As the dust settles on the shock of witnessing the rarest dismissal in the game, England will seek to put aside Ben Stokes’ black-swan event in a bid to get this ODI series back on track.
Trailing 2-0 after the first two games, Eoin Morgan’s men risk losing every last drop of momentum gained from an Ashes victory in the Test series, as a reinvigorated Australia side led by new skipper Steve Smith look to seal the series at the first time of asking.
Fast bowler Steven Finn spoke about not letting the emotions of Stokes’ controversial dismissal for obstructing the field get to England’s young side, but the fact is that the issue also masked what was another comprehensive display from the tourists, who are now 5/2 to secure a 5-0 series whitewash.
Nonetheless, Smith will be without some key players as injuries have struck his squad at a key point in the five-match series.
David Warner, Shane Watson and Nathan Coulter-Nile will not make Tuesday’s third ODI at Old Trafford, with the venue another reason why Morgan should be confident of getting his side off the mark.
England have won five of their last six ODIs in Manchester, a run that has seen the home side defeat the likes of India, Sri Lanka (twice) and Australia (twice).
Should Morgan win the toss, he’ll do well to consider that in four of these five wins England batted second, while their one loss in this successful Old Trafford run (against Australia two years ago) came when his batsman were first out of the pavilion.
It means the captain should aim to get Smith and co in from the off and look to his bowlers to set the tempo for his batsman to follow in chasing a reachable total. Encouragingly, as the series’ top runscorer, Morgan is leading from the front and is 10/11 to finish in that position for England.
With that in mind, England may look to refresh their bowling attack, given that only Adil Rashid features for them in the top five bowlers of the series so far, with Australia’s Cummins – 4/9 to finish as their top wicket-taker – on six wickets, one ahead of Rashid.
One such player England should look to is Durham’s Mark Wood. The fast bowler, who made such an impression during the Ashes Test series, sat out of the defeat at Lord’s.
However, given that his last appearance at Old Trafford in an England shirt saw him claim three wickets for 26 runs in England’s win against an in-form New Zealand earlier this summer, the home selectors should be confident returning him to the side on this pitch.
Wood’s absence from the XI last time round makes him an outside punt at 25/1 to win man of the match. Should he earn a recall and Morgan also win the toss and put the Aussies in, backing a much-needed England victory could see some hearty reward with the hosts 6/5 to once again reign at Old Trafford.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.
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