"It was tough. I've been playing cricket since I was a kid and that's the hardest day's cricket I've ever had in my life."
On this day in 2018, England slammed 481 for 6 in 50 overs against Australia, the highest score in the history of ODI cricket, and gave Tim Paine and his men the beating of a lifetime at Trent Bridge, Nottingham. Both Jonny Bairstow and Alex Hales smashed blistering centuries before spinners Adil Rashid and Moeen Ali claimed seven wickets between them to set up a 242-run victory, Australia's heaviest defeat in ODI history in terms of runs.
It was on the same ground, England amassed 444 for 3 in their 50 overs against Pakistan in August 2016, then the highest ODI total of all-time. Even in that encounter, Hales smoked 22 fours and four sixes in his 122-ball 171.
Australia came into this series having won just two of their last 13 ODIs. They had also lost their last four ODI series, while England were in superb form. The Eoin Morgan-led side had completely transformed themselves in white-ball cricket after their early and embarrassing exit from the 2015 World Cup in Australia and this series was just a proof of how far they have come in limited-overs cricket.
Talking about this series, Australia had already lost the first two ODIs before arriving in Nottingham for the third encounter of the five-match series. England won the first ODI by just three wickets and then won the second by 38 runs. Australia were without their two premier batsmen - Steve Smith and David Warner - in that series but they still managed to put up a solid fight in the first two ODIs. Then came the third ODI and England showed everyone why they are arguably the best white-ball team of the current era.
England openers Jason Roy and Bairstow went berserk from the word go after Morgan won the toss and opted to bat first on a batting-friendly surface. Roy was outstanding against the short ball, while anything full or on length, Bairstow tonked it out of the park. England were 79 for no loss at the end of 10 overs and the two went after every single Australian bowler. There were a couple of nervous moments, like Roy surviving a review and Bairstow getting dropped on 30 but apart from that, the two openers completely dismantled the Australian bowling line-up.
The opening pair added 159 in 19.3 overs before Roy was run out when he was on 82 off 61, studded with seven fours and four sixes. Hales walked in at No. 3 and things got even worse for Australia as he and Bairstow put on 151 runs for the second wicket. Paine and his bowlers tried everything but nothing really worked for the visiting team. While Bairstow hammered 15 fours and five sixes in his 92-ball 139, Hales tonked 16 fours and five maximums in his 92-ball 147. Bairstow was finally dismissed in the 35th over, while Jos Buttler couldn't contribute much.
Despite losing Bairstow and Buttler in the space of four overs, Hales didn't slow down and he even found a dangerous ally in Morgan who thrashed a 21-ball half-century, the quickest fifty in England's ODI history. The left-hander blasted 67 off just 30 deliveries, decorated with three fours and six maximums and put on 124 runs for the fourth wicket with Hales in just 59 deliveries. At one stage, it looked like England would reach the 500-run mark considering they were 450 for 6 at the end of 46 overs.
Hales was finally dismissed in the 48th over by Jhye Richardson and two balls later, Morgan fell to the same bowler. England scored 31 in the last four overs and missed out on a golden opportunity of becoming the first team to score 500 runs in an innings. Richardson did pick up three wickets but he went for 92, while Andrew Tye conceded 100 runs in his nine overs.
D'Arcy Short and Travis Head added 27 in the first three overs but before they could do further damage, David Willey got rid of Short when he was on 15. Head, Shaun Marsh, Marcus Stoinis, Aaron Finch, Glenn Maxwell and Ashton Agar all got decent starts but not one of them went on to convert it into a big score. For England, Rashid picked up four wickets, while Moeen took three, as Australia were bundled out for 239 in 37 overs.
England won the remaining two encounters as well and whitewashed Australia for the first time in their history. They then even got the better of Australia in the solitary T20I.
Just over a year later, England went on to win their maiden World Cup title.