Posted by Gareth Parry Added on: July 09 2012
England 201 for 2 (Bell 69, Trott 64*) beat Australia 200 for 9 (Hussey 70, Clarke 43, Finn 4-37) by eight wickets
After the washout in the 3rd match of the series England were no longer able to take the Australians number one ODI ranking from them regardless of the outcome of the remaining games. Even so the home side were looking to take full advantage of the form they found themselves in and extend their winning streak to nine ODI's against a struggling Australian side.
With the Australian bowling reserves depleted the visitors chose to leave out their front-line spinner and include four fast bowlers with Pattinson and Hilfenhaus coming into the side. The weather had been atrocious in the UK and it was a great credit to the Durham ground staff that the fourth ODI was able to start on time.
Even so the early conditions were strongly in favour of the side that bowled first making the toss crucial. It was England that won the toss who, without hesitation, elected to field first.
The England opening bowlers showed excellent control in the first powerplay and extracted prodigious swing and seam movement. Finn was the man to do the damage to the visitors batting line up; taking two wickets in two balls in the sixth over. The men to fall were Warner and Forrest with both dismissed lbw as Finn made the most of the conditions and bowled an attacking line and full length.
The Australians struggled to 15 for 2 at the end of the first powerplay with Watson and Clarke looking only to survive the early exchanges. With the hard work done the pair were starting to recover strongly and had put on a partnership of 51 before Watson played a poor shot and chopped an innocuous delivery from Bresnan onto his stumps.
The visitors were left to rue Watson's misjudgement as 57 for 3 became 96 for 6 by the 33rd over. The conditions were by no means unplayable but it needed set batsmen to keep their wickets intact with players new to the crease finding conditions difficult. Finn was again the spearhead for England and for the second time in the innings he took two wickets in consecutive deliveries. He finished with exceptional figures of 10-2-37-4 and bowled with excellent control as he made a strong case to be included in the test side.
It took a circumspect innings from the usually aggressive pair of David Hussey and Brett Lee to take Australia to a defensible total. Both men had moments of good fortune and faced easier conditions as the ball got older but were nevertheless in good form to put on a partnership of 70. Lee's 27 from 41 balls was invaluable but it was Hussey's 70 that was the key innings as Australia reached exactly 200.
Anderson and Bresnan were in impressive form with the ball as both men picked up two wickets. Anderson, with figures of 10-3-34-2, also became only the second England international player to take more than 500 wickets in international cricket with only Sir Ian Botham ahead of him.
Australia's total of 200 was certainly below par but with conditions still favouring the bowlers and an attack boasting four excellent fast bowlers they would have expected the game to be much closer than it turned out being.
In truth when Brett Lee and Shane Watson pulled up injured in their 3rd and 1st overs respectively Australia were unlikely to challenge a strong England batting line-up. The fact that Michael Clarke was forced to bowl himself and Hussey for a significant number of overs underlined the problems these injuries caused Australia.
Nevertheless it was a professional performance from England who never look flustered and reached the target in the 48th over to win by 8 wickets. Ian Bell and Jonathan Trott both reached 50 with Bell top scoring with 69 and Trott finishing with an unbeaten 64. Bopara was also in excellent form and made further strong claims for a test place with a calm 33 not out.
Clint McKay's performance was one of the few positives that the visitors could take from the 4th ODI. His figures of 10-1-29-2 underlined his value to Australia in ODI cricket and had Australia had another fast bowler perform to the same standard the match would have been a much closer affair.