Big impact: James Faulkner arrives in Sydney after a match-winning effort in Brisbane. Photo: Anthony Johnson
Brad Haddin won't be surprised if game-changing all-rounder James Faulkner makes it three match-winning innings in as many months when Australia attempt to seal the one-day international series at the SCG on Sunday.
With Australia reduced to 9-244 in the 44th over chasing 301 in Friday night's second match of the ODI series, Faulkner smashed 69 off 47 balls, including three fours off the first three balls of the final over, to get Australia over the line and deprive England of the first major win of what has been a miserable summer for the former top-ranked team.
Faulkner's heroics comes off the back of a similar display against India in Mohali in October. With Australia chasing India's 9-303 and needing 44 off 18 balls, Faulkner belted 30 runs off the 48th over to help Australia to another highly unlikely victory, again with three balls to spare.
Haddin hailed Faulkner as ''an exceptional talent'' who he expects to play a big part on Sunday.
''That was an extraordinary finish last night, we were in no position to win the game until James hit that four through cover off the last ball,'' Haddin said.
''The funny thing about last night, though, is that it's not the first time he's done that, he's done it in Mohali before. To get us out of the position we were in last night was just an extraordinary effort.
''[That innings in] Mohali has helped him. He knows he's got the power to clear the rope at the end, and he paced his innings pretty well. He's a guy that learns quicker than most, he's only young but he takes everything on board. He picks up things and puts them into action, and he's got that competitive edge that you want in a cricket team. ''
Despite Faulkner putting Ishant Sharma to the sword mercilessly in Mohali, it could be argued that Friday night's finish was even more impressive. In Mohali, Faulkner had experienced middle-order batsman Adam Voges for company, with the pair putting on 91 for the eighth wicket. When Mitchell Johnson departed with the score on 244, Australia still required a further 57 to win at 9.5 an over, with Faulkner only one poor shot away from handing England a morale-boosting victory.
With England's tour already reduced to ashes and the beleaguered tourists on the brink of conceding the ODI series, Haddin wouldn't be drawn on what the mood must be in the England camp, or what England captain Alastair Cook must do to ensure England leave Australian shores with some semblance of pride.
''I don't need to worry about what Alastair Cook says to his team. We've all been on the end of a few floggings from England so I'm not worried about what he says to his team. People say winning is a habit and so is losing, and I think that was no more evident than last night,'' Haddin said.
''We were in a position last night where England probably batted, bowled, and fielded a lot better than us and we won the game, so we'll obviously take a lot of confidence out of that leading into this game in Sydney. We're hoping after Friday night we can open a few of England's scars a bit wider and finish it off.''