Australia out to give England one last kick before waving them goodbye
That’s almost that. Whitewashed in the Ashes, leathered in the ODIs and tonked in the Twenty20s. Graeme Swann, Jonathan Trott and Steven Finn all gone home early. Coach Andy Flower finished. Can it get any worse for England?
Well it can a bit if Australia win the final Twenty20 at Sydney on Sunday morning to complete another whitewash, but you get the impression the England players are almost past caring now – they just want to get on that plane and fly home.
Coral bet 4/6 that the Aussies wrap it up 3-0 (England 6/5) and they were so dominant in the second game at the MCG that it is quite hard to imagine the tourists suddenly upping their game to salvage a fairly meaningless morsel just when they want the whole horrible experience to come to an end.
But of course captain Stuart Broad will be doing his best to rally the troops and in turn the players are professionals, who will not just be playing for their pride, but also for a squad place for the Twenty20 World Cup, which kicks off on March 16th in Bangladesh.
England have slipped down to eighth in the T20 world rankings and can now be backed at 8/1 with Coral for the World Cup behind favourites India (4/1), Australia (9/2) and top-ranked Sri Lanka (11/2).
Australia are only just ahead of England in sixth in terms of rankings, but they are the team on the up and will definitely be fancying their chances after such a confidence-boosting winter in all forms of the game.
They brought back 39-year-old Brad Hodge after a six-year absence, but didn’t even need his services with the bat in Melbourne as Cameron White and captain George Bailey did the honours, chasing down England’s meagre 130 after Aaron Finch and Glen Maxwell had gone cheaply.
The young legspinner James Muirhead looks a real find – he’s 7/2 with Coral to be top Australian bowler in Sydney after returning impressive figures of 1-17 off his four overs at the MCG – and we have to remember that the Baggy Greens also have several big names resting up and due back when they’re really needed.
For England, there are few crumbs of comfort. Ben Stokes has been a real find, but hasn’t featured in these Twenty20s so far.
It was good, though, to see Tim Bresnan (1-11 off three overs) bowling like his old self again; he’s 7/2 to again be England’s best bowler.
Jade Dernbach is on 9/2, but he will have to perform a lot better than he did in Melbourne (0-42 off three) – if indeed he is given the chance.
Dernbach can be a matchwinner on his day, but he can also be a real liability when he gets it wrong and the Aussie batsmen certainly seemed to have his number at the G.