England given big chance to avoid another cricket whitewash
If England’s humiliation wasn’t bad enough already, the Aussies have now decided to use the remainder of the ODI series to rest up a few of their star players and give some of the second string a go.
The Baggy Greens would still dearly love to complete a second whitewash over the tourists (evens with Coral), but their selectors are confident, some might say cocky, enough to let the likes of David Warner, Shane Watson, Brad Haddin and captain Michael Clarke put their feet up at the WACA tomorrow.
George Bailey and Steve Smith are not exactly lightweight replacements, but it won’t be the same Australia without Brad Haddin behind the stumps, while the retained Dan Christian, although dismissing both Eoin Morgan and Jos Buttler in Sydney, is no superstar either.
Matthew Wade is a capable replacement for Haddin behind the stumps, but he doesn’t possess the same clout with the bat, having averaged less than 22 in 36 ODI games to date at a strike rate at less than 70.
All-rounder Christian may be an unfamiliar name to many, but he’s no spring chicken and no great shakes, judging by his record with bat (20.83) and ball (roughly a wicket a game and an economy rate of just under five per over).
The Aussies will still be a strong unit in Perth, but nothing like as formidable as they could have been and surely this is the chance for England to at last get that first victory under their belts – Coral go 7/4.
We know that Morgan (4/1 to be highest scorer for England), Gary Ballance (5/1) and Buttler (9/1) can produce match-winning innings if they are given a solid platform to go for their shots by those higher up the order.
What England also need is a hot spell from their main man with the ball, Stuart Broad (3/1 to take most wickets), and proper back-up from the rest of a bowling attack, which has underperformed so often this winter.
Aaron Finch and Shaun Marsh.(both 7/2 to top score for the Aussies) will quite likely get the Aussies off to a flyer and Coral’s 1/2 that the home side make more runs than England in the first 15 overs looks tempting.
But if England aren’t completely demoralised and manage to reproduce some of the cricket which took them so heartbreakingly close to victory at Brisbane in the 2nd ODI, then this may well be the moment when they finally have something to celebrate Down Under.
And once that monkey is off their back, who knows? – Coral’s 13/2 the series finishes 3-2 is also worth a second look.