Aussies happy to leave as winners
IT WASN'T the Ashes, but at least Australian captain Michael Clarke was able to get his hands on a trophy at the end of a long and disappointing tour of England yesterday.
Big-hitting all-rounder Shane Watson ensured that after his 143 off only 107 balls paved the way for Australia to beat England by 49 runs in the fifth and final one-day international at Southampton and clinch a 2-1 series victory.
Watson's eighth one-day hundred included 12 fours and six sixes and he was particularly brutal on part-time spinner Joe Root during it, smashing him for 28 off one over, the most expensive by an England bowler in ODIs.
Three of the massive sixes Watson hit in his innings disappeared into the crowd in an over Root will want to erase from the memory bank as the tourists made 298 all-out.
England was dismissed for 249 in reply during which paceman Mitchell Johnson took his 200th ODI wicket.
While the series triumph ensured Australia headed for home on a high, England did win the main event - the
Ashes 3-0, but Clarke said he was not about to let that disappointment prevent him and his players savouring Australia winning its first piece of silverware in any
format of the game in England in four years.
"I'm extremely happy to win the series," Clarke, who scored 75 in a 163 fourth-wicket partnership with Watson said. "For a lot of people this series doesn't mean a lot, but to this team it meant a great deal.
"We haven't performed as well as we would have liked as a one-day unit in the UK over the past couple of years and all the boys have worked exceptionally hard.
"It's a great reward for that hard work. Everyone in our changing room was extremely excited and so we should be, we deserve this win.
"I don't know whether it will have much impact on the Ashes back home, but we are a lot happier as a one-day side."
Clarke will now have a couple of weeks off before he takes the one-day squad to India for a seven-match series - he hopes to carry the winning momentum into that series
"It is about continuing to perform for this team. We want to be the No.1 one-day team in the world," he said.
"We need to get more consistent away from home to do that and winning this series was a good start."