England in the runs at last
Australia wicketkeeper Matthew Wade looks to prevent England's Ben Stokes from scoring. Pic: Getty Images

England smashed their highest one day international score at the WACA Ground to set Australia an imposing victory target of 317 today.

The visitors, chasing their first international win of the summer, finished their 50 overs at 8-316 after being sent in, largely thanks to a brilliant late blitz from Jos Buttler (71 from 43 balls).

England’s previous best ODI total in Perth had been 6-272 in 1987.

Today’s total is the fourth highest in an ODI at the WACA.

England had been heading for a huge total when they were 2-189 at the end of the 33rd over but then lost their next three wickets for just 27 runs as the Australians blunted the scoring.

Buttler then teamed with Eoin Morgan for a 71-run partnership to give the English the momentum once more.

James Faulkner (4-67) was the most effective bowler, while Mitchell Johnson finished with disappointing figures of 0-72.

Acting captain George Bailey recovered from a hip flexor problem to take his place and send the tourists in after he won the toss.

England, 3-0 down in the five-match series, got off to a brilliant start with captain Alistair Cook and Ian Bell moving the total to 73 after the first 10 overs.

Allan Border medallist Mitchell Johnson and young quick James Pattinson opened the bowling with a strong easterly blowing, but were unable to get the early breakthrough despite the ball doing plenty in the air in the first few overs.

Pattinson bowled four wides in his first over, while Bell got the first English boundary in the fourth over the day.

Cook and Bell then really got moving when James Faulkner and Nathan Coulter-Nile were introduced after six overs, batting aggressively and hitting multiple boundaries to put the Australians on the back foot.

That forced Bailey to introduce Glenn Maxwell’s spin sooner than he might have hoped, to try to dry up the scoring.

Maxwell got the breakthrough in just his second over, bowling the England skipper for 44 to break the 87-run partnership.

Cook smashed eight fours in his hard-hitting innings.

All-rounder Ben Stokes joined Bell at the crease as the pair brought up the England 100 in just the 14th over.

Bell was given a life as he completed his half century off the bowling of Coulter-Nile when Pattinson misjudged a catch just short of the boundary.

The classy opener was then dropped by a leaping Shaun Marsh at first slip off Johnson’s bowling in the next over.

Marsh again put down a tough chance which would have dismissed Stokes a few balls later.

Dan Christian was introduced in the next over and rewarded Bailey with the wicket of Bell (55 off 52 balls), whipping the ball off the pads straight into the hands of Faulkner to have the tourists at 2-138.

The dangerous Stokes reached his 50 with a straight six back over Maxwell’s head and built a solid partnership with Gary Ballance.

Marsh was again involved when Stokes chipped the ball to him at mid-on when he was on 53, but the third umpire ruled the ball didn’t carry after watching several replays.

Ballance pulled in the air and straight to Steve Smith two overs later and had to go for 18 with his side at 3-190.

The English added just 16 more runs before Stokes skied one off Faulkner’s bowling allowing Matthew Wade a simple catch to end his 84-ball innings on 70.

Ravi Bopara managed just three runs before he was walking back to the sheds, as Coulter-Nile picked up his first wicket of the day and substitute fielder Xavier Doherty waited under a regulation catch.

Morgan and wicketkeeper Buttler then teamed up for a 71-run partnership off just 51 balls.

Morgan hit England’s third six in three overs before Faulkner got his revenge a ball later.

Morgan smashed one straight to Christian to depart for 33.

Buttler hit consecutive boundaries and then smashed a straight six off Pattinson in the 49th over to surpass the 300-mark.

Buttler whacked another six off Faulkner in the final over, before lofting one straight to Johnson at third man with just two balls remaining the innings.

Tim Bresnan (two) edged to Johnson again at third man in the next ball to have Faulkner on a hat-trick.

But Stuart Broad drove through the covers off the final delivery to give his side what could be a further crucial four runs.

The West Australian

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