Ed Hawkins looks at the clash from Sydney in the early hours of Sunday and says Australia need to ring the changes...
"Australia have never lost three ODI in a row in a two-team home series"
Australia v England
Sunday January 21 03:20 GMT
TV: live on BT Sport
Australia are in exactly the sort of muddle you would expect for a team which, prior to defeat in Brisbane, had lost eight from their last nine. They are getting the balance of the XI wrong, batting players in the wrong positions and not defining roles.
Once they get all that sorted, they should be fine. The problem is, it could take them the whole series, and a few more games after that, for everything to click.
Indeed, the sort of middle-order funk which saw them slip from 209 for three to post 270 has been pretty consistent across this poor sequence of form. It smacks of a team which is consisted of players unsure about their futures.
David Warner, Aaron Finch and Steve Smith are go-to picks in the batting. No-one else is as secure. That's probably why they shoehorned an extra batter in the form of Cameron White for The Gabba.
The remedy seems pretty clear to outsiders. Bat Alex Carey, in great nick following a ton for Strikers in the Bash, at No 3 (instead of No 8) and give him licence to attack. Free everyone else with Smith anchoring it all at No 4.
Pick Adam Zampa, the best spinner. Or recall Nathan Lyon. Then, if Mitchell Starc, Josh Hazlewood and Pat Cummins are all fit, it's a strong team who should give England a game.
England can do no wrong at the moment. And for all the criticism that Australia will face about their selection and method, it would be harsh in the extreme not to recognise the qualities that England have.
In the field, they have terrific variation with the ball. Mark Wood and Liam Plunkett have good pace and Chris Woakes tricks and variations. Moeen Ali is economical and Adil Rashid a wicket-taker. As for Joe Root, he seems to have a golden arm.
With the bat they are supremely confident. As Eoin Morgan said after Melbourne 'if it wasn't Roy it would have been someone else'. It is worth remembering that Ben Stokes is absent and when he returns post this series, England will be a formidable nut to crack.
Here are the last 13 first-innings scores at the SCG (most recent first): 353-324-330-328-133-376-408-234-280-243-220-222-252. We would expect 300 to be busted here again, regardless of who bats first. It's always tricky to get a price, though. We would like [1.80] but getting it is another matter. Shove on another ten runs and we might be there, though.
Australia are [1.72] and England [2.34]. The hosts are edging their way up and the question now is at what point do they become value. This is where the 'ifs' begin.
If they make the changes above to selection. If they get their three stellar pacers on the park. If they put England under pressure in the field in a chase.
The latter may be a tricky pill to swallow. Australia prefer to bat first. And in Sydney it pays off with the hosts winning three of the last four there by going big and then defending.
But England are very happy to chase and wouldn't be perturbed even by 350. Far better to ask them to post something and then put their bowling plans to the test. It is also worth mentioning that Australia have never lost three ODI in a row in a two-team home series.
Warner has two centuries in his last three ODI at the SCG. In between, Smith has a monster of a ton against New Zealand. That bodes well for Australia. Warner is 3/1 with the Betfair Sportsbook and Smith 12/5. Finch, two tons from two, is 11/5. Read in-depth analysis of his game here.
If England wrap up the series in Sydney then it could be your last chance to bet Root for honours considering he is overdue a rest. He is 11/4 (Betfair Sportsbook). With 91 and 46 so far Australia haven't got him out yet. Roy was due a failure but historically he scores his runs in threes: big-small-big. So the 3/1 may be our fancy.
Ed Hawkins P-L
Based only on available prices. Does not include back-to-lay in-running match advice or commission rate. Figures 2013-2016 on 1pt level stakes. New points system (0.5pt-5) introduced for 2017. Includes Hawk-Eye stats column p-l