Adam Zampa is in career-best form at the moment, and he was at his crafty best again in Australia’s thumping of England on Tuesday night to whitewash the three-match ODI series.
The leg-spinner took 4-31 from 5.4 overs and was even on a hat-trick at one stage before eventually settling for a double-wicket maiden in the over.
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It was one of his most damaging spells in ODI cricket, but he can feel slightly hard done by that he didn’t come out of it with a five wicket haul after one of the more bizarre DRS calls by the automated hawk-eye system.
Liam Dawson tried to sweep Zampa and got trapped LBW in front, seemingly plumb. Umpire Paul Reiffel ruled not out, but the Aussies immediately sent the decision upstairs to the third umpire.
It was clear there was no bat involved, so the decision solely hinged on the hawk-eye ball-tracking.
The ball pitched on leg stump, spun back to hit Dawson between middle and leg, and looked all but certain to go on to hit middle and off stump.
Instead, hawk-eye predicted it was missing off stump – and missing comfortably.
The game was already dead with the result beyond doubt in Australia’s favour, so it was hardly a flashpoint moment of the game. But players were still baffled at the outcome, with even Dawson laughing and Reiffel allowing himself a subtle smirk on his face.
Marnus Labuschagne had the most animated reaction, with his remarks heard over the stump mics.
“Where are we?” he said, referring to conditions in Australia which typically aren’t very conducive to spin. The amount of turn hawk-eye predicted Zampa’s ball to have was more characteristic of sub-continental conditions, where spin dominates.
“Well, that was obviously predicted to turn viciously,” commentator Mark Howard said.
“The players are absolutely astonished that it’s turned that far and missing off-stump,” Mark Waugh said.
“’No way’, they’re saying, ‘that’s hitting middle stump’.
“I can’t believe hawk-eye’s got it spinning that far.”
Australia went on to a dominant win nonetheless, thumping the old enemy by 221 runs.
Australia’s prolific opening batting pair of David Warner and Travis head piled on 269 for the opening wicket, the second-highest partnership in the nation’s ODI history, as they smashed a tired and sorry England in front of just 10,406 fans at the MCG on Tuesday.
The winning margin in the third and final game was Australia’s biggest over England in ODIs, eclipsing the mark set in the second tri-series final of 1999.
Warner and Head’s centuries helped Australia post 5-355 – the highest ODI total at the MCG – after England captain Jos Buttler won the toss and elected to field.
Head hit 152 from 130 balls to bring up his third ODI ton and highest score in the format, making England pay for dropping him when he was on just four.
The South Australian left-hander also successfully reviewed an LBW decision after being given out in just the third over.
Warner finally ended an international century drought spanning 1040 days, dating back to January 2020, blasting 106 for his 19th ODI hundred.
The pair, who only reunited at the top of the order for this series after Aaron Finch’s ODI retirement last month, fell 15 runs short of breaking their own record for Australia’s highest ODI partnership.
Warner and Head put on 284 together as Australia smashed Pakistan at Adelaide Oval in January 2017.
In just 13 innings, Warner and Head have scored 1106 runs as an ODI partnership at an average of 85.07.
Their form is excellent news for Australia as they prepare for the 50-over World Cup in India next year.
Two rain delays during Australia’s innings reduced the game to 48 overs per-side, with England’s target lifted to 364.
England’s run chase was as lackluster as their efforts in the field as they were all out for 142 in the 32nd over.
Opener Jason Roy top-scored with 38 and had little support as England seemed more focused on their 6am flight home on Wednesday.
Fast bowler Olly Stone, who was playing in just his sixth ODI, was comfortably the pick of England’s bowlers with figures of 4-85.
Zampa finished with 4-31 to finish the series with 11 wickets.
Australia entered the match with an unassailable 2-0 lead after comfortably winning games in Adelaide and Sydney last week.
It was a dire way for England to end their time in Australia, with the loss coming just nine days after Buttler held the T20 World Cup trophy aloft at the MCG in front of a crowd of 80,462.
Opening batter Phil Salt was subbed out of the game with concussion for England after an attempt to save a boundary went wrong and he was replaced by allrounder Moeen Ali.
After resting from Saturday’s game, Pat Cummins (2-25) returned to captain Australia following fellow fast bowler Josh Hazlewood’s surprise elevation to skipper for that match.
“Good to finish it off here with just about the best ODI I’ve ever been part of,” Cummins said.
“The opening partnership, they (Warner and Head) came off and said the wicket was a bit tricky, we didn’t believe them, but it was a really tricky wicket out there.”
Fast bowler Mitchell Starc stayed home to rest in Sydney ahead of a busy Test summer as allrounder Sean Abbott (2-45) made his first appearance of the series.
– With AAP