Australia 5 for 355 (Head 152, Warner 106, Stone 4-85) beat England 142 (Roy 33, Zampa 4-31) by 221 runs (DLS method)
Head continued his dominant year in ODI cricket scoring 152 from 130 balls, his second century and third overall, while Warner made 106 from 102 to post his first century for Australia in any format since January 2020, breaking a 68-innings drought. Head’s innings was even more extraordinary given he was fighting gastro, having struggled to take on food and fluids pre-game, and was unable to field.
Like Australia, England found some swing early on with the new balls on an overcast afternoon and Head enjoyed several slices of luck. He twice edged behind, flashing hard outside off stump, as one flew safely through a vacant third slip and the other escaped the grasp of Liam Dawson at second as he jumped high to his right. Head was also given out lbw onfield to Chris Woakes but had it overturned on review as it was pitching outside leg.
From there Head found another gear, lashing England’s bowlers to all parts of the MCG on what turned into an excellent batting surface. Not even a brief rain delay could slow his momentum.
The early swing subsided, and he feasted on the easy pace of England’s seam attack. He smashed 16 fours and four towering sixes, to reach his century off just 92 balls in the 27th over, celebrating by rocking his bat like a baby in acknowledgment of his recently born baby girl.
Australia were 217 for 0 at the second drinks break after 34 overs, having not struck a boundary in the previous five overs. Head and Warner then went into party mode smashing 52 from the next 24 balls as Head raced past 150. But both men holed out in the same Stone over to stall Australia’s momentum a touch. A second rain delay cut two overs off the innings and saw Marcus Stoinis fall attempting a wild swipe first ball after the break. But it allowed Mitch Marsh to come in and smash 30 off 16 balls to finish the innings.
England never came close to chasing the adjusted target. Dawid Malan was caught behind cheaply while Jason Roy and James Vince opted to dig in rather than hit out as Josh Hazlewood and Pat Cummins proved extremely challenging under lights. The pressure eventually built as most of England’s batters had one foot on the plane home. Jos Buttler’s wild swipe across the line fourth ball to be caught off a leading edge for just 1, just nine days after holding the T20 World Cup aloft on the same ground, summed up England’s mindset. The game could have ended sooner had Australia’s catching been sharper. Zampa dropped two, including one off his own bowling that cost him three wickets in an over. Steven Smith missed a very difficult diving catch at slip, and substitute fielder Mackenzie Harvey, who was on for most of England’s innings as Head had felt ill after his innings, spilled another challenging chance at deep backward square having held another earlier on.