Sydney: David Hussey steered Australia to a four-wicket win over England in the third one-day international at the Sydney Cricket Ground on Sunday.
Australia posted 215-6 to win with four overs to spare, after England scored just 214 from 48 overs -- the third time in as many matches they have failed to last their full allotment of overs.
The home side take a 3-0 lead in the seven-match series, in which England are seeking a sixth consecutive ODI series win.
The English total, which was anchored by Jonathan Trott’s unbeaten 84, never looked enough, but Australia’s top-order woes again opened the door to the tourists, as they slumped to 100-5 with four of the top five failing to reach double
While Brad Haddin made a half-century before throwing his wicket away to part-time seamer Paul Collingwood (2-25), Australian captain Michael Clarke’s poor run continued after he made just nine.
It was left to Hussey to steer the chase, making an unbeaten 68 from 89 balls, with support from Steve Smith (26) and John Hastings (18 not out).
Man-of-the-match Brett Lee (3-27) said Australia had turned the corner after a tough summer, including the 3-1 Ashes loss.
“Collectively as a side we’re playing very well,” Lee said.
“Everyone chipped in, we bowled well, we were good in the field, and I think in the last three games we’ve shown we’ve improved in every facet of the game.”
Trott provided England’s only innings of substance, as they attempted to avoid a third successive defeat after losses in Melbourne and Hobart.
Trott, who was involved in a disastrous mix-up that saw captain and opener Andrew Strauss run out for 23 when both batsmen ended up at the same end, did his best to hold the innings together, but lacked support.
Strauss said it was another poor batting effort.
“It’s not the best, certainly not the batting,” said Strauss.
England started poorly with wicketkeeper Matt Prior dismissed for his second successive duck at the top of the order since being recalled to the side, trapped lbw by Lee.
Eoin Morgan overcame a scratchy start to make 30, but holed out to Clarke at mid-wicket from a loose delivery by part-time spinner Hussey.
Collingwood, recalled to replace the injured Kevin Pietersen (groin) again failed with the bat and was bowled by spinner Xavier Doherty for one.
Doherty bowled impressively to finish with 2-37, and had a third wicket ruled not out on review.
Both teams were missing key players, with Australia forced to leave out injured duo Nathan Hauritz and Shaun Tait from the team that won by 46 runs on Friday in Hobart.
Hauritz requires surgery on a dislocated shoulder suffered in the field in Hobart and is a doubt for the World Cup, while Tait has a thigh strain.
The home side recalled Doherty to replace Hauritz and promoted allrounder John Hastings.
England were also without allrounder Tim Bresnan, whose tour has been cut short by a calf strain, but he is expected to be fit for the World Cup.