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England v Australia: Third IT20 round-up

England completed a 2-1 series win against the Aussies after losing a nailbiting final IT20 at the Ageas Bowl tonight.

Adil Rashid’s middle-over magic meant the game went right to the wire, with the tourists getting over the line with just three balls remaining.

Chasing 146 to win and reclaim some pride, the Aussies had raced out to a fast start but wobbled and nearly fell short – as they did in the series opener.

With both Eoin Morgan and Jos Buttler missing, Sam Billings and Joe Denly were handed to a chance to impress in the final game of the series – with both sides knowing that a win would leave them number one in the ICC’s T20 world rankings.

After losing the toss and being put in, England made a slow start but Jonny Bairstow soon found his form and hit a bruising half-century to push the score near to 150.

He was backed up by contributions from Dawid Malan, tonight’s skipper Moeen Ali, and Joe Denly.

Given the sort of firepower on show in modern T20 cricket, England knew they’d have to bowl well to defender a total like 145 but the Aussies flew out of the blocks.

Aaron Finch’s side had begun to look very comfortable but Rashid, as he so often does, produced some absolute magic to pull Ali’s men right back into the game.

The leg-spinner had Glenn Maxwell caught by Tom Curran before producing a picture-perfect googly to rearrange Finch’s furniture.

Rashid struck again to dismiss Steve Smith the following over, taking a good catch off his own bowling after a number of chances had gone down.

That period piled the pressure on the Aussies and after their collapse in the opener, England looked to take advantage. They very nearly did but after a fast start, the tourists’ had just about enough to get over the line, meaning the series finished 2-1.

The focus now switches to the ODIs but England can feel delighted with the way they’ve started things against the Aussies!