Just when you thought this England ODI side were going to lie down and have their tummies tickled like the family Labrador, they bit back like an angry Alsatian at Old Trafford, to give themselves a fighting chance of adding to Australia’s Ashes woes with a series win.
Of course, those cricket punters who were shrewd enough to utilise the insight shared on these pages prior to that rousing 93-run England victory, would have been expecting Eoin Morgan and co to peg Steve Smith’s men back to 2-1 anyhow.
Now being dubbed as England’s new ‘spin twins’, Adil Rashid and Moeen Ali have rightly soaked up the praise for toppling four of the Aussies’ top five batsmen between them in the third ODI and giving the 50-over side a healthy new dimension.
As the series swings across the Pennines from Manchester to Leeds, those familiar with the nuances of England’s prominent cricket venues may be fearful that this renewed spin threat will be badly blunted at Headingley.
Conditions at Yorkshire’s flagship ground, especially with cloud cover overhead, make Headingley tracks particularly receptive to seam bowing, while spinners have generally toiled.
But England fans shouldn’t fear, rather believe that Moeen and predominantly Rashid can bowl the hosts to a series-levelling win at 1/1, despite Headingley’s reputation as a spin graveyard.
Moeen’s Test bowling figures in Leeds leave much to be desired admittedly. A strike rate just over the 100-run mark does perpetuate the theory that wristy types flounder at Yorkshire’s home, but his last ODI performance there offers encouragement.
In a win over India just over 12 months ago – England’s third victory in their last four one-day matches at Headingley – Moeen struck twice for 34 runs.
But it’s Yorkshire’s very own and England’s leading wicket taker in this series with seven, who is best-placed to do the damage with flight and turn again at his home ground.
Although he’s yet to bowl in England colours at Headingley, Rashid took 8-118 back in May, which are still the best First-Class figures of any of Yorkshire bowler at home all season, en-route to successive Division One titles.
Rashid is a 4/1 chance to get most Aussie scalps in the match and a whopping 20/1 shot to be named man of the match.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.
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