England end their long wait for a victory in Australia
Ben Stokes stars with bat and ball in 57-run win in Perth
England’s Ben Stokes bats during game four of the One-Day International series against Australia at the Waca in Perth. Photograph: Robert Cianflone/Getty Images
England captain Alastair Cook breathed a sigh of relief after watching his side clinch a 57-run victory over Australia in the fourth One-Day International in Perth.
England risked losing a 10th straight match on their torrid tour Down Under but instead triumphed for the first time after 91 miserable days as Australia failed to score the required 317 runs at the Waca.
Aaron Finch blasted 108 runs off 110 balls but Australia were all out for 259.
Cook, who earlier on Friday revealed he was “desperate” to continue as captain, is now looking forward to the final ODI in Adelaide on Sunday with optimism.
He told Sky Sports: “It’s been a while since we’ve had this feeling and a couple of dropped catches at the end just made us wait a little longer. But all in all it was a pretty good performance.
“It’s been a frustrating tour, we’ve played a long way below our potential. Then you see glimpses like today where we know the standard we can play to, so we know it’s there.
“We haven’t for some reason been able to access it on this tour. But when you see the way people perform today we know we’re not such a bad side.”
Cook reserved special praise for “outstanding” Durham all-rounder Stokes, who also scored a century in the Perth Test defeat last month.
“He likes playing at the Waca doesn’t he?” Cook added. “A hundred and a six-for in the Test match and 70 and four-for here.
“He’s an outstanding cricketer. He’s still quite raw obviously, but what he does do is compete for every single ball. You could see how he didn’t shy away from the challenge today.”
Finch kept England sweating as he hit eight fours and four sixes.
He had brought up his third ODI century from 97 balls before steering Tim Bresnan to third man during the power play.
“It’s always tough any time you’re chasing 300 and everything has to go right. Unfortunately it didn’t,” he said.
“We just kept losing wickets along the way so I felt it was my responsibility to try to build partnerships with the guy coming in.
“To get out like that was pretty disappointing as I felt I was in a position to bat through and be that responsible player to get us home. But it wasn’t to be.”
Finch found time to praise England’s attack, adding: “They bowled hard, they bowled straight, they used the long boundaries and the wind to their advantage and all credit to them. I thought their plans with the ball were pretty good.”