The series has been conceded, their bowlers have been punished, and Australia are now No.6 on the ICC ODI rankings – they will somehow have to forget all this and fight back in the two matches remaining in the five-match series.
Australia have plenty to do, though. On Tuesday, England never stepped off the pedal, with all of Jason Roy, Johnny Bairstow, Alex Hales and Eoin Morgan running riot. Australia had used as many as eight bowlers within just 27 overs, but each of them were punished. Then, the visitors’ deflated batsmen never really managed to replicate their English counterparts, and they went down by a whopping 242 runs.
It was Australia’s eighth defeat in nine ODIs against England, and their fourth successive ODI series loss. It will, surely, be a tough ask to come back from a loss as big as this, but Australia will need to take solace in the positives.
A good place to start is with the bowlers’ performance in the first ODI, when they kept Australia in a low-scoring thriller before England came away with a three-wicket win. They have lost their way since, conceding 342/8 and the record 481/6, but Australia’s bowlers can take heart from the way they bowled at the Oval. More of the same is desperately needed.
England, meanwhile, have been ruthless and will want nothing less than 5-0 win. Their batsmen have been relentless, and the bowlers, led by Adil Rashid and Moeen Ali, have made life considerably miserable for the Australians. The duo has so far picked up a combined 17 wickets in the three games, and have done an excellent job to stymie the visitors in the middle overs.
Ahead of the fourth ODI, England called up Sam Curran and Craig Overton to the squad for the final two ODIs. They will provide additional pace-bowling options, and will be in line for selection come Thursday.
As for the batting, almost every England batsman has hit a half-century in the three matches so far. With India slated to visit in a few weeks, the signs are good for the hosts.
First Published: June 21, 2018, 8:45 AM IST