England scores highest ODI total in history against Australia

England have further solidified their dominance over the hapless Australias, putting up comfortably the biggest ODI total in the history of the game. In scoring 481/6 off their 50 overs, they beat their own previous record of 444/3 by 37 runs. Incredibly, they passed this total after just 45.3 overs, and if not for a comparatively slow final four overs, could have conceivably passed 500.

The game

Australia, in what hindsight revealed to be a decision they would rather take back, won the toss and elected to field first, providing England with the opportunity to wreak havoc on their bowling lineup. Ashton Agar was the pick of the bowlers with the less embarrassing figures of 10 overs, 1-70, while everyone else who bowled more than one over went for at least 9.2 runs per over. Andrew Tye bowled 9 overs for figures of 0-100, Stoinis bowled 8 overs for 85, Stanlake bowled 8 overs for 74, and Richardson bowled 10 overs for 92 - though he at least managed three wickets.

From an England perspective, it was four players who did the damage. Jason Roy opened the batting and scored 82 from 61 balls before he was run out in just the 20th over, while his opening partner Jonny Bairstow continued on for 139 off 92 balls. When he fell, England were reduced to 2/310 off 34.1 overs. Alex Hales, batting at number three, made 147 off 92 deliveries, while captain Eoin Morgan, who came in at number five in the 38th over, made an incredible 67 off just 30 deliveries. 

Unsurprisingly, Australia didn’t get near the total. Though they scored quickly, they were bowled out in just 37 overs after being forced to bat at breakneck speed. They were all out for 239 runs, resigning them to an embarrassing 242 run loss.

The records

Clearly ODI scores are getting higher. Just ten years ago, a score of 300 was a big deal. The introduction of T20, along with other factors such as heavier bats and smaller grounds, pushed that up to 350 and even 400 relatively quickly. 481, however, is a score which not many people would have predicted happening for a while. 

It is the 19th time that a team has passed 400 in an innings, and all of these occasions have come since 2006. The run rate of 9.62 was the first time a team had finished an innings with a run rate higher than 9 in an ODI, excluding New Zealand’s score of 397/5 back in August of 2005; this score, however, came in a shortened innings of just 44 overs, and against Zimbabwe. 

The total which this overtakes as the highest score in ODI history was, interestingly, also scored by England and also at Nottingham. In that game, which took place in August of 2016, England managed 444 runs for the loss of just 3 wickets, and Alex Hales was again the star, scoring 171 runs off just 122 balls. 

The reactions

The England players, unsurprisingly, were reasonably content with the days play. Captain Jonny Bairstown dubbed it a ‘very special day’, and admitted that scoring 500 was on the minds of the players, at least while Morgan was still batting. Top-scorer Alex Hales called it a ‘day I’ll never forget’ - unsurprising considering it was at his own home ground. Incredibly, he still feels his place in the team is vulnerable.

The reaction in the other camp was appropriately sombre. New coach Justin Langer called it ‘a shock’ and said that ‘it doesn’t get any harder than that’. Captain Tim Paine, also new to his leadership position, called it ‘the hardest day’s cricket I’ve ever had in my life’.

The series

Unfortunately for Australia, the series is not yet over. No doubt they would have you believe that they will relish the opportunity to exact their revenge upon England, but recent results would suggest they simply aren’t capable of doing that. A series lost has now been confirmed after they previously lost the first two games of a five game series; both of those being relatively comfortable defeats too. In the first, England chased down Australia’s modest total of 214 with six overs to spare and three wickets in hand, while in the second, England’s first innings total of 342/8 was 38 runs too many for Australia to deal with. Earlier this year, during England’s tour of Australia, the visiting side was also far too strong, winning that ODI series 4-1.

The final two matches of the series are, for all intents and purposes, dead rubbers, though there will likely be plenty of pride on the line. Australia are now 1-7 in their past eight ODI’s against their biggest rivals, and will be desperate to put up a better showing. It seems, however, that they don’t have anywhere near the talent to challenge England. Perhaps all Australian fans can hope for is that if Tim Paine wins the toss next time, he bats first.