The Australian international summer ends on Saturday when Australia take on England in the third match of the Trans-Tasman T20 Tri Series. The two teams have already played once in the tournament with Australia winning and they know if they repeat that result they will be into the final with a match to spare.
An England victory will send them to the New Zealand leg of the series in second place and in a good position to make it through to the final so the Melbourne Cricket Ground should be treated to a competitive contest.
Australia have won both their matches thus far but they have done it is completely different circumstances which will bode well for them. They demolished New Zealand right from the start of that match while they were put under the pump by England early on and responded well to win with an air of comfort.
If there is a concern then it may come in the form of their top order. In both matches although they were chasing eminently gettable totals they were floundering at one point and needed a special innings or two to get them over the line. That has been an issue all summer with Steve Smith bailing them out so often in the Tests.
England have only played one match in the tournament so far and they will have been extremely disappointed to have lost it given the positions they got themselves into at various times. They were flying with the bat only for some naïve cricket to bring them down to a much under par total and thn with the ball they started well but couldn’t capitalise.
I would imagine they will come on for the run especially having had a few days to assess where they went wrong and what they can improve on. England weren’t far away in that first match so they only need a marginal gain to be very competitive. That gain should come in the form of more sensible batting although they seem to be committed to this aggressive approach.
Australia look set to name an unchanged side with Aaron Finch not yet fit to return. Travis Head came in for the last match and with the bigger boundaries at the MCG he may well stay in as his part-time spin is unlikely to surrender many sixes.
England may decide to make a change to their side to lengthen their batting line up if nothing else. They could do with an extra bowling option as well so it would not be a surprise were Liam Dawson to come in. Sam Billings could be in danger.
I took England in the first match between these two and they should have won that match having been in control of it on two occasions. They were on top after 10 overs with the bat and if the third umpire had not incorrectly ruled on a Glenn Maxwell catch they would have won when they were in the field.
Glenn Maxwell has rescued Australia in both of their batting efforts in this series but if England can nail him early then they could expose the weakness in the home batting. I expect England to have even more about them in this match and at the prices I’m willing to give them another go.
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