Skipper Eoin Morgan revelled in England’s best one-day performance under his captaincy after the Jos Buttler-inspired tourists claimed a series-clinching victory over Australia in Sydney.
On a slow pitch, similar to that which England failed to fathom during last year’s Champions Trophy semi-final loss to Pakistan, Buttler notched a majestic century as his side posted 302-6.
England had been struggling on 189-6 before Buttler and Chris Woakes struck 102 in the final 10 overs, an acceleration which proved too much for Australia as they could only muster 286-6 off their 50 overs.
Morgan also had to contend with being robbed of seamer Liam Plunkett, who departed after bowling only eight deliveries due to a hamstring injury, although England prevailed by 16 runs to take an unassailable 3-0 series lead.
“This is certainly right up there,” said Morgan. “It [Buttler’s innings] was a huge contribution in what was our best performance as a group to date, throughout the last two years.
“Throughout the game today there were a lot of questions asked of us. With the bat, the way the pitch turned out, it wasn’t as good as we thought it would be, and we never really got away from Australia.
“It was a bit of a cat fight for quite a stage and Jos anchored the innings until the 40th over and then really did pull the trigger.”
After Morgan and Moeen Ali were dismissed in quick succession, England looked to be heading towards a score of around 250 at best before Buttler and Woakes instigated late fireworks.
Buttler, whose first 50 was made in relatively sedate fashion, went ballistic in the closing stages, clubbing fours and sixes around the ground, while Woakes was by no means a silent partner and added an invaluable 53.
Wicketkeeper-batsman Buttler scampered two runs off the final delivery to bring up his fifth one-day international ton – his slowest at 83 balls – before England took a steady stream of wickets as Australia failed to keep up the required run-rate.
Seamer Mark Wood, Woakes and leg-spinner Adil Rashid all snared two wickets apiece, as Mitchell Marsh and Marcus Stoinis made half-centuries in vain for Australia.