Glenn Maxwell couldn’t get going as Liam Plunkett held on to a stunner at long-on.
For all the intent Australia showcased, 239 in 37 overs was all they could manage at 6.45 runs per over. With that defeat, Tim Paine’s men not only surrendered the series but also went on to lose the rubber by 5-0 and the lone T20I, finishing a winless tour. Paine’s reign as Australia’s limited-overs captain came to an end while Aaron Finch was installed as the skipper for the T20 series against Pakistan post the England tour.