Head raised his bat, then rocked his arms in tribute to his new baby daughter after reaching triple-figures, to enthusiastic but scattered applause from grandstands only dotted with fans treated to a special batting effort from the dynamic duo who set all manner of records in their 269 run-stand. Warner ended his own 1043-day drought of international hundreds and with his helmet-off, his traditional leap done and arms raised in triumph looked a man who thought “finally” despite already having 43 international hundreds on his brilliant career CV.But the sound of the ball rocketing off their bats to the boundary 30 times as Head made his highest ODI score and Warner 106 was as brilliant as the echo around the MCG which followed every shot was deflating during a near five-hour long Australian innings.The home side finished on a series-high 5-355 after two rain delays reduced the match to 48-overs each.Head, who was dropped on four, and Warner took the lackluster English bowling to task in the third match of a series played without context for anyone other than the players, and already won which, when combined with the mid-week scheduling in November made the poor turnout expected.But not to the degree it was, with no more than 1000 in their seats for the 2.20pm start time, no matter what any “official” figures floating around may have suggested and maybe 5000 when the innings ended just before 7pm.Those who did make it in were given a treat from the opening batters who continued a blossoming relationship created by the retirement of former captain Aaron Finch and one which looks to be Australia’s best choice for next year’s ODI World Cup in India.The dynamic duo already boast the highest partnership in Australian ODI history — 284 scored against Pakistan in 2017 — made 147 in the opening game of this series and now they have the record of the greatest ever Australian opening partnership against England.It was also the highest ever partnership in an ODI at the MCG, for any team, beating a 20-year-old record from 2002 when Adam Gilchrist and Ricky Ponting put on 225 runs, in front of 34,887 people.Crowds of more than 80,000 filled the MCG three times during the recent T20 World Cup, but not when Australia was playing.Support for international teams outweighed that for the locals during the showpiece event in a fashion which drew questions about the Australians being “on the nose” with their own fans. That was a suggestion denied on the eve of the match by Australian batting dynamo Marnus Labuschagne, the sort of player who could muster as much enthusiasm for a game with a stick on a beach as an international contest at the MCG, regardless of who turned up to watch. “I certainly don’t feel like there is a lack of interest in the Australian team,” he said.“With that much cricket around, it’s a big cost for families to keep turning up.“You’ve got the World Cup, Big Bash coming up, a five-Test series. I think if people don’t flock to these one-dayers, come Boxing Day it’s going to be a packed stadium with South Africa rolling in.”The average attendance for the only three other ODIs ever played at the MCG in November was around 17,000 but for Cricket Australia the lack of a turnout required every bit of context available.The series was already won, it was a Tuesday, it’s not school holidays yet and it was a bit cold.But the lack of crowd meant less to the players who to a man had declared every match was an important one 12 months out from a one-day World Cup.For Head too every ball, every shot, every minute in the middle is of significance and the only spectators that mattered were national selectors. THE DROUGHT IS OVERWarner has not been short of runs in the nearly three years since his last international hundred but there was little doubt reaching triple figures was a monkey off his back.It was his first hundred for Australia since January 2020, a month in which he scored both Test and ODI centuries.Since then he’s been in the 90s twice in ODIs, even making 99 in Sri Lanka this year, and twice in Tests.BACK IN CHARGEAustralia resisted the urge to unleash wild thing Riley Meredith for the third and final clash, instead including Sean Abbott for spinner Ashton Agar, with captain Pat Cummins back in charge, taking the reins from Josh Hazlewood.Eyebrows were raised when both Cummins opted to miss what would have been just his second game in charge in Sydney last Saturday, but also with Hazlewood preferred to Steve Smith as stand-in skipper. The day cricket died? Embarrassing scenes at MCG A headcount of the sparse MCG crowd which had filtered in for the start of the dead-rubber third ODI between Australia and England would have been deflating for Cricket Australia officials. At first glance there appeared to be maybe 1000 people in the ground to see Australia’s best possible ODI line-up, minus rested fast bowler Mitchell Starc and injured Glenn Maxwell, take on the old enemy England. The official attendance was listed on Twitter as 4524 shortly after play started at 2.20pm.The result of too much cricket, with even Australian players spread around the country in other teams, or putting their feet up in Perth like Cameron Green, has delivered waning interest in the national team’s pursuits. While the average crowd for the only three ODIs ever played at the MCG in November is over 17,000, that sort of figure attending on a cloudy Tuesday in Melbourne seemed fanciful. On the field Australia resisted the urge to unleash wild thing Riley Meredith for the third and final clash, instead including Sean Abbott for Ashton Agar, with captain Pat Cummins back in charge, taking the reins from Josh Hazlewood. England won the toss, and put Australia in to bat, with the two teams entering the arena to applause which sounded more like golf claps than the rousing support which was their greeting in days gone by.With the sound of leather and willow set to echo around the empty ground, it looms as a likely miserable MCG one-day send-off for a host of players who could potentially be playing their final 50-over international at the venue.Next year’s World Cup in India shapes as the potential end of an era for this Australian team, given the exhausting demands of the schedule makes it unrealistic for many senior players to continue in 50-over cricket.There is still plenty of water to go under the bridge until any firm decisions are made, but it’s possible Tuesday’s dead rubber against England could be the last ever ODI outing in Australia for David Warner, Mitchell Starc, Steve Smith, Pat Cummins, Josh Hazlewood and Marcus Stoinis.For Warner, Starc, Smith, Cummins and Hazlewood it would be a fitting venue should it indeed be their last ODI on home soil, given it’s where they lifted the World Cup trophy in 2015.Perhaps selectors will hope that a couple of those stars will forge on a little longer than the World Cup in 12 months’ time to help with a smoother transition, but unless a player is planning on battling through to the 2027 World Cup in South Africa, then it seems an opportune time to usher in a new era.cricket greats pollAustralia won’t play another ODI on home soil until January 2024 against the West Indies, and a handful of Australian stars have already begun to forecast the scaling back of playing all three formats.“I don’t think playing three formats is something I can do for a long period of time moving forward now,” Starc said over the weekend.“Not the way it’s scheduled these days. It’s certainly impossible at the moment to play every game as a three-format player.“Tests always first (priority). Tests are far above white ball. I’ll decide on the rest as I go and where my body’s at and how I feel about it. I’d love to, selection and form pending, very much like to continue playing Test cricket as long as we can.”Warner said last week that while he is shooting for the 2024 Twenty20 World Cup, this could be his final 12 months in Test cricket.“Test cricket will probably be the first one to fall off,” Warner said on Triple M’s Deadset Legends.“Because that’s how it will pan out. The T20 World Cup is in 2024, (one-day) World Cup next year.“Potentially it could be my last 12 months in Test cricket.“But I love the white-ball game. It’s amazing.”Smith was half joking when he suggested back in September he might not play one-day cricket that much longer – but he would be 38 by the time a 2027 World Cup comes around.“I’m getting old myself, so I’m probably the next one to retire,” he said earlier this year. “So we’ll see.”SCBBL PROMOThere is a feeling that Cummins may only captain the one-day team as a one-year mission through to next year’s World Cup.He is younger than his fellow quicks at 29 and so could play on in 50-over cricket, but the reality is the demands of the schedule force him to rest from ODI cricket so often that it’s questionable whether it’s sustainable for him to continue in the format, given captaining and performing in the Test arena is his No.1 priority.The bowlers may well try and forge onto the T20 World Cup in 2024, but overall it would appear that over the next 18 months they will follow the lead of England’s James Anderson and Stuart Broad and focus on being Test specialists.It could become a natural juncture for Australia to follow an English model of having a clearer division between white ball and red ball specialists.