SYDNEY, Nov 19 (Reuters) – A battling 94 from Steve Smith saw Australia to a series win against England with a game to spare after a 72-run victory in the second one-day international in Sydney on Saturday.
Both sides rested their captains, with Moeen Ali deputising for Joss Butler, while Josh Hazelwood was the surprise pick to lead Australia with Pat Cummins sitting out.
After Hazelwood won the toss and elected to bat, two early wickets brought Steve Smith and Marnus Labuschagne (58) to the crease.
The pair put on 101 before Labuschagne departed with a top edge to mid-off trying to sweep Adil Rashid.
Smith was the slower starter of the two, with his 50 coming off 70 balls and containing only two boundaries.
But he upped the pace soon after, especially through his favoured leg side, and was assisted by Mitchell Marsh (50). A six off Sam Curran over square-leg took him into the 90s, but he fell metres short of his century, holing out at long-off on 94 to Rashid, the pick of England’s bowlers with 3-57.
Chasing 280, a decent total on a dry, bowler-friendly pitch, England got off to the worst possible start, losing two wickets without scoring a run.
Mitchell Starc (4-47) had Jason Roy strangled down the leg side off the second ball of the innings. Three deliveries later, he bowled Dawid Malan with a beautiful outswinger.
Josh Vince (60) and Sam Billings (71) steadied the tourists in the middle overs, their fourth-wicket partnership worth 122, until Hazelwood trapped Vince leg before swinging for the fence.
The crucial wicket of Billings fell shortly after, bowled through the gate after dancing down the track to Zampa (4-45), with a weakened England side — who lifted the T20 World Cup less than a week ago — eventually slumping to 208 all out.
The two sides meet for a third and final match in Melbourne on Tuesday.