The international summer concludes for the men on Wednesday when England and Australia meet in the third and final ODI of the series, with the spoils very much on the line after the home side cancelled out the Australian lead on Sunday.
That means this third game is the deciding one of the series so we should expect an extremely hard-fought clash between two sides who know all about the historic rivalry of these two nations. We’ve had a couple of good games but this could be the best of the lot.
England knew they were second best in the opening match of the series and to be fair to them they were no better for much of the second game either but when push came to shove they came up with the goods. It looked like it would be another fruitless outing for Eoin Morgan and his men but when they forged an opening with the ball they were committed enough to make it count, and with some excellent captaincy from Morgan they were able to steal a victory.
England would probably have taken stealing a win because they were playing in conditions that were not the ones they thrive in. They will see a different pitch here and will hope that the pace and bounce in it are true as we are yet to see them bat with the authority which makes them feared by sides across the world. If it isn’t then the one thing they have going for them is the quality of Adil Rashid who the Australians don’t really have an answer to.
The first thing Australia have to do ahead of this deciding match is forget about the fact they should have won the series by now. They should actually have won four of the five matches they have played on this tour but somehow have only came out with two wins. Getting into the winning positions don’t appear to be the problem. Converting them certainly does and that is something they are going to have to overcome here if they are to win the series.
The other thing they need to do is bat in partnerships. They only needed to bat sensibly in that second game to win the series but usually when a side have had a scare like that they learn a pretty quick lesson. There is absolutely no issue with the Australia bowling attack so as long as their batsmen can keep their heads under pressure there is no obvious reason why they can’t leave England with the 50 over series under their belts.
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England are likely to go in with the same team as the one which won the previous game. There is no reason to change a winning team and if Moeen Ali isn’t going to play on a turning and used track he is unlikely to play on a fresh one.
Australia have to decide whether to go in with the same side which blew up in the last game, or more likely whether the time is right to recall Steve Smith to their starting XI. If he comes in he is likely to do so for Marcus Stoinis.
I’ll finish the series off with just the one bet which comes in the form of a player performance. That performance belongs to Chris Woakes, a player who had an excellent match in the last game with three wickets and 26 runs and I expect him to back that up here too. He has turned into a very reliable performer for England, particularly in the white ball game where he challenges the batters with the new ball in his hand but also has enough about him at the death of the innings too.
He isn’t all about the ball though. He is a very good batsman in his own right and with England unlikely to play Moeen Ali, the Warwickshire star is expected to come in at number seven, which should give him a perfectly good chance of getting to the crease. The performance line here is 40.5 so even if he only scores a run we would only need two wickets from him. There is a good chance that with enough time at the crease he scores more than that though. Throw in catches as well as he is not lacking for scoring potential so I like the over here.
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