LONDON, (Reuters) – England eased to a second successive victory in their five-match one-day series against Australia at the Oval today to record their eighth consecutive ODI win.
Chasing 252 to win on a friendly batting pitch, England reached their target with 26 balls to spare thanks to 82 run out from Ravi Bopara and a fluent 75 from Ian Bell.
Australia scored 251 for seven with opener Shane Watson scoring a muscular 66 and George Bailey reaching 65.
Their total looked at least 30 short of a defendable one and Bell made the most of his opportunity at the top of the order since replacing the retired Kevin Pietersen.
He was dropped on 38 but made no further mistakes before he was bowled missing an attempted cut off Australia captain Michael Clarke’s first delivery.
Bopara, seeking to impress before the forthcoming test series against South Africa, was untroubled before he ran himself out with only two runs required.
Eoin Morgan was there at the finish unbeaten on 43 after Clarke was awarded an lbw decision with his second ball to the England left-hander who had yet to score. Morgan immediately appealed and television replays showed he had got a faint inside edge.
England, the world’s top-ranked test side, can overhaul Australia at the top of the one-day rankings if they complete a series whitewash.