Our 6th win of the One Day series, with some exciting performances to echo into the future, and the number 1 ranking (ranks mean only so much at times) is back in our grasp just needing to edge ahead of the Proteas. It will then be a situation in just latching onto it!
Tim Paine will be keeping Brad Haddin on his toes. Had's is the first choice Keeper understandably because of his time on the side's and his notable performances in the One Day game, but Tim has made a considerable impact in his first series!
Graham Manou's Keeping was quite a spectacle in the 4th Test of Ashes, but Hads' batting will always keep him that step ahead. Even if Tim's stay is until Had's gets back from his recovery, it is a bright star in the Aussie Keeping world. Luke Ronchi had a shot at it, but his performances for WA didn't boost a comeback in any manner, and Graham is suitable to the Test scene. So with Tim's performances and pretty active Keeping, Had's will be forced to get his Keeper standards back to where they were a few seasons back. At least the Gilchrist tag is falling away, for his own benefit anyway, one less pressure!
Tim Paine managed to push on his conservative starts and produce his maiden-century for Australia in just his 7th ODI. Match by match he is looking calmer, more focused and is having a blast out there! The key with Australian cricket now is to be patient. You could see Tim was due for a big score, as game by game his totals have improved and his strike-rates have looked more positive. But his innings today was a gem from a bloke in only is 7th game, with very minimal experience behind him in the bigger picture.
He took his time, played his shots, built the foundation, and gradually upped his tempo with much cleaner striking of the ball. He looked a lot more experienced in International cricket out there than his time and age would indicate.
Similar to Callum Ferguson in that regard! Spare a thought for Tim too. It's not like his prospects of selection or playing were that peachy until Haddin was sent home. So I think he has done a mighty good job!
Anytime seeing one of the boys reach a century, get their first wicket, or claim a 5-for is a proud moment as a supporter because you realise all the work they put in to get there and entertain us has paid off in some way. Tim has certainly proven the confidence at International level. He just needs to face some more unique opponents now for the real experience, which I am sure he'll manage with the right seniors to learn from!
On that note, I think batting with Mike Hussey was a big plus for him too.
After Watto's wicket collapsed unfortunately, followed soon by Punter, Huss was promoted wisely so.
As you will see reading through any articles, I have never called for Huss to be axed from the side, nor lost the confidence in his cricket, despite his serious form slump.
I just fail too see how a cricketer who works so hard at his game, is able can inspire his own Captain who is a modern day Legend of the game and having had to wait so long to get his moment, will just bow out with no impact at all.
His One Day performances have been consistent (taking into consideration where he bats) and his innings in the match was terrific. His strike-rate was right up where it needed to be, he kept the scoreboard ticking while Tim grounded the scene, and look at the result! The highest 3rd wicket partnership against England for Aus and another one of these achievements for Huss' records. A solid half-century there Huss!
After seeing that streak in Punter's batting the other night that I have missed in his One Day game, I have equally missed those powerful heaves Huss launches too deep mid-wicket. Like when many critics called for Punter to be sacked as Skipper, I can't bring myself down to that level and the same goes for backing Huss all the way.
Himself and Tim set the innings up. Quick wickets fell, and yes Callum Ferguson lucked out this time, but Cameron White kept the brutality level's up while James 'Catfish' Hopes launched an assault that I didn't expect from him. They raced to a fifty run partnership to push closer to the 300 mark, with Cam White playing that trademark shot for six at least once! The follow through on the shot is so powerful and damn does it fly away! Epic, and backed by Hopes' barrage of boundaries, it proved to be an effective passage of play.
Even Peter Siddle chipped in nicely at the end, but ultimately to see Tim Paine reach a century was a great moment! The third centurion in the series, along with Punter and White.
England were rolled over relatively cheaply. Andrew Strauss had a harsh send off, but at least he didn't have to contend with Nathan Hauritz dismissing him again! I think it summed up Strauss' time as Skipper in this series! Not much going his way, and when he did perform with the bat his team-mates left him stranded. They got the Ashes so he has that to keep him somewhat content I guess.
But honestly, what more can you expect him too tell the media with the performances? But yeah, pretty much a winning performance from the bowlers. Ricky Ponting's sensational fielding is what ultimately got the boys into a winning position. From that century last match, to his youthful like energy in the field, with two lightning bolt direct hits, it was a pleasing sight to see Punter bouncing about and really embracing the moment. Just so much ambition again, and he really looks enthusiastic to be out there.
Otherwise every one chipped in where they had to, and while the fielding appeared to be sloppy at times it was, the job at knocking away the middle-order was done promptly.
Just the tail-enders made a bit of a stay.
Peter Siddle was given another go. While I personally don't see Sid's becoming a regular feature in the One Day team in the near future, he was highly economical and picked up a wicket of his own to be another contributor. He's still there for the Test matches though and has time on his side!
James Hopes was quite awesome with his bowling. He has the knack to get the soft dismissals, but the one's that count! All in all a good game for Catfish after being brought back in to maintain the balance of the bowling unit! All his performance does is boost the strength in numbers of this One Day team. Catfish is always going to be on the fence but when he plays he fights like a dog!
Honestly, you could put together a few combined teams at the moment, as Michael Clarke and Mitchell Johnson being rested indicates, despite the series standings.
Brett Lee had a bit of a scrappy game, but why read into it? A duck, more no-balls (ok this will be looked at by the team management I reckon) and some daft fielding was very disappointing. It doesn't matter how you win, there will always be something Punter wants to rectify. But it's still exciting to see Binga back out there and after pegging back James Anderson's off-stump, it was such a smack down way to end the match!
So England didn't get anything going again, and you can't blame them.
Besides the fact 7 ODI's is overkill (same deal in India later this year) it can't be easy to comeback being so far down!
However, the boys will be edging to get stuck into the Champions Trophy and defend that title after this game with these performances.
Only thing is that it's a new series to adapt too and quite cut-throat too, so the momentum carried from here needs to backed up with some highly competitive and aggressively tenacious, ambitious cricket the Australian way!
The boys getting back up to the number one ranking in One Day cricket (tie with The Proteas) is pleasing again after such a torrid time over quite a few months, but the Champions Trophy and some more One Dayers will be the real test to prove we have fully earned the title back.
But the boys are looking a more settled, professional outfit, and slowly but surely the departures of Gilly and Haydos are starting to fade away into distant memory as we move towards the future.
6-0 is where we are at, so let's take it to a whitewash!