Ed Hawkins previews the final international action of the English summer and expects the home side to go out with a bang at Old Trafford on Sunday
"England have to be the call because they are ripping up records with gusto and incredible confidence. Australia are unsure and look a shadow of their former selves"
Back England at 1.981/1
England v Australia
Start time: 10.30
TV: live on Sky Sports
England's remarkable summer has continued until the last. At 2-0 down proceedings looked like ending with a whimper but they have roared back against the world champions in impressive fashion.
Their three-wicket win at Leeds was cosier than the margin suggested as they did everything pretty much spot-on. They prevented Australia from getting away from them with tight bowling at a crucial stage and once Jason Roy and James Taylor established a strong second-wicket partnership there was only going to be one winner.
David Willey's three wickets and Eoin Morgan's 92 from 92 balls were the highlights and although there was another failure for Alex Hales, England should be unchanged for the decider.
Australia are world champions in name only. There were only four survivors at Leeds from their triumph on home soil and they now look an average side.
The decision to drop a jaded Mitchell Starc was probably the right one but they will be alarmed at how toothless they were when defending 300. Not once could Australia pin England down. Just as worrying was their failure to seize the initiative with the bat.
After they had been reduced to 30 for three George Bailey (75) and Glenn Maxwell (85) did brilliantly to set them up for a monster total. But they wasted it, losing three wickets for five runs as their inexperience was exposed.
In the last ten years there have been seven first digs which have not been hampered by rain, producing an average of 242. The 300 England made was only the second time a triple ton had been reached in that time. It is a decent wicket but not one which is full of runs because it requires patience from batsmen. The bat can not be thrown at the ball willey nilley. Batsmen must wait and time the ball accordingly.
England are 1.981/1 and Australia 2.01/1. To put those odds into context England began the series at 2.466/4 with Australia 1.674/6. It is some turnaround.
Winning a series from 2-0 down will also be some achievement. It has happened only three times in history. England have levelled a series from two adrift before, but they lost the final game against New Zealand in 2002.
The momentum is undoubtedly with the hosts and Australia appear a little shellshocked. In the context of the series, England chasing 300 was a surprise because each of the games previously had been won by the side batting first.
It was only the third time that England had chased 300 or more, too. Although the fact that two have of those have come this summer shows that history is not that important.
England have to be the call because they are ripping up records with gusto and incredible confidence. Australia are unsure and look a shadow of their former selves.
It could be argued that as Australia were so skinny at the short that they now represent value. The issue is that the XI Australia were picking then is not the same. No Warner, no Watson, no Coulter-Nile and a fit Starc.
The toss will be important because rain some showers should disrupt the chase. If England bat first then they represent good value indeed.
Top England runscorer
Morgan has 13 50-plus scores in just 26 innings as England's ODI skipper which makes him darn reliable for punters. He will be sub 5.04/1 for honours. Taylor, a centurion on this ground in game three, should be a good bet, too. This is not a pitch to favour batsmen who like to hit through the line with abandon. Hales and Stokes are two examples.
Top Australia runscorer
Who to trust? Aaron Finch and Steve Smith should have scored well at Headingley but faltered. Joe Burns doesn't look cut out for internationals. Maxwell might not fancy a stopping surface. Maybe Bailey or Matthew Wade can adapt well? But this isn't a market where there appears to be a heap of value.
Back England at 1.981/1
Ed Hawkins P/L
To £10 level stakes (unless otherwise stated), based only on available prices. Does not include back-to-lay in-running match advice or commission rate.
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