PERTH: A career-best performance by much-maligned all-rounder Glenn Maxwell inspired Australia to a crushing win over England in the tri-series final at the WACA Ground on Sunday.
Maxwell made 95 to help Australia recover from a poor start to reach 278-8. He then took four wickets and a fine catch as England crumbled in the run chase to be dismissed for just 166 in 39.1 overs as the hosts won by 112 runs.
England, who will face Australia in the sides’ World Cup opener later this month, were never in the hunt after returning paceman Mitchell Johnson claimed three quick wickets to leave them 46-4, including English skipper Eoin Morgan who left a straight ball that crashed into his off stump on his first ball.
The losing captain, however, is confident that him and his side will bounce back from this. "One of the tests of defeat is how we come back from it," he said. "I've got no doubt they'll bounce back really well.”
Maxwell (4-46) also found himself on a hat-trick after removing Jos Buttler on 17 and a hapless Chris Woakes on a golden duck.
The 26-year-old praised a dominant performance by his team and was delighted to prove his worth. “Both aspects of my game were pretty good today, finally,” he said. “I knew I had that in me. I just hadn't shown it yet.”
After being put in to bat by Morgan, the home side also suffered a top order collapse and slumped to 60-4 against some good early bowling from James Anderson.
However, a 141-run partnership between Maxwell and local favourite Mitchell Marsh turned the match on its head.
Maxwell was a marginal selection in Australia's World Cup squad after his indifferent form over the past 12 months but showed his value with a typically inventive innings.
He and Marsh set a new WACA record for a fifth-wicket stand, and Maxwell looked set for his first ODI hundred as he passed his previous best of 93.
However, another audacious stroke brought about his demise for 95, caught behind by Buttler after top-edging an attempted pull shot off Stuart Broad.
Marsh offered great support, displaying his powerful strokeplay in making 60 from 68 balls before being run out.
Australia's total was boosted by a lusty unbeaten 50 off just 24 balls by James Faulkner in the dying overs.
The right-hander took 22 runs off the last four balls of the 49th over by Chris Woakes, who went wicketless and conceded 89 runs in his 10 overs.
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