Perth: Australia bolstered its hopes of winning World Cup title unprecedented fifth time, after recording a formidable 112-run victory against England in the summit clash of one-day international tri-series, which also included India, at the WACA Ground on Sunday.
In-form Australia is anybody’s top pick and are considered hot favorites for World Cup 2015, which it co-hosts with New Zealand. Its in-form players and the fact that it will play World Cup matches at its own backyard gives them edge over any other side.
AFP adds: A career-best performance by much-maligned all-rounder Glenn Maxwell inspired Australia’s victory.
Maxwell took the highest score of 95 to help Australia recover from a poor start to make 278 for eight, winning by 112 runs.
He then took four wickets and a fine catch as England crumbled in the run chase to be dismissed for just 166 in 39.1 overs.
England, who will face Australia in the World Cup opener later this month, were never in the hunt after returning paceman Mitchell Johnson (3-27) claimed three quick wickets to have them 46 for four.
He made a hat-trick after removing Moeen Ali for 26 and then England skipper Eoin Morgan, who was bowled without offering a shot from successive balls.
Maxwell (4-46) also found himself on a hat-trick after removing Jos Buttler (17) and the hapless Chris Woakes, who had a match to forget, with successive deliveries.
After being put in to bat by Morgan, the home side slumped for 60 for four against some good early bowling from James Anderson.
However, a 141-run partnership between Maxwell and local favourite Mitchell Marsh turned the match.
Maxwell was a marginal selection in Australia’s World Cup squad after his indifferent form over the past 12 months. But he showed his value with a typically inventive innings that combined bewildering and brilliant strokes.
He and Marsh set a new WACA record for a fifth-wicket stand in a one-day international, and Maxwell looked set for his first one-day international hundred as he passed his previous best of 93.
However, another audacious stroke brought about his demise for 95, caught behind by Buttler after top-edging an attempted pull shot off Stuart Broad (3-55). Maxwell hit 15 fours off 98 balls.
Marsh offered great support, displaying his powerful strokeplay in making 60 from 68 balls, with seven fours and one six, before being run out.
The pair came together when Australia were in trouble after the loss of Steve Smith for 40, stumped at the second attempt by Buttler off the bowling of Ali.
Anderson (2-38) had earlier made two precious early breakthroughs, removing openers Aaron Finch (0) and Dave Warner (12).
Stand-in skipper George Bailey’s dry run with the bat continued when he made just two from 17 balls before popping up a catch to James Taylor at short-leg off the bowling of Broad.
With much attention on whether regular captain Michael Clarke will be fit for the World Cup, Bailey faces a battle to retain his spot in Australia’s best 11, with just 235 runs at 16.78 in his last 14 ODI innings.
Australia’s total was boosted by a lusty unbeaten 50 — off just 24 balls and including four sixes — by James Faulkner in the dying overs.
The right-hander took 22 runs off the last four balls of the 49th over by Chris Woakes, who went wicketless and conceded 89 runs from his 10 overs.
Faulkner then pulled Steven Finn into the crowd at square leg to bring up his half-century from the last ball of the innings.
However, Faulkner was forced from the field during his third over in the England innings, with what appeared to be a side injury.