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Friday, 14 December, 2018

England bid to sign off ODI series in style

But Mitchell Marsh could dazzle at new Perth venue

Australia's Josh Hazlewood (right) celebrates one of his early strikes in the fourth ODI in Adelaide
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Fifth ODI
BT Sport 1, 3.20am Sunday

Just as England were dreaming about a one-day series whitewash of Australia, the Aussies hit back in spectacular style at the start of Friday's fourth ODI.

England, whose assured performances in Melbourne, Brisbane and Sydney had put them 3-0 up in the five-match series, suddenly found themselves 8-5 after 6.2 overs in Adelaide as Australia claimed a consolation victory.

Australia's win keeps alive Racing Post Sport's pre-series tip of a 3-2 England series victory but the tourists will be keen to finish on a high after blowing their chances so early on at the Adelaide Oval.

A touch of over-confidence, combined with some outstanding new-ball bowling from Josh Hazlewood and Pat Cummins, contributed to England's early collapse but Australia still had to work hard for their three-wicket win.

Chris Woakes continued his superb batting form with 78 while England again dismissed David Warner and Steve Smith cheaply before stand-in opener Travis Head's 96 saw them to the brink of victory.

Neither Warner nor Smith, Australia's star men, have reached 50 in eight innings in the series - testament to England's impressive bowling - and Aaron Finch, who scored two centuries and a fifty in the first three games, missed the fourth ODI through injury.

The series finale heralds a new dawn in Western Australian cricket with the new Perth Stadium, which replaces the old Waca, hosting its first sporting event.

The lack of course form, and the potential for players to be rested on both teams, makes it tricky to identify confident pre-match bets.

Alex Hales has had a lean series, apart from a fluent half-century in Brisbane, but Sky Bet's 5-1 that he top-scores for England is worth considering.

Even more tempting is the price about hometown hero Mitchell Marsh top-scoring from number five in the Australia order.

Marsh's recall to the Test team was a triumph as he smashed England all round the Waca in an innings of 181 and struck another century in the fifth Test in Sydney.

He has been timing the ball nicely in the one-day series too, scoring 50, 36, 55 and 32 in the first four games, and with doubts over the form and fitness of some of the market leaders, Marsh could be the value to punish England's bowlers.

M Marsh top Australia runscorer
1pt 17-2 Betfair

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A touch of over-confidence, combined with some outstanding new-ball bowling from Josh Hazlewood and Pat Cummins, contributed to England's collapse
E.W. Terms
Sky bet