England v Australia
Tuesday 8 September 18:00
TV: Sky Sports

Buttler out

Jos Buttler has left the England camp to spend time with his family after weeks in the bubble. That opens the door for Tam Banton to bat in his natural opening berth.

Banton, of course, will be well-known to Australia because of his time in the Big Bash. Although the Aussies may be relieved Buttler, man of the match in game two, is absent Banton and Bairstow still form a formidable pair.

With Banton moving up Sam Billings could return in a finishing role. England are most excited, however by the pace axis of Archer and Wood. Eoin Morgan is a doubt with a finger injury. The skipper’s place could go to Joe Denly, who should bat at No 4.

Possible XI Bairstow, Banton, Malan, Denly, Moeen, Billings, T Curran, Jordan, Rashid, Archer, Wood

Australia could make changes

With the series gone is it worth Australia giving time to fringe players ahead of the ODI series? Aaron Finch and David Warner have both had a hit so they might consider an opening berth for Josh Philippe.

Philippe could also slot in down the order, taking the gloves from Alex Carey who is not making the strides many would have hoped. Australia’s insistence on batting Marcus Stoinis out of position is expected to continue.

Ever keen to rest Pat Cummins and Mitchell Starc, two from Josh Hazlewood, Daniel Sams and AJ Tye might get a run out, too. Mitchell Marsh could strengthen the batting with Adam Zampa vulnerable after two poor games.

Possible XI Warner, Finch, Smith, Stoinis, Maxwell, Marsh, Phillipe, Agar, Sams, Hazlewood, Richardson

Head-to-heads

2020 Eng 158-4 (Buttler 77*) chased Aus 157-7 (Finch 40, Jordan 2-40)
162-7 (Malan 66, Maxwell 2-14) defended Aus 160-7 (Warner 58, Rashid 2-29)
2018 Eng 221-5 (Buttler 61) defended Aus 193 (Finch 84, Ra-shid 3-27)
Aus 138-3 (Maxwell 39, Jordan 2-26) chased Eng (But-tler 46, K Richardson 3-33)
Aus 161-5 (Maxwell 103*) chased Eng 155-9 (Malan 50, Maxwell 3-10)
Overall Eng 7 Aus 9

Pitch report

Australia and England have looked like they are batting on different surfaces when having first use. England got bogged down in game one before an extraordinary comeback. Then Australia struggled for fluency. It looks a decent wicket for the chaser, though, and only Australia’s lack of confidence in their hitting ability cost them in the first game. A good wicket for both batters and bowlers.

The scores from the last two year’s domestic T20 are relevant. With 1-2 denoting match won by the team batting first or second (most recent first) they read: 153-2/139-tie/202-1/128-1/145-2/144-2/129-2/139-1/184-1/158-2/168-1. That is an average of 153. There is no toss bias.

England underrated

The loss of Buttler is a blow for England. But it’s minor. It helps them to sort their balance. Banton at No 4 or No 5 weakened them because he is not a finisher. Now he is in his best position it gives England the chance to play a proper finisher, like Billings. Banton has the ability to be as destructive as Buttler.

From ball one we have said that Australia’s lack of aggression and their muddled thinking with their batting order will cost them and we have seen nothing to change our mind.

Bizarrely, the match odds market makes Australia favourites at [1.92]. We cannot have that at all. England should win, particularly if they chase. Even bigger than 2.08 could be available in-play. No rain is forecast.

Tops value

Banton has had his top England bat price boosted fom 3/1 to 7/2 with Sportsbook. Finch likewise for Australia from 9/4 to 11/4. Warner is 13/5 Dawid Malan, Mr Consistent, takes a cut to 7/2. We may look back on the days of 4/1 and 5/1 with wet eyes. His Aussie equivalent in terms of win rate is Glenn Maxwell, who is pushed out to 11/2.





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