As Aaron Finch blasted Australia towards victory in Southampton with a mammoth 156, there was a genuine feeling that the 26-year-old from Victoria had also pulled his nation’s cricketing summer out of the doldrums.
Barring the Old Trafford Test and a couple of sporadic sessions, the tourists have looked timid; Finch’s swaggering knock – a new international T20 record – has changed all that.
England suddenly look tired and their bowling attack rather toothless: Graeme Swann and James Anderson are still resting, Broad looks like he should be too and Steven Finn is clearly short of confidence.
Ladbrokes make Australia an appealing 4/5 shot to triumph in Durham and history proves that Ashes winners rarely maintain their Test series superiority in subsequent limited-overs cricket.
Logistically, the furthest possible domestic journey – Southampton to Durham – is unlikely to delight the England players either, whilst the resurgent tourists will enjoy dragging the hosts up north.
Especially as the destination, Chester-le-Street, has only hosted one T20 international, a match that England lost narrowly to Sri Lanka.
Elsewhere in the markets, Finch is 11/4 to top-score again but another freak innings is unlikely, especially on a pitch that has only produced two winning totals over 165 in six domestic T20 games this season.
With a low-scoring match a possibility, looking further down the batting line-ups in the Top Team Runscorer market may be shrewd: Jos Butler has proven T20 credentials (12/1) for the English. And Aussie skipper George Bailey’s more accumulative style of play could pay dividends in these conditions (6/1).
Jade Dernbach was England’s best bowler in Southampton and his box of tricks could again prove useful. The Surrey man is much more appealing at 7/2 than Steven Finn at the same price.
All odds and markets correct at time of publication.