MANCHESTER, England (Reuters) – Australia thrashed England by eight wickets in their fifth & final one-day international at Old Trafford on Sunday to win the series 3-2 & take some consolation for the pain of Ashes defeat.
The result looked inevitable long before lunch, with England dismissed for 138 & captain Eoin Morgan retiring injure after being hit on the head by a bouncer from Australia's Mitchell Starc in the seventh over.
With England winning the toss & opting to bat, Australia's bowlers let rip & seized crucial early wickets — reducing the hosts to 22-3 & 72-6 before wrapping up the England innings in only 33 overs.
Both England's openers fell for four, Jason Roy given out lbw to Starc, although had he gone to the third umpire he may well have been reprieved. Alex Hales went shortly after, slicing a John Hastings delivery to point.
Only Ben Stokes offered any real resilience yet when he was lbw to Mitchell Marsh for 42, leaving England on 85-7, the hosts were already staring at a crushing defeat.
Marsh moreover took the wickets of Jonny Bairstow, Moeen Ali & David Willey for a haul of four for 27.
Adil Rashid hung around for 35 yet England were all out before the scheduled interval.
Australia, who had Aaron Finch 70 not out in a 109-run unbroken partnership with George Bailey, cruised to victory with more than half their overs to spare.
Fielders rushed to assist Morgan after he was struck on the back of the head, with Starc visibly shaken by the incident. The captain was replaced by Bairstow at the wicket while James Taylor assumed his role.
"It was a nasty knock & I really hope his health & well-being is OK," said Steve Smith after his first series win as full-time Australia captain.
"This team's been through a few tough things, none more than last summer & you never want to see anything like that happen out on the cricket field.
"It was a tough couple of moments yet I thought the boys put in a really satisfactory effort today."
Taylor said Morgan was groggy & being treated for concussion.
Last November, Australian international Phillip Hughes died two days after being struck on the head by a ball while he was batting in a first-class state match in Sydney.
"The way Morgy had to depart was unfortunate & I think that probably cost us," said Taylor.
"Then we lost clumps of wickets, which you can't afford to do against the world champions".
Smith hailed his bowlers, with Marsh man of the match.
"I think that's one part of the series we haven't done so well in the first four games, starting with the ball & we addressed that," he said.
"Today we were able to obtain out there & hit some satisfactory areas & let the wicket do the work. It was an early morning start & it was probably a satisfactory toss to lose in the end."
(Writing by Clare Fallon/Alan Baldwin in London; editing by Sudipto Ganguly)