LONDON, (Reuters) – England’s rampant one-day side powered to a fourth straight win over Australia, following up their world record rampage at Trent Bridge with a commanding six-wicket victory at Chester-le-Street on Thursday led by centurion Jason Roy.
Roy cracked his second century of the series, a brilliant 101 off 83 balls, to pave the way for England to make easy meat of Australia’s 310-8, which had also featured hundreds for Aaron Finch and Shaun Marsh.
After piling up a world record total of 481 from a 50-over international at Trent Bridge on Tuesday and inflicting Australia’s heaviest-ever defeat, England again outplayed the visitors, pulling off their second-highest ever ODI run chase.
It gave England’s hugely talented, big-hitting side a 4-0 lead in the series with the chance of an unprecedented whitewash in Sunday’s fifth and final match at Old Trafford.
After the Trent Bridge humiliation, Australia seemed determined to rebound strongly and when their captain Tim Paine won the toss and opted to bat, opener Finch’s 100 off 106 balls and a 92-ball 101 from Marsh promised much.
Yet though Travis Head’s blistering 63 in a century opening partnership with Finch and Marsh’s fine knock, which saw him take 24 in one over off Adil Rashid, promised much, the Aussies’ top three had poor support with David Willey belatedly claiming four wickets in his last two overs.
Roy, who had scored 120 at Cardiff at the weekend and 82 in the Nottingham run bonanza, was again in dazzling form along with the equally on-song Jonny Bairstow as they laid the foundations for the win with a 174-run opening partnership.
Bairstow, a centurion at Trent Bridge, smashed 79 off 66 balls while Roy plundered two sixes and 12 fours in his century, before Jos Buttler, with a 28-ball half-century, and Alex Hales proved thunderous finishers, ensuring the total was knocked off with 32 balls to spare.
Only the 350-3 they made against New Zealand in Nottingham in 2015 surpassed their race to 314-4 off 44.4 overs but England’s delighted captain Eoin Morgan is evidently not yet satisfied.
Asked if he thought the 5-0 whitewash was on, he said at the post-match presentation ceremony: “There might be an opportunity in the next game. We like playing at Old Trafford — the challenge is to finish it off.”