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England racked their fourth consecutive win after a surprise defeat against Scotland. They’ve been on a rampage and are breaking records like a walk in the park. Australia showed signs of improvement, but the improvement was too little. They have yet another opportunity to salvage a win and pride in what will be the fifth One Day International of the series. The final ODI will be played at Manchester which too is expected to be an excellent surface to bat on. With both sides having batsmen in prime form playing on flattest deck in the world, expect yet another high-scoring contest.
As Eoin Morgan said at the post-match conference at Chester-le-Street, this English team is playing at a different level altogether. Jason Roy has hit two centuries in the series and Jonny Bairstow has complimented him as well as anyone in the business. Jonny Bairstow has himself been in the sublime form which was validated by a brilliant hundred at Nottingham.
It’s not just the top-two who have been contributing for England. Alex Hales, Eoin Morgan, Joe Root, have been amongst the runs in the series. Alex Hales played a brutal knock of 147 at Nottingham where Eoin Morgan contributed with the fastest half-century ever for England. Joe Root has been one of the most consistent batsmen for England in both red-ball and white-ball Cricket. Building on his superb IPL form, Jos Buttler smashed a quick half-century in the fourth ODI to guide them home.
Their bowling appeared to be one-dimensional before the series started, especially after their defeat against Scotland. Their bowlers have, however, fared better than expected with Moeen Ali and Adil Rashid being the chief troublemakers for the Australians. David Willey picked up four wickets in the previous match which made the difference of at least twenty runs to the eventual Australian total.
With Indian challenge ahead, England may make a couple of changes to rest their key players. Having said that, it will be vital for them to go into the series against India with winning momentum. With batting lineup in superb form and bowlers bowling well on flat decks, a whitewash is certainly on the cards.
JJ Roy, Jonny Bairstow, AD Hales, JE Root, Eoin Morgan, Jos Buttler, Moeen Ali, AU Rashid, Sam Curran, LE Plunkett, Jake Ball.
After a six-wicket mauling at Chester-le-Street, the Australians have now lost 15 of their last 17 matches and are staring at a possible whitewash in the series. They are at least six players short with their bowling suffering the most. Their batting too hasn’t done particularly well in the series which is evident by the fact that they failed to bat their quota of fifty over three times out of four in the series.
Aaron Finch has scored the bulk of the runs for Australia while batting at the top and moving him to number five was beyond anyone’s understanding. Glenn Maxwell too was shifted a spot lower than his original batting position and the results haven’t been impressive. They could’ve been experimenting with ICC World Cup to be played at England next year, but even that doesn’t explain the reasons for so many permutations and combinations in the batting order.
Even in the last match, Alex Carey was picked up in the playing eleven as a specialist batsman, but he was sent below Ashton Agar who isn’t known for his batting. Australia have lacked the aggression they were once famous for. Their bowlers haven’t been attacking with Tim Paine resorting to defensive tactics more often than not. They picked Nathan Lyon in the fourth ODI but did not bowl him out despite reasonable bowling figures of 6-0-37-1 as compared to the other bowlers.
Overall, Australia have a whole lot of problems to address in the coming year prior to the ICC World Cup. Without Mitchell Starc and Josh Hazelwood, they only have Billy Stanlake who has clocked speeds above 145kmph consistently. While there is no doubt that this Australian squad is talented, the lack of experience and variety in their bowling is hurting them. A lot will depend on their bowlers going into the final ODI of the series and it would need magical effort from them to prevent a whitewash.
Aaron Finch, D'Arcy Short, TM Head, Shaun Marsh, Marcus Stoinis, Alex Carey, Tim Paine, Ashton Agar, Billy Stanlake, KW Richardson, Nathan Michael Lyon.
Manchester is expected to be yet another batting paradise on this tour. Expect the team winning the toss to bat first.
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It's going to be another day where batsmen will feast on a pitch conducive to playing big shots. The last ODI here was played in September last year when England chased down the total of 204 in just over thirty overs. A similar sort of surface is expected in this match as well where the par score will be in the range of 320-340.
We’ve come along a long way since the beginning of the series which has been an utter mismatch. England have played on another gear while Australia seemed to be stuck more often than not. With lots of problems including but not limited to single-dimensional bowling attack, irregular batting lineup, and defensive tactics, Australia are overwhelming favorites to be whitewashed on Sunday at Manchester. Back England to win the fifth and final One Day International as well.
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