England put in a fine all-round display of cricket to overcome Australia at Adelaide by 21 runs in the crucial fourth match of the 7-game series, to keep it alive at 1-3. England batsman Jonathan Trott was declared Man of the Match for his 102 from 126 balls and two key wickets. Australia put on a good fight in their failed endeavour to chase down England's 299 as some disciplined bowling kept the hosts at bay.
England's innings got off to a quick start, courtesy some attacking strokes from Matt Prior early on. He got Brett Lee and Doug Bollinger away for a four each in the first two overs. Prior's partner Andrew Strauss tried to join in the offensive, but after striking Lee for a four, perished for 8. The score was 23/1 after 2.5 overs.
In the 8th over, Jonathan Trott and Prior teamed up to take three fours off Bollinger as England reached 50 in just 7.4 overs. The boundaries kept coming, mainly from Prior's bat and in the 15th over, he carted Lee for a huge six over mid wicket, scampering a few more runs in that over to bring up the visitor's 100.
In the 23rd over, Prior was finally out to the leg-spinner Steven Smith for 67 off just 58 balls. The scoreboard at that point read a healthy 136/2. Kevin Pietersen, who was making a return after a one-match break due to injury, didn't last long. He was out for 12, again to Smith and in the same over, the bowler got the wicket of Ian Bell as well as England slipped to 158/4 in 26.5 overs.
Then, Trott and Eoin Morgan took the tourists past 200 in the 36th over and soon after the former reached his hundred, he was bowled by off-spinner David Hussey as the scorebroad showed 224/5 in 39.4 overs. Two overs later, England lost Morgan to Hussey for 24 before Michael Yardy and Paul Collingwood stepped on the gas. In the 45th over, the two went after Lee getting him away for a six and a four, before knocking three boundaries off Bollinger in the next over.
Collingwood struck one more four before he was out to Hussey for 27 in the 48th over with England now at 283/7. Shane Watson bowled a tidy penultimate over and in 50th, Yardy took two fours off Hussey while the bowler picked up the wicket of Ajmal Shahzad for 4 as England wound up their innings at a massive 299/8.
Australia needed to have a positive initiation to their reply and Shane Watson and Brad Haddin gave their side just that. Watson struck the first four, in the third over off James Anderson (playing his first match of the ODI series against Australia) while Haddin replied with a boundary off Ajmal Shahzad in the next and then in the following over, Watson knocked two fours off Anderson.
But Chris Tremlett got the breakthrough when he had Haddin snapped up by Andrew Strauss at cover for 20 and the hosts were 32/1 in 6 overs. In the very next over, Anderson caught and bowled Shaun Marsh for 1. But then captain Michael Clarke and Watson tried to steady things.
In the 11th over, Watson struck Shahzad for two consecutive boundaries to take his side past 50 and in the following over, he and Clarke took a four and six off Tremlett. Clarke's ill-luck continued as he was bowled for 15 by medium pacer Paul Colingwood as the score read 87/3 in 17 overs.
Then Watson and Cameron White took Australia to 100 in the 20th over, but just three overs later, Watson was caught behind off Shahzad for 64 as the hosts had slipped to 116/4 in 24 overs. Just the man to avert disaster - David Hussey - came to the crease. Together with White, he took Australia to 150 in the 31st over.
But with the score at 176/4, Trott induced Hussey to go for the big hit over long on only to find the save hands of Ian Bell. Hussey was on his way for 28 and Australia were in trouble at 176/5 in 34.5. Then, 23 runs later Trott struck again, this time to remove White for 44. The home side were in dire straits at 199/6 in 38.5 overs, still requiring 101 runs in 67 balls.
In the following over, Anderson removed John Hastings for 1 when he had him caught by Andrew Strauss on the leg side and Australia were 201/7 in 40 overs with their tail exposed.
But Brett Lee and Steven Smith stood their ground and held out hope of a recovery. In the 46th over, Lee knocked two fours off Anderson and in the following over, he and Smith took their side to over 250.
Australia needed 33 runs off the final over, but though two fours were hit, the ask was too much and Australia finished up 21 runs short of England's total. Smith was not out on 46 off 47 balls and Brett Lee was unbeaten on 39 off 32 balls.