Sixth one-day international, Trent Bridge: Australia 296-8 beat England 185 by 111 runs Match scorecard
Ponting's fielding brilliance accounted for two England wickets in six balls
By Pranav Soneji
England's batsmen failed yet again as Australia strolled to a 111-run win in the sixth one-day match to stay on course for an historic 7-0 whitewash.
Wicketkeeper Tim Paine struck 111 from 148 balls, sharing a 163-run third-wicket stand with Mike Hussey (65) in Australia's 296-8 at Trent Bridge.
Andrew Strauss was given out to the second ball of England's reply and two run-outs saw the hosts reduced to 60-4.
Tim Bresnan top-scored with 31 as England were out for 185 from 41 overs.
England's abject display leaves them one defeat away from a 7-0 series whitewash, something which has never happened in international cricket.
In terms of runs, the defeat was England's second worst in the history of one-day matches between the two sides and their 11th heaviest in 517 internationals.
Australia, who returned to the top of the world rankings with this win, can complete their clean sweep if they win at Durham in the final match on Sunday.
The home side's humiliation was encapsulated by two needless run-outs in the space of six deliveries thanks to two superb direct hits from Australia captain Ricky Ponting.
Although captain Strauss can feel aggrieved to be given out to a poor umpiring decision, he cannot justify his team's poor performance just days before they begin their ICC Champions Trophy campaign in South Africa.
Strauss, England's leading scorer in the series, was unlucky to be given out
Strauss was given out caught behind off a Brett Lee bouncer which replays showed had brushed his shoulder, but the tourists' spirited appeal was upheld by umpire Asad Rauf, much to the disbelief of the England skipper.
After yet another promising start, including a huge six off James Hopes to long-on, Joe Denly perished for 25 attempting a similar stroke.
Worse was to follow when two superb direct throws within six balls from Ponting ran out Matt Prior and Ravi Bopara to leave England languishing.
The first throw was breathtaking, Ponting picking up and turning in one motion from cover to catch the England wicketkeeper just millimetres out of his crease, but Bopara was out by yards after a going for a reckless single.
Owais Shah and Eoin Morgan took England to three figures before Morgan holed out to deep point, where Hussey took a simple catch.
Shah followed soon after, along with Dimitri Mascarenhas, as England collapsed to 125-7 and, despite a spirited knock from number eight Bresnan, the humiliation was complete when Lee bowled James Anderson.
The afternoon began promisingly for the tourists when Ponting called correctly at the toss for only the second time this summer, opting to bat first on another batting-friendly deck.
Humid conditions and cloud cover allowed opening bowlers Anderson and Ryan Sidebottom to swing the new ball, with the former, back in the side after being rested, making the breakthrough in the fifth over as Shane Watson dragged on to his stumps attempting to cut a ball too close to his body.
Fresh from his match-winning 126 on Tuesday, Ponting perished after just 14 deliveries when he hooked a short Anderson ball straight into the hands of Sidebottom at deep square leg as the tourists wobbled at 40-2 from nine overs.
New man Hussey had yet to get off the mark when he survived a sharp bat-pad chance off Mascarenhas in the 12th over, but the ball dropped agonisingly beyond wicketkeeper Prior's sprawling dive.
Paine became only the third Tasmanian to hit a one-day century for Australia
That missed opportunity proved instrumental as Hussey and rookie Paine, batting with intelligence, manipulating simple singles and dispatching poor deliveries to the boundary, amassed 163 runs from 30 overs.
Paine, in particular, was impressive, unleashing a repertoire of subtle reverse sweeps and booming drives, and dispatching one full-length Mascarenhas delivery straight back over the bowler's head for six in the 16th over.
The 24-year-old opener brought up his second one-day half century soon after, while a reverse sweep from Hussey off Graeme Swann eluded short third man to bring up the 100-run stand in the 28th over.
Paine, playing in only his seventh one-day international, smoothly made the transition to three figures with a driven boundary to long-on off Swann, joining Ponting and David Boon in an exclusive band of Tasmanians to score one-day centuries for Australia.
Hussey maintained his onslaught, reaching his 22nd one-day 50 before he was caught by Denly on the long-on boundary attempting to clear the ropes for a third time with a slog sweep.
Eight balls later and Paine's excellent innings, which featured 14 fours and a six, was brought to a close courtesy of a very sharp, low catch by Prior standing up to Mascarenhas.
Cameron White, meanwhile, took full advantage at the start of the powerplay in the 43rd over, punching drives through the covers off Sidebottom, with Hopes also excelling as England's bowlers began to lose the plot.
Bresnan was launched high into the stands by White, who thumped two successive leg-side boundaries to severely dent Anderson's figures.
The all-rounder eventually perished for 35 attempting another huge swipe, top-edging into the hands of Denly at cover, with Hopes falling soon after, drilling a full-toss to Strauss for 38 from just 22 deliveries.
But sufficient damage had been caused for Australia to finish on an imposing total.
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