Opener Ian Bell hit a strokeful hundred only to see England lose momentum at the end of their innings to finish on 303 for eight against Australia in the fourth ODI of the ongoing tri-series at the Bellerive Oval, here today.
Put into bat, England rode on a strong 113-run opening stand between Bell, who struck his eight ODI ton, and Moeen Ali (46) to give the visitors a good start only to see the script reverse in the final 10 overs.
Ali’s wicket, who missed on a fifty after falling to James Faulker (1-53) in the 23rd over, was followed by James Taylor (5) as Australia seemed to pull things back a bit.
Bell, whose 125-ball innings was laced with 15 fours and a six, though carried on in the same vein, stitching up a 121-run third-wicket partnership with Joe Root (69) to once again expose the chinks in Australia’s bowling armour.
But rookie Gurinder Sandhu had other ideas as the young medium-pacer finally got Bell in the 43rd over to check England’s surge.
Sandhu’s well disguised slower ball got the better of a well set Bell, when the opener looped the ball to mid-off for Mitchell Starc to complete the formalities.
A ball later, Sandhu struck again, this time sending captain Eoin Morgan out caught behind for a first-ball duck.
Root, who completed his eight ODI fifty, tried to carry on the momentum built by Bell but fell to Pat Cummins (1-74), who tried to undo the damage after being guilty of leaking too many runs in his quota of overs.
Wicketkeeper-batsman Jos Buttler (25) tried to add some quick runs in the end but Australia came up with an improved bowling show in the death overs to allow the visitors just 27 runs from the last five.
Looking comfortable at 244 for two at the end of 40 overs, England saw a big slide as runs were hard to come by and the wicket-fall also did not help their cause.
The final 30 deliveries saw three wickets including two run outs and England, who started off in bright fashion, ended on a sombre note.
Australia have won both their games so far while England stand ahead of India, who are winless, in the points table with a win and a loss from two matches.