Perth: A career-best one-day international score by much-maligned all-rounder Glenn Maxwell helped Australia recover from a shaky start in the tri-series final against England on Sunday.
After being put in to bat at the WACA Ground by England skipper Eoin 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 helped Australia recover to post 278 for eight off their 50 overs, as they tried to finish the limited-overs contest unbeaten before the upcoming World Cup.
The series also involved India.
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 was a mixture of 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 Jos Buttler after top-edging an attempted pull shot off Stuart Broad (3-55).
Maxwell had faced 98 balls and hit 15 fours.
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 the in-form Steve Smith for 40, stumped at the second attempt by Buttler off the bowling of Moeen 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. (AFP)