England v Australia
Start tie: 14:00BST
TV: live on Sky Sports 2
England have a problem. But they knew that anyway because it was of their own making. Their bowling is not strong enough after they decided to rest Messrs Anderson, Broad and Swann. As a result their fears came true in Manchester when Australia racked up a record score. An attack of Steven Finn, Boyd Rankin, Ben Stokes, Ravi Bopara and James Tredwell were not up to speed. There is little England can do to remedy the situation. Stokes, who was wicketless and expensive, looks most vulnerable and could be replaced by Chris Jordan, who would make his debut. Otherwise Finn and Tredwell need to bowl with more discipline which is expected of senior players.
Michael Clarke's century and Mitchell Johnson's bowling were the highlights of Australia's first win since February. Clarke's 102-ball 105 confirmed his position as the classiest player on show. Yes, Aaron Finch and Shaun Marsh have eye-popping muscles which can get the crowd on their feet but Clarke can do that, too. And the subtle stuff as well. Johnson's two wickets and ten cheap overs were a blessing as rarely have Englishmen seen the best of the left-armer. He can bowl. The jury is still out on Fawad Ahmed, the legspinner. His figures of one for 55 off seven do not quite do him justice. He got biffed at the beginning and end. But in the middle he created scoreboard pressure which led to wickets.
Since 2010 there have been six ODIs played at Edgbaston and the average first-innings score during that period is 231. It should be noted, however, that one of those was the 20-over bash between England and India in the Champions Trophy final. Of course in that competition England and Australia met at the venue in the opening match. England won by 48 runs after they posted 269. England's batting is good enough to post such a competitive total again but, unsurprisingly, we feel more confident about Australia. Or should that be less confident about England's bowling. Going for 250 or more at about 1.75/7 might be the soundest advice.
The most important thing to consider for match three is the weather forecast. It is cloudy for the first half but we don't expect rain to turn up until 19.00, interrupting the second innings. That is crucial. It means that the side batting second could have an advantage. Either they will know how many runs they will need by a certain point to be ahead by the D-L Method, or they will have a reduced target. As we have said many times before, it is easier to chase at, say, 6.5 an over, for 35 overs than 50. That is enough to negate a suggestion that chasing is not easy in Birmingham. Three times in four day-night encounters the team batting first have won. Australia are 1.774/5 favourites with England 2.285/4. We expect England to trade as jollies - they did albeit very briefly in Manchester - and a more solid performance and the weather uncertainty will help traders. Don't bet before the toss, though.
Top England Batsman
Ravi Bopara thrashed 46 from 37 balls in the previous meeting on this ground and may catch the eye at around 8.07/1. Bopara has 170 runs at an average of 85 in the last five years there. Jonathan Trott, on his home ground, has 173 at 57.
Top Australia Batsman
George Bailey and James Faulkner both hit half-centuries in the Champions Trophy encounter. Bailey also hit a 50 on the washed-out match against New Zealand. His 82 from 67 balls at Old Trafford suggests he is in good nick, too. Bailey will go off at big odds - probably 7.006/1 - with Finch, Marsh and Clarke taking up a large percentage of the book.
Back George Bailey Top Australia Batsman at 7.06/1 or better
Back Ravi Bopara top England Batsman at 8.07/1 or better