It’s winner-takes-all as England and Australia clash at Old Trafford in the third and final one-day international on Wednesday.
England carry plenty of momentum into the deciding ODI at Old Trafford, where Eoin Morgan’s men are
20/29 favourites to follow up their remarkable success on Sunday by clinching the series.
The Three Lions were on the verge of a first loss in a home bilateral one-day series since 2015 when the Aussies, already 1-0 up, were cruising towards a modest victory target of 232 under the lights at the weekend.
But Morgan’s side are world champions for a reason, it suddenly clicked for seamers Jofra Archer, Chris Woakes and Sam Curran and the tourists were blown away, leaving the series on a knife-edge going into the decider.
These are two seriously evenly-matched units and with so little to choose between them a third nail-biter looks on the cards.
Soft Aussie Middle Order Crying Out For Super Smith
Australia’s middle-order collapse on Sunday – they lost four wickets in 21 balls – shows the value of Steve Smith to the side and they will be desperate for their talisman to play in Manchester.
Failed concussion tests ruled Smith out of the first two matches and his country needs him like never before. The 31-year-old has scored 4,802 runs at over 42 in the 50-over format but it’s his very presence at the crease as much as his scores in the locker that make him the absolute key man in any Australian side.
The word is that Smith,
3/1 to be top Australian runscorer, is fit and that would represent a seismic shot in the arm for the tourists.
Buttler To Prove Form Is Temporary, Class Permanent
England, of course, have their own middle-order superstar in Jos Buttler, who has yet to get going in this series – but you write him off at your peril.
Remember the obits were being written for Buttler’s Test career before a match-winning 75 in the first Test against Pakistan followed by a career-best 152 in the third ended all conversations about his demise in the five-day arena.
No one is questioning his place in England’s 50-over line-up, though he will want to come to the party after scores of 1 and 3 in the first two showdowns.
Man of the Series in the T20s (he didn’t even play in the third match) and enjoying a memorable season, a man who averages 40-and-change with a strike-rate of 120 should be backed for one last flourish at a distinctly generous
11/2 to be top England scorer.
Old Scores To Be Settled On New Pitch
The final showdown of this briefest of Ashes conflicts will be contested on a new pitch, which should make for a belter.
Four innings have yet to produce a 300-plus score with Aussie quick Pat Cummins complaining Sunday’s track was like a fourth-day Test pitch.
The ball coming on to the bat will please pacemen and batsmen, though Adil Rashid,
11/4 joint favourite to be home top wicket-taker, will also enjoy the fresh surface. The Yorkshire leggie has been subdued so far, taking two wickets in the opener but bowling far too short in the second.
His fortunes are in contrast with opposition leg-break bowler Adam Zampa, who is picking up wickets for fun. Zampa, with seven scalps already, is
3/1 to top his side’s wicket-taking list for the third game in a row.
*All odds correct at time of writing