England v Australia T20Is - Men's
Improved Aussies clinch victory in final T20
Australia reclaim World No.1 ranking as Mitch Marsh leads Australia home in final T20 after visitors made three changes, including dropping Alex Carey
9 September 2020, 07:31 AM AEST
Australia might have lost the series but a nervy win in the third T20 international has ensured Aaron Finch's side will leave England as the No.1 T20 team in the world.
Memories of Australia's horror collapse in the tour opener flooded back when leg-spinner Adil Rashid removed Glenn Maxwell, Finch and Steve Smith in 11 balls to leave Australia needing 47 from the last 42 balls.
With the game in the balance, Australia needed a finisher and it came in the form of returning allrounder Mitch Marsh, who posted a career-best 39 not out in an unbeaten 47-run partnership with Ashton Agar (16 not out) to guide Australia home with three balls to spare.
England will rue dropping Marsh twice before he got to 10, and after that he was untroubled by England's fast bowlers, best illustrated by a bruising pull shot over wide mid-on for six off Mark Wood in the 16th over.
Australia's batting issues against spin are not new but it is an area they will have to significantly improve if they are to make an impact at the next T20 World Cup in India in 2021.
The win means Australia regain top spot on the International Cricket Council's T20 team rankings having surrendered first place with consecutive losses to begin their whirlwind limited-overs campaign.
Having not played since March there were clear signs of rust in Australia's performances to start the series, particularly in the botched run chase in the tour opener, but on Tuesday the tourists looked somewhere near their best despite a reshuffled XI.
Express pacemen Mitch Starc bowled with, well, express pace, averaging north of 145kph (90mph) in his four-over spell of 1-20, Adam Zampa (2-34) returned his best figures of the series, Marcus Stoinis looked right at home at No.3 with 26 off 18, Marsh and Ashton Agar were cool under pressure and as a collective they were sharp in the field.
And this was a new-look Australian outfit that got the consolation win as the selectors rested David Warner and Pat Cummins, dropped Alex Carey and brought in Matthew Wade, Josh Hazlewood and Mitch Marsh.
England, too, made two changes although both were forced; Eoin Morgan (finger injury) and Jos Buttler (personal reasons) were out to give Sam Billings and Joe Denly a chance in the middle order under new captain Moeen Ali.
Hazlewood and Wade combined for the opening wicket of the match – Tom Banton caught behind – in what was the gloveman's first T20I catch since January 2016 and the bowler's first T20I wicket since March of the same year.
The throwback to 2016 continued when England recorded just 1-33 in their power play, their lowest power play total in four years, as Australia applied the clamps early.
Jonny Bairstow provided the main resistance, notching 55 from 44 balls before he was out to the catch of the match – a sprinting over-the-shoulder effort by Agar to reel in a skied chance from his own bowling.
While Agar's grab was great, Bairstow later put down an absolute sitter with the gloves, spilling Finch on 27 after the visiting skipper top-edged a sweep.
Twenty20 cricket can be a cruel game, just ask Kane Richardson, who conceded a hat-trick of boundaries to Denly from three edges either side of wicketkeeper Wade late in the innings as England posted 6-145 from 20 overs.
Opening the batting, Wade played the shot of the match in the first over, sweetly depositing Archer behind square on the leg-side for a monster 91-metre six.
Australia powered to 1-61 in the Powerplay as Marcus Stoinis, elevated to No.3, and Finch muscled England's pace attack.
But the introduction of Rashid changed the complexion of the game.
He had Finch dropped by Bairstow, before an ugly top-edged reverse sweep from Maxwell, brilliant googly to the skipper and a leading edge from Steve Smith cracked the game open.
The match looked set for a repeat of game one, and if it wasn't for Marsh's cool head and England's "abysmal" fielding, as described by former captain Nasser Hussain, Australia might have been swept 3-0.
There is no rest for the two teams, who will travel north to Manchester on Wednesday for Friday's first one-day international at Old Trafford, which will host all three ODIs in just six days
Australia: Aaron Finch (c), Matthew Wade (wk), Marcus Stoinis, Stve Smith, Glenn Maxwell, Mitch Marsh, Ashton Agar, Mitch Starc, Kane Richardson, Adam Zampa, Josh Hazlewood
England: Jonny Bairstow (wk), Tom Banton, Dawid Malan, Sam Billings, Moeen Ali (c), Joe Denly, Tom Curran, Chris Jordan, Adil Rashid, Jofra Archer, Mark Wood
2020 Tour of England
Australia's T20 and ODI squad: Aaron Finch (c), Sean Abbott, Ashton Agar, Alex Carey, Pat Cummins, Josh Hazlewood, Marnus Labuschagne, Nathan Lyon, Mitchell Marsh, Glenn Maxwell, Riley Meredith, Josh Philippe, Daniel Sams, Kane Richardson, Steven Smith, Mitchell Starc, Marcus Stoinis, Andrew Tye, Matthew Wade, David Warner, Adam Zampa
England T20I squad: Eoin Morgan (c), Moeen Ali, Jofra Archer, Jonathan Bairstow, Tom Banton, Sam Billings, Jos Buttler, Sam Curran, Tom Curran, Joe Denly, Chris Jordan, Dawid Malan, Adil Rashid, Mark Wood. Reserves: Liam Livingstone, Saqib Mahmood
England ODI squad: Eoin Morgan (c), Moeen Ali, Jofra Archer, Jonathan Bairstow, Tom Banton, Sam Billings, Jos Buttler, Sam Curran, Tom Curran, Adil Rashid, Joe Root, Chris Woakes, Mark Wood. Reserves: Joe Denly, Saqib Mahmood