Already 2-0 down, Australia will have to do all the running come the third one-day international at Trent Bridge in Nottingham if they have to stay alive in the five-match series. The Australians, who have their backs to the wall in the series can take hope from the fact that Nottingham is one of their happier hunting grounds in England as they have the second best win percentage after The Rose Bowl. In ODI cricket, in fact the Australians have played England thrice and won two games while the first in 1989 in was a tie. The match will begin at 6:30pm IST with the toss scheduled for 6pm and it will be telecast on the Sony Six network. Australia have fought hard in both matches, but their bowlers and batsmen haven’t fired together. In the first game, they were bowled out for 214 but they fought hard to pick up seven wickets before the home side crossed the line. In the second, the bowlers conceded lots of runs as England piled 342/8. This time, Shaun Marsh led a strong chase but Australia stopped at 304.
As a gauge of how England have dominated Australia in the format, the loss in the second ODI was their seventh win in the last eight ODIs. Indeed, it’s not gone well for Australia in recent times, even when they have had all their first-choice players: Their last ODI series win came in January 2017 when they got the better of Pakistan at home. Australia have since lost series against New Zealand (2-0), India (4-1) and England (1-4). For starters, Australia will have to address the failings in the batting department. In the two matches, the batters have managed just a half-century and a century. In contrast, England have three half-centuries and a century. The inability to stitch partnerships together has been another major issue for the visitors. Aaron Finch's move down to No.5 in the second ODI in a bid to strengthen the middle-order failed with the vice-captain bagging a four-ball duck. Marcus Stoinis, who has batted at No.4, has looked out of sorts, as has Paine, the captain.
Glenn Maxwell and Ashton Agar have both looked solid in the two outings but coming at No.6 and No.7 respectively hasn't always given them a chance to make a big difference. The Australian bowlers, despite the lack of experience, have been good in batting-friendly conditions. Billy Stanlake, Australia's best bowler in the opening ODI, was forced to miss the second game due to a toe injury and it is still unclear whether the lanky pacer will be fit for the crucial third ODI. If he comes in, the attack becomes stronger. England, on the other hand, seem to have most bases covered. They faltered at times in the chase in the first game, but eventually got home with enough to spare as Joe Root and Eoin Morgan hit half-centuries and David Willey chipped in with a 41-ball 35*. Jason Roy was spectacular in the second game as he hit a 108-ball 120 and so was Jos Buttler, who led the side in Morgan’s absence and provided the finishing touches to the innings with a stroke-filled 70-ball 91*.
The bowlers have pitched in the right areas, and have managed to pick up wickets at crucial junctures. Even when Marsh was going hammer and tongs in the last game, they ensured there were no steady partnerships. Liam Plunkett has been exceptional in both outings and is the leading wicket-taker so far in the series with seven strikes. Moeen Ali and Adil Rashid have been good in the middle overs as well. Collectively the two spinners have taken 10 wickets so far in the two games, a huge reason why England find themselves 2-0 up.
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First Published: June 19, 2018, 6:00 PM IST