Jos Buttler struck an unbeaten century to help England win by one wicket and claim the country’s first ever five-match series whitewash over Australia.
Buttler finished the match on 110 not out. Playing in front of a home crowd at Emirates Old Trafford, he faced 122 balls – striking 12 fours and a six.
Having lost the toss this morning on what looked like a good batting track, England didn’t get off to the best possible start with openers Australian operners Travis Head and Aaron Finch taking the game to the England bowlers. The pair found the boundary regularly with relative ease and put on 50 in 29 balls.
Against the run of play, England made a crucial breakthrough thanks to spinner Moeen Ali as the destructive Finch found the faintest of bottom edges and played onto his stumps for 22 to leave the tourists on 60-1.
60-1 was to be 60-2 two balls later as Marcus Stoinis (0) looped an Ali ball to Jake Ball at short fine-leg.
Despite the minor setback, the Australians soon had something to cheer about as the assertive Head reached his half century off 36 balls. He struck eight boundaries in his half century.
Soon after Head reached 50, he gave his wicket away as he tried to work Liam Plunkett into the leg-side, only to find England captain Eoin Morgan at mid-wicket.
The wicket of Head sparked a collapse as Australia went from 90-3 too 100-5. Wicketkeeper Jos Buttler firstly stumped Shaun Marsh off the bowling of Moeen Ali before running out Australia Captain Tim Paine.
A period of stability was required for the visitors – and they delivered, by limping to the drinks interval, reaching 117-5.
The sixth wicket pairing of D’Arcy Short and Alex Carey looked set to salvage a respectable total as they managed to put on 59 together. However, debutant Sam Curran had other ideas as he had Carey caught behind for 44, before clean bowling Ashton Agar for 0.
At 159-7, an uphill battle was on the cards for Australia. Kane Richardson, Billy Stanlake and Nathan Lyon all fell cheaply to leave their side 205 all out.
The pick of the English bowlers was spinner Moeen Ali who returned figures of 4-46 off the 8.4 overs that he bowled.
Having been set a low target of 206 runs to win, the pursuit couldn’t have started much worse for England as Surrey batsman Jason Roy, who had looked in excellent touch throughout the series, fell for a single as he was bowled by the left-arm orthodox of Agar.
Following the cheep dismissals of Jonny Bairstow (12), Joe Root (1) and Eoin Morgan (0), the hosts found themselves reeling at 27-4. Given that their opponents were 60-1 at the same stage, it seemed that Australia were in the driving seat.
They remained in the driving seat, making regular breakthroughs, temporarily sinking the hearts of 23,500 Englishmen inside the ground.
Moeen Ali and Alex Hales needed to really dig in if any sort of hope was to be revived. The loss of Hales, Ali and Curran made the scoreboard a grim read at 114-7.
Having taken the wickets of Sam Curran and Liam Plunkett in consecutive balls, it left Adil Rashid to face the hattrick ball from Kane Richardson. He managed to block it out and survive.
Needing a further 92 runs for victory off 122 balls with only two wickets in the tank, the chances of a victory were looking slim.
The pair dug in and put on 81 runs together for the ninth wicket. Buttler reached his 50 off 74 balls and played to the situation.
With 11 runs required, Adil Rashid mistimed a pull shot and picked out Billy Stanlake in the deep to keep English nerves jangling.
Nottinghamshire bowler Jake Ball joined Buttler, who was on 98 at this point and helped fend off the Australian bowlers. This allowed Jos Buttler to pass 100 and go on to hit the winning runs.
Buttler made comment on how he felt when he struck the winning runs: “It was just pure elation.
“It’s an interesting bag because you know it’s just one shot away and you’re just trying to pick the right ball.”
When asked whether or not he believes he’s playing the best he’s ever played with both bat and gloves, Buttler commented: “I think it is. They probably help each other. When you’re performing in one are, it gives you confidence and allows you to relax into the other.”
Australia Captain, Tim Paine, paid compliment to Buttler and said: “Right now he has to be the best white-ball wicket keeper in the world.
“He’s at the absolute peak of his powers and he understands the white ball game so well and knows his strengths inside out.”
England Head Coach, Trevor Bayliss, hailed Buttler and said: “He’s right up there in the top echelon.
“He’s different to players that I worked with before. He’s devastating.”