England v New Zealand 3rd ODI preview
‘Form is temporary, class is permanent’ is a phrase we hear often in sport and certainly both bookies and punters take the ‘form is temporary’ bit seriously, judging by reaction, or rather lack of it, to the first two England-New Zealand ODIs over the past week.
Let’s be honest, the Kiwis have hammered England on both occasions, outplayed them, looked a class above on occasions. Winning by five wickets with overs to spare and then by 86 runs after smashing a record-breaking 359 at more than seven runs per over is as about as commanding as it gets at this level.
And yet England remain the class act, according to the layers, who unanimously make the home side clear favourites to win the final ODI at Trent Bridge on Wednesday (Coral go 8/13).
What is more, New Zealand, despite looking such a good one-day side at both Lord’s and Southampton, are still the outsiders of eight (Coral 10/1) for the Champions Trophy, which gets under way on Thursday, while England remain 9/2 second favourites, despite seemingly losing their way.
Clearly, most people think that Alastair Cook’s boys will come good again, but just switching it back on again is not that simple and it may be that some emergency surgery is needed to revive this suddenly ailing English patient.
The main reason for England’s dip in form has been the injuries to Stuart Broad and Steve Finn and the key to recovery is their recuperation. The England camp have long been able to boast of strong back-up in the bowling department, but Chris Woakes has been ineffective in this series so far, while the woefully expensive Jade Dernbach has been a liability.
Time perhaps, if Broad and Finn aren’t ready to return, to recall Graham Onions or Chris Tremlett, both proven at top level and in the wickets for their counties over the past week. Time also maybe to bring back wicketkeeper Matt Prior, a class act both with the bat and behind the stumps.
Much will depend on the side England put out on Wednesday – and they might also be thinking of experimenting ahead of the Champions Trophy – but logic dictates that the cock-a-hoop Black Caps are good value at Coral’s 5/4 to make it a clean sweep.
Martin Guptill had a bit of luck at Southampton when Jonathan Trott dropped him on 13, but nevertheless his confidence will be sky high following his magnificent unbeaten 189 and this after this talented and uncomplicated opener also carried his bat for 103 at Lord’s.
But Guptill can still be backed at 3/1 with Coral to be New Zealand’s top scorer at Trent Bridge, while Trott, also fresh from an unbeaten century, is 7/2 to make most runs for England.