Australia romped to a three-wicket victory in the fourth one-day international at Adelaide Oval on Friday after threatening to dismiss England for the lowest score in the history of the format by reducing the tourists to eight for five inside seven overs.
Chris Woakes scored 78 as England recovered to post a score of 196 in their 50 overs but opener Travis Head’s 96 helped Australia to 197-7 and a comfortable consolation win with 13 overs to spare.
“Five for eight you take that any day of the week on any wicket,” said Australia captain Steve Smith.
“Nice to get over the line in the end. Pretty ordinary batting display really apart from Heady who played well.”
The tourists were full of confidence after winning the first three encounters to take an unassailable lead in the five-match series but it soon dissipated when they were put in to bat under overcast skies on the Australia Day holiday.
Pat Cummins (4-24) and Josh Hazlewood (3-39) made light of the absence of their rested fellow paceman Mitchell Starc and ripped through the England top order.
Jason Roy departed off the second ball with Jonny Bairstow, Joe Root and Jos Buttler swiftly following him to depart, all caught out for ducks.
Alex Hales at least got three runs on the board before Cummins took out his off stump and Zimbabwe’s record low innings tally of 35 against Sri Lanka in 2004 looked under serious threat.
Skipper Eoin Morgan and all-rounder Moeen Ali, who both scored 33, put on 53 to ease the tourists away from that ignominy and Woakes’s fine innings added a gloss of decency to the tally.
Australia made a bit of a meal of the run chase and Smith continued his poor series with only four runs after he was well caught in the cordon by Root off Adil Rashid (3-49)
Head, who was brought into the side in place of the injured Aaron Finch, looked destined for a second international century but fell four runs short of the milestone when he slapped the ball straight to Morgan at mid-on off Chris Wood.
Tim Paine got Australia home with his unbeaten 25 not out but not until he had run out Man of the Match Cummins to leave the hosts seven wickets down and 11 runs short of their target.
“Full credit to Australia. I thought they bowled well. Didn’t give us anything to hit. It was relentless. They deserved to win today,” said Morgan.
The final match in the series takes place on Sunday, the first sporting event at a new 60,000-seater stadium in Perth.