In his second over, the third of the innings, McKay took the 33rd hat-trick in ODI history when he removed Kevin Pietersen, Jonathan Trott and Joe Root. From 8 for 3, England managed to recover their composure but it was hard work for Eoin Morgan and a nervous Michael Carberry.
While most attention was focused on what Mitchell Johnson would deliver (he later pushed the speedgun near 94mph) the early drama came from the other end. McKay, a key part of Australia’s one-day side but a bowler who rarely gets the acclaim, began by trapping Pietersen lbw as he aimed to flick through the leg side.
Trott, who has struggled in the latter half of this season, then edged a drive at a wide delivery to collect his second first-ball duck of the series before a similar stroke by Root, although to a delivery closer to off stump, took a thinner edge low to Shane Watson at first slip.
Carberry watched it all from the non-striker’s end but was soon in the firing line of Johnson as the left-armer crashed a searing short delivery into his gloves at 93.6mph – the ball looped in the air but fell between three fielders. It was mighty hard work for Carberry as Australia’s pacemen all maintained their accuracy, although there was momentary relief when he shimmied forward and drove James Faulkner through the off side then produced a rasping square cut off McKay early in his second spell.
Morgan has found form late in the season and was more assured, although was still cut in half when McKay nipped one back between his bat and pad. Australia burned their review against him, when he had 8, for a caught-behind appeal which replays showed was nowhere near the outside edge. After a considerable period of reconnaissance – which was desperately needed by England – Morgan began to open up with three boundaries in five balls off McKay’s eighth over.
25 overs England 84 for 3 (Morgan 43*, Carberry 33*) need 144 more runs to beat Australia 227