Australia\'s captain Michael Clarke has urged his side to leave England with at least one international win.
Chester-Le-Street: Australia captain Michael Clarke has urged his side to leave England with at least one international win after they suffered yet another hammering at the hands of their old foes.
England's eight-wicket victory at the Riverside on Saturday gave them the five-match one-day series, the climax of Australia's brief tour, as they took an unassailable 3-0 lead after Wednesday's clash at Edgbaston was washed out without a ball bowled.
Now just the finale at Old Trafford on Tuesday remains for Australia, the world's number one ranked 50-over side, to restore a measure of pride before they return to England for a full Ashes Test series next year.
England, admittedly after winning a helpful toss, restricted Australia to 200 for 9 in their 50 overs on Saturday, with fast bowler Steven Finn taking 4 for 37.
In reply, England eased to 201 for 2 with 13 balls to spare as they won their ninth one-day international in a row. Ian Bell made a stylish 69 and his Warwickshire colleague Jonathan Trott finished on 64 not.
To make matters worse for Australia both fast bowler Brett Lee and allrounder Shane Watson left the field early with suspected calf problems. "We've been outplayed – simple as that," said Clarke, becalmed while taking 85 balls to make 43 runs. "But we've got one game to go, and I'd be very disappointed to go home without a win – that's for sure."
Reflecting on Saturday's match, he added: "I do believe England got the better of conditions, but it's easy to make excuses. I think we had the better of conditions at Lord's as well, and England still found a way to beat us."
As for Lee and Watson, Clarke said he wasn't sure of the extent of their fitness worries. "I haven't had time to speak to Alex Kountouris, (Australia's physiotherapist) yet, but I do know they've both got calf injuries – to what extent, I don't know."
One consolation for Australia was the form of David Hussey who, batting at number six, made 70 at near a run-a-ball to rescue his side from the depths of 96 for 6 after Finn, twice on a hat-trick, took two wickets in two balls for the second time in the match.
"I thought Dave Hussey was outstanding today," Clarke said. "I think Dave's suited to the middle order. He strikes the ball as cleanly as anyone at the death, so during that last batting powerplay and last 10 overs of the game he's as destructive as anybody."
However, Clarke added Australia could have done with the middle-order know-how of Michael Hussey, David's older's brother, who missed this tour after staying at home to be with his wife following the premature birth of their fourth child. "We probably missed a bit of that experience – knowing conditions, and him having been around for such a long time."
England are unbeaten in one-dayers in 2012 and captain Alastair Cook is keen to maintain that record in Manchester. "Four-nil looks a lot better than 3-1," he said. "They will be desperate not to let that happen but we have got to be just as hungry as we have been in these games. It would be great to make it 10 wins in a row."
Such the current bowling strength in depth of England, the world's top-ranked Test nation, that Finn is only on the fringes of their five-day team. "Everything is focused towards playing Test cricket – I have always wanted to do that," said Finn. "I'm enjoying the responsibility of opening the bowling (in ODIS), trying to thrive on it and putting my name into the hat for Test selection."