England v Australia: Shane Watson century seals series win
Last updated on .From the section Cricket
|Fifth one-day international, Ageas Bowl, Southampton:|
|Australia 298 (49.1 overs) beat England 249 (48 overs) by 49 runs|
Shane Watson hit a brutal century as Australia beat England by 49 runs in the final one-day international to win the series 2-1.
His 107-ball 143, allied to Michael Clarke's 75, propelled Australia to 298 all out on a true Southampton surface.
Ben Stokes took 5-61 and debutant Chris Jordan 3-51 for England.
But the hosts managed only 249, with Ravi Bopara's 62 the highest score as Mitchell Johnson claimed 2-21 from 10 overs and James Faulkner 3-38.
While victory ensured Australia ended an otherwise miserable tour on a high note, England will point to the fact they won the Ashes, the main event of the summer.
"I'm extremely happy to win the series," Australia captain Clarke told BBC Test Match Special. "To a lot of people this ODI series does not mean much, but to the Australia players it means a lot.
"I don't know whether it will have much impact on the Ashes back home, but we get the flight back home a lot happier as a one-day side."
England never threatened to complete the highest successful run-chase on this ground, and the sight of spectators huddled under blankets as the stadium emptied long before the finish reflected the subdued atmosphere in a game that had a distinct end-of-term feel.
Watson's muscular innings, which featured 12 fours and six sixes, was the exception, with Joe Root plundered for 28 in one particularly riotous over - the most expensive in ODI history by an England bowler.
Clarke was typically fluent, while rejuvenated left-arm pace bowler Johnson issued England - and the Australia selectors - with a timely reminder of his form ahead of the return Ashes series down under starting in November.
England's pursuit of an imposing target was undermined by two run-outs as they slipped to 68-4, Kevin Pietersen the casualty after another mix-up with Michael Carberry, and Luke Wright beaten by George Bailey's brilliant direct hit.
Eoin Morgan was stumped for 30 as he gave Adam Voges the charge, and Bopara's 92-run sixth-wicket alliance with Jos Buttler failed to stop the required run-rate from escalating.
When they perished in successive overs, Buttler bowled for 42 aiming a wild heave at Faulkner and Bopara driving Johnson straight to Voges at extra cover, the game was over as a contest.
"We've learnt a lot about guys coming through, especially Stokes, Jordan and [Boyd] Rankin," said skipper Morgan. "They showed a lot of promise; we've learnt they can step up to the mark."
Australia had reason to be disappointed with their total after threatening to waste the good work of Watson and Clarke.
They added a thrilling 163 for the fourth wicket in 22 overs, a partnership all the more impressive given that it began with Stokes on a hat-trick after removing Aaron Finch and Matthew Wade.
The Durham all-rounder was among those who came in for savage treatment from Watson, with Clarke forced to play second fiddle despite scoring at almost a run a ball.
From 211-3 in the 32nd over, Australia's momentum was checked when Clarke failed to clear Pietersen at mid-off during the batting powerplay.
Bailey, dragging his back foot out as he tried to sweep Root, was stumped by Buttler, who also took four catches.
The persevering Stokes located Voges' edge before removing Watson and Johnson to initiate a collapse that saw the last four wickets fall for 16 runs.
England's woes with the bat ensured it was irrelevant.