A comfortable lead now of 5-0, and atleast we were given a tight game in the end, but England's score of 299 wasn't enough to give them their first ODI victory!
While we move closer to regaining the no.1 ranking again, we will have a lot to prove in the Champions Trophy for that status. But I will state this. These sort of performances can really inject so much confidence for the younger, less experienced players. They get to experience the big moments in tight finishes as well as being able to articulate their own performances into the teams efforts. It creates the sense of belonging and with some more One Day cricket nearing it just gives that value needed to the team's ethos in moving forward. Guys like Tim Paine, Cam White, Callum Ferguson and even Mitchell Johnson, can take a lot of pride from these games where they have had to step up. After an Ashes series loss, to fightback to be standing at a 5-0 lead is just absolutely outstanding in my mind.
When Ricky Ponting bats well, there isn't any other cricketer I'd rather see playing their shots out there. While he is a Test match living legend, when he gets the game face on in One Day cricket, my word! Those sixes were terrific. Down the wicket, bashed hard with a touch of elegance and the ball just sailed over the boundary! Back to back too, now that' something that's been a while from him! It is a sight of character I haven't seen in our Skipper in a very, very long time. His timing was crisp, his strokes were flashy and the running between the wickets was equally impressive. The break was good for Punter after all the heavy pressure's he has to carry in an Ashes series, one that didn't go well, and it still makes me grin when he shows his aggressive intentions in the 50 over game! So epic and so special every time. I have been fortunate to have followed Punter's career from when he first emerged into International colours, and too see how far he has come from those early predictions and talk of him becoming the next best thing.
The shot selection becomes better, and the execution is awesome! While they are two different cricketers in many respects, Tendulkar is a slightly calmer starter at the beginning of his innings, while Punter is maybe more onto the edgy side (literally). But in the last two games he has come out as a man on a mission.
This is an impressive comeback, and all I can hope is that cutting away Twenty20 cricket, and having a lot of enthusiasm back to his game – especially in his body language – can surely only boost the future performances. Low's are to be expected, but after seeing Sachin Tendulkar score a century against Sri-Lanka this week, I just felt that Punter was due for a big one himself. Spot on, but just a pity I didn't say something before hand on the site.
Michael Clarke has picked up some confidence after his last innings as that strike-rate stays healthy. I think he takes a lot of comfort when Punter is in the line-up, and together they really did pull off a typically outstanding one day innings at about a run-a-ball. Another fifty to Pup's stats, and a good innings at that too. His dismissal was another wicket given away scenario.
Callum Ferguson stepped in really well, once again, too keep the momentum going. He only made 17, but it's that momentum that is so important! Such a learning experience for him when the game was really on, and with Punter in peak form at the other end to guide him along. The thing I have always admired about Callum is that his approach is so stealth like, and in a very mature manner seemingly beyond his age. The step up has been very encouraging to see. He is playing his innings for the team, adapting to the situation and what is needed from him.
So having had someone step up with a big score, being Punter, and some really strong contributions from Pup and Shane Watson (a quick-fire 36), the job for Cam White and Mitchell Johnson was to just bash out a quick partnership to seal victory! Cam White is still running on confidence from the last game, and with some brilliantly placed strokes along with the assistance of Mitch, we made it past 300 to grab another victory!
Mitch finished it off in absoultely fine style! A clean, crisp crack straight for six to the boundary! Sensational!
The bowling is still coming together. It was a smart move to give Peter Siddle sometime with the ball, and a chance to add to his ODI stats, and of course giving Brett Lee a rest is smart given his fitness is needed for the Champions Trophy, and with the series wrapped up the time is perfect.
Pity though the bowlers were rather expensive as everyone went for over 5 an over.
It was good to see England actually make a good score and the urgency from them is more a pride factor which maybe gave their middle-order a bit more chance for a hit out.
Eoin Morgan was awesome in his half-century innings. The lad is Irish so I give him the credit when he deserves it. I have always found him to be a good batsman, and the move from Ireland to England is probably giving him a better chance to learn quicker and develop his game more with better match-time. He was striking the ball cleanly, and was quite innovative too!
His innings gave England a valuable push to the 300 mark, and after given a lifeline when Huss dropped him on the boundary (a very rare sight from Huss) he cashed in.
I had to laugh with Nathan Hauritz getting Andrew Strauss out again! That's the fourth time this series, although Strauss can consider himself unlucky as it seemed to get an edge.
What more can Strauss say at the post-match presentation? Starts to get a bit numbing after all this!
Still, Ritz gets his prize again and he is doing his job still, highly effectively too! Mitchell Johnson keeps getting wickets, and with the exception of his last over, I think he did a pretty good job in Binga's absence.
Everyone is chipping in with wickets still, and that is very important.
A pleasing victory, and now we wait for Thursday's match. Could we just take the 7-0 now and check out early for the Champions Trophy?