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Australia suffered their worst ever defeat in the third ODI of the series and are now staring at a possible whitewash. Australia found themselves in a similar position back at home a few months ago when England toured them. They, however, registered the consolation win at Adelaide after they were defeated in Melbourne, Brisbane, and Sydney. The two teams will meet each other in a familiar two-days time at Chester-le-Street. Having already won the series, England might just make a couple of changes to their playing eleven which could give Australia an opening. That's the only ray of hope Australians could bank for, given the way things have gone in the series so far.
Given that England broke so many records, it will be difficult to single out a negative as far as their batting is concerned. From Jonny Bairstow to Eoin Morgan, everyone contributed well to take England to a record total.
The opening partnership between Jonny Bairstow and Jason Roy laid a solid foundation for a strong total. Although Australia managed to break the opening partnership with a piece of brilliance in the field, little did they know that the man to follow will also wreak havoc on their bowlers. Bairstow and Hales blasted 151 runs together with Bairstow leading the charge. Eoin Morgan smashed fastest ever fifty for England, in just 21 deliveries, bettering Jos Buttler's record of a fifty in 22 balls. Alex Hales and Eoin Morgan perished on consecutive deliveries for 147 and 67 respectively in a quest to reach the magical figure of 500.
Although the total as big as 481 required extraordinary stuff from the visitors, English bowlers made sure to make the task impossible. The boundaries which appeared small and track which look as flat as a road appeared to vanish when the Australians came into bat. Moeen Ali was the wrecker-in-chief as he picked the important wickets of Travis Head and Shaun Marsh with the overall figures of 3 for 28. Adil Rashid kept visitors in check in the middle overs and picked up Aaron Finch just when he was looking to tee-off. He wiped off the tail and picked up four wickets for 47.
For the fourth ODI, England have drafted Sam Curran and Craig Overton into the squad. England have a busy schedule ahead and we expect them to rest at least one of Liam Plunkett and David Willey, if not both. That, however, does not mean that England will be, in any way, a lesser team than what it was in the third ODI. Australia would still have to play out of their skins to beat England.
JJ Roy, Jonny Bairstow, AD Hales, JE Root, Eoin Morgan, Jos Buttler, Moeen Ali, David Willey, Craig Overton, AU Rashid, M Wood.
The list of vulnerabilities Australia have shown in this series is endless. To begin with, their bowling has been so single-dimensional that they've taken only one wicket with spin in the series so far. No batsman has looked settled on the crease with only three batsmen scoring more than fifty and they've had quite a few cases of misfields.
Aaron Finch has an outstanding record while playing as an opener for Australia, but he's being used as a middle-order batsman which is mind-boggling. Perhaps, it is the impact of Indian Premier League to some extent where he was played in the middle order. Unlike the English batsmen who seemed to hit boundaries at will, the Australian batsmen appeared to be working hard for it. Partly because of the scoreboard pressure, and partly due to the excellent bowling by English bowlers.
Australian bowlers, on the other hand, had their worst day in the field with no bowler having praiseworthy figures. Ashton Agar was their best bowler in the third ODI; he picked up the wicket of Bairstow and gave away only 70 runs in his ten. Spinners have done exceedingly well for England whereas, for Australia, they've picked up only one wicket combined. Nathan Lyon could be brought into the playing eleven on Friday.
It's a learning phase for Australia and it's a hard one. The five times World Champions are now struggling to find even a win on foreign soil. They still have the services of world class players in Aaron Finch, Shaun Marsh, and Glenn Maxwell, but they are lacking team-effort and confidence. While Australia can certainly bounce back at Chester-le-Street, it's going to take a miraculous effort from them.
TM Head, Aaron Finch, Shaun Marsh, Marcus Stoinis, Alex Carey, Tim Paine, Ashton Agar, Michael Neser, Jhye Richardson, Nathan Michael Lyon, Billy Stanlake.
Winning the toss and chasing proved to be an expensive affair for Australia in the third One Day International. Chester-le-Street isn't expected to be a high-scoring venue like Trent Bridge and may slow down as the game progresses, expect the teams to win the toss and bat first.
It's going to be an excellent day for Cricket as far as the weather forecast is concerned. It's expected to be a dry day with occasional spells of sunlight. Unlike Trent Bridge, we are not likely to see towering sixes and as free-flowing run-scoring here. The highest total scored here in Royal London One Day Cup was 299 and any score in that range will be more than par and difficult to chase down.
England need two more wins to rewrite history. If they're able to do that, they'll register their first whitewash in ODI Cricket since 2001. England haven't played at this venue since 2015, but their home record has been terrific since then. Australia, on the other hand, have won just one of their 17 away games. England has looked a stronger team in this series, both on paper and field, and they are favorites to win the fourth ODI as well.