Ed Hawkins previews the dead rubber from the Ageas Bowl on Tuesday with England's batters fluent and fallible
"Ireland would have much preferred staying on the strip the first two matches were played on with a wear and tear making it more sluggish. Something flatter and quicker is unlikely to suit"
England v Ireland
Tuesday 4 August, 14:00
Live on Sky Sports
England have an unassailable 2-0 lead in the three-game series but their performance in game two was less impressive than game one.
If in the first match they barely broke a sweat, on Saturday there were beads of worry forming on the brow. For a start, Ireland were allowed to recover from 91 for six to post 212. And had there been a bit more stodge in the pitch, England might have not made their way back from a perilous 137 for six.
They were indebted to Jonny Bairstow's 82 from 41 and a cool seventh-wicket partnership between Sam Billings (46) and David Willey (47). Billings and Willey have grasped their chance with both hands.
One man who hasn't is James Vince and he must surely make way after another failure. Liam Livingstone deserves a chance. England are also finding out about Saqib Mahmood. He is likely to be disappointed with an economy rate of five considering Ireland were under the pump.
Possible XI Roy, Bairstow, Banton, Billings, Livingstone, Morgan, Ali, Rashid, Willey, Topley, Mahmood
Ireland will be ruing a missed opportunity. Had they batted better and found another 50 or 60 runs they could have been close to a famous win against their neighbours.
As it is they are playing for pride and putting pressure on their top order. It is no secret where the Irish have been let down. In games one and two their top six have contributed 49 and 79 respectively. It's a hopeless return even allowing for the gulf in ability.
Paul Stirling, Andrew Balbirnie and Kevin O'Brien have got to do more to help out the inexperienced Harry Tector, Gareth Delany and Lorcan Tucker.
Still, every cloud. Without that brittleness they may have taken longer to work out they have a star man. Curtis Campher, a South African import, has top scored twice and looks a cut above. Expect a promotion up the order.
Possible XI P Stirling, G Delaney, A Balbirnie, H Tector, C Campher , K O'Brien, L Tucker, S Singh, A McBrine, C Young, B Rankin
Balbirnie, the Irish captain, has said this will be a "new pitch", which is not good news for his side. Ireland would have much preferred staying on the strip the first two matches were played on with a wear and tear making it more sluggish. Something flatter and quicker is unlikely to suit.
If England were to bat first for the first time in the series, they will target a minimum of 350. Previously the Ageas Bowl has suited that mindset but in the World Cup last year scores were sluggish - the average score was 231.
Still, it's best not to get too bogged down in that data. Even chasing, England have been fluent. Their run rates in both innings were 6.2 and 6.75.
The current 50-overs run line overs is set up for England batting first with 328.5 at [2.0]. Another ten (maybe more) could be added on after the toss. It doesn't seem a risky wager, particularly as the skies are clear and the sun is out.
England keep getting shorter and although wickets have been thrown away, it has all been in pursuit of quick runs. From 1/9 at the start of the series with Betfair Sportsbook they are now 1/20.
Ireland's best chance of a win was a third chance to defend a target on a strip which had been used for the first two matches. But that has gone and we're not inclined to recommend a trade at chunky odds of [12.50].
Roy the boy?
Bairstow's blitz was a masterclass in clean, disciplined hitting. There was not a hoik among his brutal innings. No surprise, then, that he is favourite for man of the match at 9/2 (Sportsbook) although be aware that back-to-back player goings are rare. Jason Roy, therefore, might be about to explode. He is nothing if inconsistent and two failures will put Ireland on red alert. He is 6/1.
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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
Back England over 330.5 runs bat first at [2.0] (2pts)