England must just wish their winter tour to Australia could just end at this moment after yet another defeat in the latest ODI match in Sydney. The host have now claimed an unassailable 3-0 win in the series after defeating the tourists by seven wickets and it seems that the England players are destined to return home without a win in 10 test and one day internationals.
Alastair Cook won the toss and decided to bat in Sunday’s ODI contest but only Eoin Morgan with a score of 54 produced any real significant contribution, although Tim Bresnan remained unbeaten on 41 as the innings closed. All-rounder Ben Stokes was moved up the order to fill the gap created by the omission of Joe Root but his 15 runs were just symptomatic of the other batsmen who were unable to build upon reasonable starts.
243-9 from 50 overs was not a formidable target for the increasingly confident Australian team with both David Warner and Shaun Marsh amassing 71 runs as the hosts accumulated 244 runs with 10 overs and 7 wickets to spare.
For the demoralised English tourists, it must be now galling to realise that they could be whitewashed in both ODI and Test series after flying to Australia as favourites to retain the Ashes. Perhaps the last week has summarised what has been a most forgettable tour.
After Steve Finn was persuaded to return home to work on his bowling action with encouragement to regain ‘his love of the game’ and then to lose the second ODI match from a seemingly invincible position, they were yet further damaging blows to a team for which this winter has been one long nightmare.
With three players now having departed the tour for separate personal reasons, it begs the question as to whether there has been sufficient support and motivation for the touring party from coaches and selectors alike. There just does not appear to be any positive spirit within the camp with continuous rumours surrounding the attitude of Kevin Pietersen merely adding to the diminishing morale in the camp.
These off-field problems were further compounded by James Faulkner’s swashbuckling 69 runs from 47 balls to help Australia win the second ODI international, when all seemed lost. This was probably the moment when England realised that they may not win a match on this ill-fated tour. Not only are players departing, but the tourists just cannot build a commanding innings worthy of capturing a vital win.
There are still two internationals to be played in this ODI series and the Australians will be eager to claim another 5-0 win especially as It now seems improbable that their opponents will deny them yet another moment of glory.