With series won, England aiming to pile on the misery for Australia

ENGLAND are confident they have "all bases covered" in one-day cricket but know they must keep it that way to complete a near unthinkable 5-0 whitewash of the world's No1 team.

Mike Yardy agrees with world rankings which place Australia top of the ODI table, yet knows his own team are in position to embarrass their Ashes rivals beyond expectations.

England go into today's fourth NatWest Series match at The Oval with a 3-0 lead and the series therefore wrapped up. They very nearly slipped up with a collapse of six wickets for 18 runs last time out at Old Trafford - but with that behind them, captain Andrew Strauss has for the first time publicly targeted a whitewash.

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Yardy was more guarded on that score today, but reports an unwavering belief of their own refined limited-overs abilities through the England camp.

"We have all bases covered, whether batting or bowling, plenty of options and also in the fielding," he said.

Strauss has taken over the captaincy from Paul Collingwood of broadly the same squad that delivered England's first International Cricket Council trophy, at the World Twenty20 last month. That campaign culminated in a seven-wicket victory over Australia in the Barbados final.

Yardy, who regained his ODI place on the back of his form in the Caribbean, said: "There's been a big emphasis on the fielding - we proved that in the World Twenty20 and we're proving it now. We're learning - the team has learned a lot over the last 12 months in one-day cricket, how we want to play it and how to move things forward."

Progress has been startling since losing 6-1 to Australia in the corresponding series last September.

Whitewashing the same opponents would take English cricket to rarefied new heights - but Yardy warns he and his team-mates must not get ahead of themselves. "Australia still have their big players like (Ricky) Ponting, (Michael) Hussey and (Shane) Watson - and bowling-wise, they still have pace.

"They are a top-quality international team - we regard them as the best team in the world - so it's a massive achievement to beat them 3-0."

Yardy, whose spin alliance with Graeme Swann is a feature of England's success, has no doubt England have all the elements in place to beat the best.

They are likely to name an unchanged team again today, but the Sussex left-armer knows a whitewash will still not come easily - albeit against opponents who have failed to play to their potential, particularly with the bat, so far this summer.

"We're playing good cricket. No matter what level you play, having plenty of bowling options makes a huge difference," said Yardy. "The main focus is 4-0. You can't win two games in a day.

"So try to get the momentum early tomorrow, keep it and get the right result. You don't need to worry about 5-0 until you've got 4-0. Australia will be hurting, and I'm sure they will come hard at us in the last two games.

"We've had three very good games, and it's important to keep the momentum and confidence going and not look too far ahead.

"It's been a great series win but I don't think we're finished. We're trying to keep improving as a team, and there are areas we can improve."

Much has been made, since England suddenly began winning limited-overs matches late last year, of the new brand of ‘fearless' cricket under the guidance of Strauss and coach Andy Flower. All-rounder Yardy was not involved until his surprise Twenty20 call-up two months ago. But the ethos of backing one another, and knowing you have the confidence of management too, is rubbing off already.

"I don't worry about getting in trouble if I get out," he said. "I play the way I play. Of course, I get disappointed if I get out - so you play with a certain amount of caution and responsibility.

"First and foremost, you look yourself in the mirror. You put your hand up if you make a mistake. It's your career and you answer to yourself.

"But there isn't that feeling that if you mess up you will be hung out to dry."