Australia claimed a comfortable eight-wicket win over England in Manchester in the fifth and final ODI to take the series 3-2 as the hosts were skittled over for just 138.
England skipper Eoin Morgan won the toss and decided to bat first on a pitch that the former Ireland man claimed was similar to the one that saw more than 600 runs scored in Leeds in the fourth ODI.
However, the decision backfired spectacularly as Mitchell Starc and John Hastings ran through the England top-order, leaving them reeling at 22-3.
It went from bad to worse for the hosts after Morgan was hit on the head and had to retire hurt just an over later with the score still at 22. Marsh then came on to ensure that England kept losing wickets at regular intervals as he accounted for the entire middle order.
“My bowling is something I’ve been working on, it’s nice to contribute to the team with the ball. Just got to put the ball in the right area and wait for the mistake,” said man of the match Marsh according to ESPNCricinfo.
However, the 23-year-old refused to label himself a genuine all-rounder as of yet. “I just want to keep improving both facets of my game and contributing for Australia,” he added. “If I can do that, the rest will look after itself. Shame to lose the Ashes but, with a few injuries, to win this series is great.”
All-rounder Ben Stokes then put on a defiant 42 off 51 balls but when he was caught in front of the wicket by Marsh to leave England 85-7, it seemed that they may struggle to reach 100.
But spinner Adil Rashid and 21-year-old debutant Reece Topley frustrated the Australians by putting on 32 for the final partnership — the pair’s 59-ball stay in the middle was by far the longest of any England partnership.
When Topley was dismissed by Ashton Agar, Adil walked back with him as Morgan had been unable to recover in time from his concussion.
England’s batsmen had seemingly regained form in the last two matches, scoring in excess of 300, but the notion of momentum was once again defied by the finale of a topsy-turvy tour that has seen both sides fluctuate from unplayable to clueless.
With the hosts dismissed in just 33 overs, there was time for Australia to bat for 10 overs before lunch. However, an unconvincing performance saw the visitors 36-2 at the break with opener Joe Burns and skipper Steven Smith back in the pavilion.
Aaron Finch (70 off 64 balls) and George Bailey (41 off 45 balls) ensured there were no more jittery moments after the break as they put on a 109-run stand in just 15.1 overs to take Australia over the line.
Published in The Express Tribune, September 14th, 2015.