England v Australia: Five things we learned from the ODI series
Last Updated: 15/09/15 10:10am
It might not have quite lived up to England's stunning 3-2 ODI victory over New Zealand, but Eoin Morgan's men showed plenty of spirit in their series defeat to Australia.
So what did we learn from their 3-2 loss, other than Alex Hales' penchant for fancy dress? Here are five things for starters…
La Dolce Vita!
A break is as good as a change, it appears - and no, we don't mean Bumble's early-series romantic trip to Venice. Eoin Morgan's near month-long break from all cricket in August after what can only be described as a shocking run of form has had such a restorative effect on England's limited-overs captain that you can quite easily imagine the Mediterranean being swamped by out-of-sort cricketers this winter.
After scores of 74 (T20), 38, 85, 62 and 92, Australia's best hope of keeping Morgan in check seemed to persist with their aggressive short-ball tactics in the fifth ODI - and it did have the desired effect, although not in the way that anyone wanted.
Right on, Rashid
Who was the last England leg-spinner to take five wickets in an international? Ian Salisbury? Mike Atherton? Er, Nasser Hussain? No - Tommy Greenough in the late 1950s. So Adil Rashid's second four-wicket haul of the summer in the first ODI - following up the career-best 4-55 he took against New Zealand earlier in the summer - certainly is not to be sniffed at.
Contrary to what the numbers suggest, Rashid produced a far more probing spell in taking 2-41 in the third ODI - working Australia's batsmen hard for the concession of each and every run. This leg-spinner's stock is only rising.
Taylor can cut it
Denied the chance to score his maiden ODI hundred by an umpiring error in England's 111-run World Cup defeat to Australia, Taylor made amends against the same opposition at the third time of asking (having previously got starts of 49 and 43) in the third one-dayer.
Granted his chance to bat at three in the absence of the resting Joe Root, Taylor carefully adjusted to conditions - he did not hit a boundary until his 53rd delivery - adaptability Australia could not replicate in their innings. Dashing between the wickets, he let Jason Roy and Eoin Morgan cut a dash with the bat and duly struck the first home hundred of the series to keep England's hopes alive. Strong against spin, England's next tour could be tailor-made for him.
This could have been Jason Roy's series - but the Surrey opener at least did enough to suggest that such a day will come in due course. In wonderful form for the most part, his failure to review his lbw decision in the fifth ODI - a decision that was flawed in every aspect - probably denied the Old Trafford crowd of another crisp display of ball striking.
Having got England off to some decent starts, papering over Alex Hales' poor form in the process, Roy did not ever go on to make the truly significant score that his flourishing blade suggested was just around the corner. But a return of two fifties and over 200 runs hints at a lengthy England stay.
England's catching in the Ashes set a high benchmark (Nasser Hussain's slip up in the demo aside, of course) but standards held firm in the ODIs - Steven Finn and Jason Roy taking two screamers in the first of the Old Trafford double-headers.
Anyone who suffered watching some of the fielding displays during the World Cup was left rubbing their eyes - but it is just one area where the new Trevor Bayliss-Paul Farbrace combination has worked its dynamic magic. Disagree? Then the sight of a six-foot-eight-inch seamer leaping to his right at short mid-wicket to remove Steve Smith tells you all you need to know…