England almost won the fifth ODI at Adelaide on January 26, 2014. Irrespective of the final result, it was the first time in the ODI series that England laid Australia low, after losing the toss and fielding first. Stuart Broad and Ben Stokes dominated the top-order Australian batting and accounted for early wickets. Broad clean-bowled Finch and also sent back one-drop batsman Shane Watson for a duck; reducing Australia to 22/2 in 6.2 overs. Next to depart was Clarke, who missed the fourth ODI batted for 30 minutes, faced 26 balls and could only score 8, before being bowled by a beauty from Bresnan. Even Marsh, who opened the innings with Finch, made a belabored 36 off 52 balls. The Australian lost 4 wickets for 64 runs and by this time, they had already consumed 19.4 overs. Only George Bailey played purposefully to finish with the top score of 56 from 74 balls. Bailey along with Maxwell tried to lift Australia and partly succeeded in providing some respectability to the score. But Maxwell fell to an attempted off-side drive, which took the edge of his bat. Bailey continued with a mixture of attack and defence and maintained one end. But finally Bailey went for an intended punch and skied a catch to the mid-on fielder. After Bailey’s departure the lower order batsmen attempted to jack up the score as also the run rate. Wade put his best foot forward and scored 31 with just two boundaries. As always, Faulkner brought some speed but could not last beyond a run-a-ball 27, with Coulter-Nile chipping in with 15 in 18 balls. The relentless English bowlers made life difficult for the Australian batsmen and after 50 overs, the home side could only manage 217/9 with a meager run rate of 4.34. Broad and Stokes equally shared 6 Australian wickets between the two of them, and gave away only 74 runs in their combined 20 overs.

england cricketEngland had a cautious start with one eye on salvaging some more prestige, after the victory in the fourth ODI. But Cook and Ian Bell soon discovered why shot-making was difficult at the Adelaide pitch. At the score of 23, Bell attempted a lofted shot that landed in the hands of Finch, stationed at mid-off. After the fall of Finch, Ben Stokes joined Cook. Stokes is the only cricketer in the current England team, who has earned a name for himself. But on Sunday, he was unlucky. He attempted a pull from a delivery by McKay but couldn’t middle the ball so well. The skier flew to midwicket, where Marsh latched on to the catch. Cook, however, continued to build the innings in the company of Joe Root and the two added 61 runs for the third wicket. In the 24th over, just when things were looking brighter for England, Cook failed to control a shot and ended up tossing a catch to the short cover fielder. Root had Eoin Morgan for company, and these two were involved in another constructive knock, that yielded 64 runs for the fourth wicket. But Morgan too perished, when he drove uppishly to a delivery from Faulkner that went straight to Shane Watson at mid-off. At 154/4 with 14.2 overs to go, England still had a good chance to win the game. It was well within the capability of Root, Buttler, Bopara and Bresnan, all of whom could collectively contribute the remaining 64 runs at an asking rate of less than 5. But Root became wayward for a while and paddled a catch to the short fine leg.

Australians, who had resigned to a loss, suddenly saw a chance of victory, evident from the spring in their feet. And when Jos Buttler’s mighty heave was well judged by Mckay at deep midwicket, the outcome of the match was anybody’s guess. 20 runs were added by Bopara and Bresnan for the seventh wicket and the victory target for England came closer. When just 23 runs were required, Bresnan and Bopara tried a sharp single but Maxwell’s throw from cover hit the stumps at the non-striker’s end, a few seconds earlier than Bresnan could make his ground.

With Bresnan gone, Bopara had only Jordan and Tredwell for company. Bopara, however, was out to a very unfortunate decision. Wade was standing up to Mckay in the 49th over and England required 12 runs off 12 balls. 3 runs were scored off the first three balls but on the fourth, Bopara was beaten on off side and very briefly lifted his back foot. At that instant the ball ricocheted off Wade’s gloves and fell on the stumps. The third umpire was referred and in an exceptionally close decision, Bopara was declared out. In the last over from Shane Watson, England lost Tredwell and the match by 5 runs.