Australia pulled off a spectacular run chase to win the sixth one-day international against England by two wickets on Wednesday, racking up a record 334-8 to take a 5-1 lead in the series.
Inspired by under-fire skipper Michael Clarke’s 82, the hosts scored their highest tally when batting second in a one-dayer to overhaul England’s 333-6, a record by them against Australia.
Clarke was run out with eight runs needed but John Hastings hit the winning four with a thick inside edge down to fine leg to spark wild celebrations among the Australians in a sparse crowd at the Sydney Cricket Ground.
Jonathan Trott, who struck 102 to help the tourists to their only victory in the series, compiled a superb 137 to drive England to what looked like a winning tally as the home side laboured in the fierce heat of a sweltering day.
Australia, who already held an insurmountable lead in the seven-match series, knew they needed a record score as the heat of the day gave way to a cooler evening.
Shane Watson (51) and Brad Haddin got them off to a blistering start with a stand of 71 in 7.6 overs before the keeper was dismissed for 20, snared by a fine catch by Trott off James Anderson.
Clarke promoted Mitchell Johnson to number four in the order and the all-rounder responded with a knock of 57 that included two huge sixes before being stumped by Matt Prior off Kevin Pietersen.
Earlier, Prior was involved in controversy when he inadvertently knocked a bail off after taking a ball from spinner Michael Yardy and claimed Johnson had been bowled.
Watson kept up his good form with another half-century while Callum Ferguson produced a bright 46, but it was a sixth-wicket partnership of 90 between David Hussey and Clarke that drove the hosts towards victory.
Clarke, who was booed on to the pitch in the last one-dayer in Brisbane, completed his 45th one-day half-century, and his second in two matches, while Hussey added 38 as Australia eclipsed their previous best 330-7, against South Africa in 2001/02.
England had also started briskly and kept up the pace after Johnson bowled Prior off his pads for 18, bringing Trott to the wicket.
Trott then remained at the crease as captain Andrew Strauss (63), Pietersen (29), Ian Bell (45) and Eoin Morgan (21) made their contributions.
The 29-year-old, who survived an lbw appeal on 82 courtesy of a television review, picked up his third century in one-dayers before being caught and bowled by Shaun Tait from the penultimate ball of the innings.
The final match takes place in Perth on Sunday. — Reuters