After being crushed in the Ashes 5-0, England went into the one-day series extremely low on confidence. If there was one positive the visitors could have taken into the shorter format of the game, it was the fact that a few players who weren’t part of the 5-0 whitewash had joined the squad and could have brought a fresh sense of purpose to the team. But, it did not make any difference as the Aussies outplayed the Englishmen to clinch the one-day series as well. In all departments, as well as the mental aspect, Australia were way ahead of the English.
If England were looking for inspiration, it definitely did not come from their skipper Alastair Cook. The man, who once led the side from the front, extended his run of failures. Just like in the Test matches, Cook got off to starts in two of the first three matches as well, but did not show the tenacity to carry on. He must have tried for sure, but the sense of tardiness in his batting was evident. Following such a lean run, it is not surprising that Cook is considering quitting as leader in the 50-over version.
In the absence of Kevin Pietersen, there were lots of hopes from Ian Bell. The fluent right-hander did make an impression each time he was out in the middle. With scores of 41, 68 and 29, he was consistent, but lacked the big score that England so desperately needed from their openers. Had Bell or Cook converted a couple of their starts into big knocks, the scoreline might have been a bit different at the end of the third ODI. The performance of Bell and Cook in the series demonstrates that the Aussies just did not allow the English batsmen to settle down.
Thankfully for England, they have tasted a few positives in spite of already having lost the series. Eoin Morgan has been at the top of his game. He kicked off the series with a fluent half-century, followed it with a brilliant century and came up with a smart 54 in the third ODI even as most of the others struggled. England would want him to continue the good work though they have already lost the series. A couple of wins will obviously do no harm to the team’s confidence, which is at an all-time low.
The younger ones in the team were to be on test during the ongoing series, and they have tasted mixed results. Gary Ballance began the series with an impressive 79 at the MCG, but hasn’t done much in his subsequent knocks. Jos Buttler has been effective lower down in the innings, but his efforts have come a bit too late in the batting order. The lack of experience in the bowling attack has also haunted them. Chris Jordan has looked impressive even as Boyd Rankin disappointed with his fitness issues. Overall, England haven’t shown the will to win.
--By A Cricket Analyst