The third and final T20 between England and Australia takes place at The Ageas Bowl in Southampton on Tuesday evening and there is a feeling the tourists may get off the mark at last.
England have already wrapped up the series after Sunday’s six-wicket victory on the south coast and they know another win today would cement their position as the number one ranked T20 team.
However, the outcome of this series could have been very different had Australia not choked in the first T20, while a better bowling performance in the second encounter could have turned things in their favour.
With a three-match ODI series coming up on the back of this, the Aussies will be eager to take some momentum into that and they may just get what they need from Tuesday’s contest, which they are
20/27 to win.
England May Feel Buttler Absence
For all the question marks over his ability in the Test arena, Jos Buttler is one of the best limited-overs batsmen in the world and he proved this with a superb unbeaten knock of 77 in that second T20, guiding England from the top of the order.
However, the 30-year-old will not be involved on Tuesday after he was granted leave to see his family, meaning Tom Banton is likely to be promoted to opener alongside Jonny Bairstow, who is struggling for form.
Buttler’s absence will also open up an opportunity for Sam Billings in the middle order, but the latter averages just 17.59 in T20 internationals and he doesn’t look worth backing at
8/1 to be England’s top batsman.
Morgan Withdrawal Would Be Double Blow
Along with Buttler, England could also be without the services of captain Eoin Morgan after he dislocated his finger in the second game and he is rated as doubtful for the series finale.
Not only would his batting be a huge miss with the 33-year-old averaging 30.27 in T20s, but the asbence of his superb leadership would also be felt, with relatively untested at this level Moeen Ali likely to be in charge, given the fact vice-skipper Buttler is also unavailable.
England also only have one more reserve batsman to call upon, Joe Denly, and although the latter is talented he is nowhere near the level of Morgan.
Aussies Eager for Revenge
As mentioned at the start, Australia should have really won the first T20, only for a batting collapse to see them snatch defeat from the jaws of victory, while a poor bowling display let them down in the second game.
If both Buttler and Morgan are absent for England, then the two batting line-ups will be much more even and the tourists will feel like they can end the series on a high note ahead of the one-day games.
Mitchell Starc, Pat Cummins, and Kane Richardson have looked a little rusty during this series, but they are class bowlers and not too much should be read into those previous performances.
In terms of batting, Aaron Finch looked good for his 40 last time out before chopping onto his own stumps and he could be worth a punt at
5/2 to be his country’s top batsman, having also scored 46 in the opener.
Australia could decide to bring in Marnus Labuschagne to beef up the batting higher up the order and he is
9/2 to be his side’s top batsman.
*All odds correct at time of writing