Southampton: Australia registered a five-wicket win over England in the third T20I here on Tuesday . England had already won the three-match series as they won the first two T20Is but this win in the dead rubber saved Australia from a humiliating clean-sweep loss and helped them secure the No.1 ranking in T20Is.
Chasing a target of 146 runs, Australia commenced their innings in an aggressive manner, with Aaron Finch and Matthew Wade scoring 16 runs off the first over. The duo formed a fast-paced 31-run partnership before Mark Wood dismissed Wade (14).
Despite the dismissal, Australia did not lose any momentum as Marcus Stoinis, along with Finch, kept the scoreboard running. Finch and Stoinis took Australia to 70/1 in seven overs, putting their team in a dominating position in the match. Tom Curran then took the wicket of Stoinis (26) and the dismissal brought Glenn Maxwell out on the field.
Adil Rashid bowled the 11th over and took the wicket of Maxwell (6) and Finch (39), bringing England back in the game. In his next over, Rashid caught and bowled Steve Smith. Mitchell Marsh and Ashton Agar then took the charge of the chase. Marsh struck a six and a boundary to Wood in the 16th over as he took Australia closer to the target.
Both Agar and March then played cautiously and formed a 46-run partnership as they handed their team the first win in the series.
Earlier after being asked to bat first, England witnessed a bad start to their innings, with Josh Hazlewood sending Tom Banton back to the pavilion in the second over of the innings.
Dawid Malan then joined Jonny Bairstow in the middle. Both played brilliantly and struck regular boundaries. Bairstow and Malan took England over the 50-run mark but soon after that, Malan was dismissed by Adam Zampa.
Sam Billings was the next batsman but failed to make his mark as Zampa, in his next over, got hold of Billings (4). Bairstow continued his stunning form and went on to score a half-century.
Ashton Agar handed Australia the much-needed breakthrough as he caught and bowled Bairstow which ended the batsman`s 55-run innings. Joe Denly and Moeen Ali, who was leading the team in the match, then took the field and formed a 25-run partnership. Ali played a knock of 23 runs before Mitchell Starc removed him.
Shifting gear in the 18th over, Denly struck three consecutive boundaries to Kane Richardson. Denly scored 29* runs from 19 balls to help England reach a decent total of 145 runs.
England and Australia will now play a three-match ODI series, beginning on Friday.