Finch rues England dictating terms

In-form opener takes some blame for series loss, admits run of losses before World Cup 'not ideal'

In-form Australia opener Aaron Finch believes a key reason why England have established a stranglehold over their historic rivals that has rarely before seen in the one-day format is that the tourists have been able to boss their hosts at crucial moments.

Finch was one of a handful of his team’s players to arrive in Adelaide on Monday, in preparation for Friday’s Australia Day Gillette ODI Series fixture that is expected to be played in extreme heat and with the reigning world champions facing an even more uncomfortable scoreline.

Winless after the first three matches and with the trophy safely in England’s keeping, the Australians have several days to ponder how and why Eoin Morgan's team have taken such a grip before they return to full training on Thursday.

England’s 16-run win in the third match of the series at the SCG on Sunday meant Australia’s Ashes rivals – who, with New Zealand, are the only major Test-playing nation never to have lifted the ICC’s showpiece ODI trophy, the World Cup – have now triumphed in six of the nations' past seven meetings.

A streak that includes four consecutive victories dating back to last year’s ICC Champions Trophy tournament in the UK.

It’s a winning run that shades the most recent period of England’s head-to-head dominance in the 50-over game, the five successive wins that saw England hold sway six times in eight ODIs (including a rain-affected no-result) between June 2012 and September 2013.

And should their dominance continue in the two remaining matches of this series, England will be eyeing their most successful sequence against their five-time World Cup winning-rivals, which currently stands at eight consecutive ODI wins.

Which came about in the immediate aftermath of the post-World Series Cricket reconciliation from 1979 to 1981.

Match wrap: Buttler genius seals ODI series

While Finch concedes that Australia’s inadequacies have come with bat, with ball and in the field during small but significant stages of the past three losses in Melbourne, Brisbane and Sydney, of equal concern is the mindset that England have brought.

In particular, their ability to "dictate" terms within each of those games in the manner that England keeper Jos Buttler showed on Sunday when he (along with allrounder Chris Woakes) thrashed 66 from the final five overs against a Test-strength Australia attack.

It was Australia's impotence in the face of such a savage onslaught as much as the power-hitting of Buttler and Woakes that emerged as one of the most revealing passages of a match that proved to be the closest of the series to date.

And an imbalance that – with less than 18 months before the 2019 ICC World Cup gets underway in England’s home conditions – Australia are looking to redress urgently, beginning with Friday’s fixture in what is forecast to be 40C heat at Adelaide Oval.

"There’s still a lot of time before the World Cup, but it’s obviously not ideal," Finch said.

"It’s frustrating, at times we’ve played some really good cricket for big percentages of games and we’re probably just letting ourselves slip in both or all three areas, it seems just for a couple of overs here and there and it’s costing us.

"It would be great to keep winning and win all the time and get that momentum, but England have played some good cricket and we’ve probably let them dictate too much as well."

Finch gets Aussies off to flyer with quickfire fifty

The disparity between a bulk of Australia’s efforts and their inability to clinch a victory is no better illustrated than by Finch himself.

The powerful opener is enjoying a run of form that is matched only by that of England; three times in as many innings during this campaign he has reached 50, and twice he’s pushed on to score a century.

No player has posted more than two centuries in the course of a single Australia-England ODI series in almost 50 years of the abbreviated game, and with two matches to play Finch needs 52 runs to set a new benchmark for the most runs by an Australia player in an ODI campaign against their historic foes.

Fantastic Finch makes it back-to-back tons

The current record belonging to former fellow opener and current national selector Mark Waugh, whose 326 runs in the 1998-99 one-day tri-series came from seven matches, of which Australia triumphed in five.

But despite being the leading scorer (with 275 to date) and boasting an average of 91 as well as an equally impressive strike rate of more than 96 runs scored per 100 balls faced at the top of the batting order, Finch has yet to enjoy a win.

A team failure for which he continues to hold himself accountable.

"I feel like I’m batting nicely, I feel comfortable but at the end of the day it’s been three losses," he said.

Finch fires at the MCG with a fine hundred

"It would have been nice to turn one of those into a 150, and last night (when he was dismissed for 62) into another hundred ... we might have got over the line.

"It was disappointing to leave us a few runs short each time, so I take full responsibility for that.

"(I'm) getting out at the wrong time in each game."

2017-18 International Fixtures

Gillette ODI Series v England

Australia ODI squad: Steve Smith (c), David Warner (vc), Pat Cummins, Aaron Finch, Josh Hazlewood, Travis Head, Mitchell Marsh, Tim Paine, Jhye Richardson, Mitchell Starc, Marcus Stoinis, Andrew Tye, Cameron White, Adam Zampa.

England ODI squad: Eoin Morgan (c), Moeen Ali, Jonny Bairstow, Jake Ball, Sam Billings, Jos Buttler, Tom Curran, Alex Hales, Dawid Malan, Liam Plunkett, Adil Rashid, Joe Root, Jason Roy, David Willey, Chris Woakes, Mark Wood.

First ODI England won by five wickets at the MCG

Second ODI England won by four wickets at the Gabba

Third ODI SCG, England won by 16 runs at the SCG

Fourth ODI Adelaide Oval, January 26. Tickets

Fifth ODI Perth Stadium, January 28. Tickets

Prime Minister's XI

PM's XI v England Manuka Oval, February 2. Tickets

Gillette T20 trans-Tasman Tri-Series

Australia T20 squad: David Warner (c), Aaron Finch (vc), Ashton Agar, Alex Carey, Ben Dwarshuis, Travis Head, Chris Lynn, Glenn Maxwell, Kane Richardson, D'Arcy Short, Billy Stanlake, Marcus Stoinis, Andrew Tye, Adam Zampa.

England T20 squad: Eoin Morgan (c), Sam Billings, Jos Buttler, Tom Curran, Liam Dawson, Alex Hales, Chris Jordan, Dawid Malan, Liam Plunkett, Adil Rashid, Joe Root, Jason Roy, Ben Stokes, James Vince, David Willey, Mark Wood.

First T20I Australia v NZ, SCG, February 3. Tickets

Second T20I Australia v England, Blundstone Arena, February 7. Tickets

Third T20I Australia v England, MCG, February 10. Tickets

Fourth T20I NZ v England, Wellington, February 14

Fifth T20I NZ v Australia, Eden Park, February 16

Sixth T20I NZ v England, Seddon Park, February 18

Final TBC, Eden Park, February 21

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