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Ashes rerun as whitewash No 2 looms for England in ODI series vs Australia

Monday, 20 January 2014 - 8:30am IST | Agency: Daily Telegraph

After a pulsating encounter in Brisbane this was a return to the one-sided cricket of the Ashes as Australia comprehensively outplayed a limp England to set up the possibility of a second 5-0 whitewash.

The ultimate humiliation could be realised on Australia Day in Adelaide on Sunday unless Alastair Cook can raise his team to win in Perth on Friday at the Waca - where they surrendered the Ashes a month ago. Michael Clarke will be rested for the Perth match, but so far Australia's second-stringers have been every bit as adept at breaking England's spirit as their senior counterparts.

On Sunday, Shaun Marsh, deputising for Shane Watson at No3, made an untroubled 71 off 89 balls to deliver victory with 10 overs left of a match which encapsulated the rotten state of England's cricket. The batsmen could not stay in long enough to build partnerships, the fielding was second rate and the bowlers could not find consistency. It was the Ashes revisited as David Warner led Australia's charge with 71 before Brad Haddin provided the brutal knockout blow.

Cook wore a resigned look as his team's fate unfolded, but ironically this was one of his better matches. He batted with real intent, hitting his first six of the tour as he tried to get England off to a positive start. He constantly cajoled his bowlers in search of a wicket, but they again let him down, with the senior men, Stuart Broad and Tim Bresnan, each conceding runs at seven an over. England tried to bounce back from their morale-sapping defeat at the Gabba by dropping Joe Root and playing positively against the new ball, but again only Eoin Morgan proved hard for Australia to shift. He now has two half-centuries and a hundred in the three games.

Australia's spinners, Xavier Doherty and Glenn Maxwell, were able to dictate, bowling 64 dot balls. Ben Stokes was promoted to No?3 but was as scoreless as Root, failing to hit a single boundary in a 39-ball 15. Cook drove Nathan Coulter-Nile to cover and Bell was run out for the second match in succession when Warner threw down the stumps from halfway to the boundary. It took a moment of controversy and brilliance to end Morgan's innings. He had made 54 off 58 balls, the base from which he launched a stunning attack in Brisbane on Friday, when Dan Christian dived forward to take a return catch.

Morgan waited for the umpires to check if it had carried, sparking an angry confrontation with Clarke, whose own batsman, Warner, had accepted the word of Jos Buttler when he appeared caught behind in the first match in Melbourne. Morgan knew if he stood his ground he might get a reprieve - as Warner was recalled at the MCG - but the umpires judged it was a good catch and he was booed off by the Sydney crowd.

England spent 20 minutes working on their fielding during the interval but Ravi Bopara missed a run-out chance to dismiss Warner before he had faced a delivery, a failure which summed up the tour. Warner is not all about blood and thunder. He scored 21 singles as he dropped the ball and ran to keep the score ticking over - though he also hit seven fours and two sixes. He looked ready to inflict serious damage when he swept James Tredwell for six and cut Stokes's first delivery for four, but he fell when a hundred was on the cards. Bopara's bowling was perfect for the dry surface and he bowled Clarke through the gate for 34 but Haddin and Marsh completed the rout.

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