Jos Buttler    Getty Images
Jos Buttler Getty Images

England skipper Eoin Morgan praised his team’s character after they defeated Australia by 16 runs to take an unassailable 3-0 lead in the five-match One-Day International (ODI) cricket series here on Sunday.

Jos Buttler’s 100 not out took England to 302/6 in 50 overs even as the hosts kept taking wickets at regular intervals. Chris Woakes remained unbeaten on 53 runs off 36 balls with five hits to the fence and two sixes.

The tourists then defended the total despite losing seamer Liam Plunkett to injury after just eight balls of his spell.

Australia could only manage to reach 286/6 despite half-centuries from Aaron Finch, Mitchell Marsh and Marcus Stoinis.

Woakes, Mark Wood and Adil Rashid claimed a couple of wickets each for England.

“I’m so proud of the guys today. The amount of character we showed again was awesome. To have one your quicks go down was a hammer blow. But I am so proud of the way the guys fought back with Joe (Root) bowling Liam’s overs and then the guys at the end were absolutely outstanding,” Morgan was quoted as saying by the International Cricket Council (ICC)’s website.

“I thought we fought really hard with the bat and the ball. Jos was probably the difference between the sides on a wicket that we thought was going to be fantastic to bat on and turned out to be a little bit two-paced. He paced his innings to perfection and really did take the responsibility on his shoulders and played anchor until the last three overs.

“That has probably been our best win as a group to date.”

Morgan said the target now is to win the series 5-0. “We are certainly going to be playing our strongest possible XI for both games so hopefully it is good enough to put in two winning performances,” he said.