Australia v England Second T20 Betting: Blazing Buttler can lead England fightback

Buttler is overpriced at the 'G
Buttler is overpriced at the 'G

Ed Hawkins retains faith in the tourists for Friday morning's must-win game in Melbourne where he expects Jos Buttler to star 

"The Lancashire man didn't set Hobart harbour alight but he scored his runs rapidly enough which suggests he is seeing it just fine"

Recommended bet
Buttler top England runscorer at 9.28/1

Australia v England 
Start time: 08.30
TV: live on Sky Sports

Australia are just one win away from sweeping every series this winter against England. In Hobart, Cameron White and Aaron Finch batted aggressively to set up an unbeatable target of 213. But the selectors have still seen fit to add ballast to the batting, and it's a rather left-field selection. Brad Hodge, who hasn't played for his country for six years, has been recalled. It would be a surprise if he didn't play on his home ground, possibly at the expense of Moises Henriques. Another specialist was required but there was surely a younger option than the 39-year-old.

It was strange that England didn't play their best side for a match they could ill afford to lose. Now they are under pressure. Again. Ben Stokes was left out and he is expected to return. Hopefully Joe Root, whose unimpressive tour continued with another nondescript effort, will make way. Is that harsh? Not really. Just because he got 33 in quick time doesn't mean he should get another chance. We've been waiting for a big score for yonks and it hasn't been forthcoming. Root's exit might allow Ravi Bopara to be promoted to the No 4 position. His 65 from 24 balls was an innings of frustration as much as brilliance. He is not being given a fair crack of the whip. Danny Briggs, the spinner whose economy rate hit 13, should lose out to James Tredwell.

First-innings runs
The average first-innings score in six T20 internationals at the MCG is a paltry 137. Only twice has 150 been breached. The eight Big Bash matches in the last two seasons have produced the following totals: 208-90-131-161-134-177-146-145. That is an average of 149. Despite the run glut in Hobart we should be cautious and not expect huge numbers. The MCG is much bigger than the Bellerive Oval and the fast scoring had more to do with short boundaries than batsmen in extraordinary form. Maybe getting low of 165 or more is the way ahead here. The weather forecast is set fair.

Match odds 
Australia are 1.794/5 and England 2.245/4. As we said before the series began and in the first match preview, we don't believe the gap in odds is justified in terms of recent T20 form or the players available. So again we stick out our necks and side with England. We are at least confident in their batting, which did well to respond to Australia's mammoth total. The bowling, however, was not so hot. Given that England failed to pick their strongest XI (Stokes and Tredwell) it is reasonable to expect a tighter performance. The pitch at the MCG should also help. There is often seam and swing to assist bowlers in Melbourne and it is no coincidence there have been some low totals down the years. 

Top Australia runscorer 
Hodge is 5.69/2 for honours on his return to the side and there will be a fair few takers given no-one has scored as many runs as him in this format. George Bailey made 45 in a win against Sri Lanka at the MCG last year and is 7.413/2. Finch gets a quote of 3.8514/5. When England played in a T20 at the ground in 2011 Finch top scored at No 6 with 53 off 33 balls. Australia won the game by four runs.  White goes off at around 5.04/1. He will feel right at home as this is where he starred this season in the Bash.

Top England runscorer 
Luke Wright, who is expected to continue in the No 3 berth, has some ground form. But you would expect that as he is a Melbourne Stars player who are hosted at the 'G. One of the highlights was his 70 off just 32 balls in the Melbourne derby. Wright is 5.14/1. In the same game Jos Buttler hit 49 from 28 balls and he looks a decent bet at an explosive 9.28/1. The Lancashire man didn't set Hobart harbour alight but he scored his runs rapidly enough which suggests he is seeing it just fine. Bopara is 11.010/1

Recommended Bet
Buttler top England runscorer at 9.28/1

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