Ed Hawkins says the match odds look to be about right for game two in Durham on Saturday but reckons record-breaking Aaron Finch will have inspired the other batsmen to try to replicate his form...
"Runs have flowed in the domestic Twenty20 competition at Durham with the first-innings average 168"
Back side batting first for 160 or more at 1.9010/11
England v Australia
Start time: 14:30 BST
TV: live on Sky Sports 2
Where to start? Well, at first glance of the scorecard this scribe thought 'Dernbach's sprayed it around again'. But no. The Surrey paceman was actually England's one decent performer in the Aaron Finch-inspired blitzkrieg at the Rose Bowl. Three wickets and an economy rate of 8.5 was rather good. As for the rest of the bowlers, well a case could be made for each of them being dropped. Stuart Broad, the skipper, won't be, of course. Steven Finn is the one who is in most danger, however. Finn is hardly flavour of the month and Boyd Rankin will probably replace him. The batting was fine but Michael Carberry might get a run out instead of Michael Lumb.
This column tipped Australia to win the first T20, citing superior talent in the format. However, it did not mention Finch so there will be no bragging here. Finch, if you haven't heard, smashed a world record 156 off 63 balls. It will prove to be a life-changing innings for the 26-year-old, who hit 14 sixes. Australia could still make changes, though. Their bowling was shaky enough to allow England to post 209 in reply to their 248. Pacers Nathan Coulter-Nile and Clint McKay might get the nod to give them game time before the ODI series.
The Chester-le-Street wicket is not the best, as we saw in the Test match between the sides when the bowlers dominated. However, the runs have flowed in the domestic Twenty20 competition this season. The first-innings scores read: 165-154-215-119-187. That is a very healthy average of 168. No rain is forecast so that should not prohibit us from getting long of 160. There's a bit of cloud but fret not. Indeed, the strength of the respective batting sides makes it a confident selection. Or should that be the weakness of the respective bowling sides?
The market was struggling to split these two before game one. Australia were marginal, tentative favourites. There is nothing like seeing to believe, though. And the musclebound Aussies proved a gulf in class exists. They are 1.845/6 for this one with England 2.166/5. We could certainly make a case for the hosts at those odds but the bottom line is that the prices are correct. Trading wise, we would expect England to shorten. They did exactly that when David Warner was removed early on. And just think: if England bowl first and dismiss Finch cheaply, they could well go sub 2.001/1. But that is a very quick in-and-out trade. To back and lay England we would be in it for the long haul, reckoning that there will be plenty of flip-flopping on the odds. There could be some more disciplined bowling on display from both sides. Certainly England should not bowl as wildly again. It was something of a mystery as to how professionals could consistently feed a player's (Finch) strength. And when wickets are the key to moving a market, England's improvement will help us.
Top England runscorer
With 90 from 49 balls Joe Root proved he is a player who can do the lot: block, nudge or blast. It is possible that Root could be promoted in the order following that knock with Luke Wright moving down. Alex Hales disappointed in the first match with just eight. He is England's leading scorer in the last 12 months.
Top Australia runscorer
Finch will be favourite and will go off no bigger than 4.003/1. That's good as it frees up some numbers for Warner, who, frankly, can be equally as destructive. Ditto Shane Watson, who came in at No 4 in Southampton to highlight Australia's strength. Indeed, the top four is a frightening prospect for bowlers with Shaun Marsh slotting in at No 3. With Finch likely to be such a popular bet, don't forget to check the prices for half-centuries.