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September 14, 2009
Match factsTuesday, September 15, 2009
The series is in the bag for Australia after a crushing seven-wicket victory at Lord's. Now they have their eyes on a whitewash, while England are left trying to save face and build a modicum of momentum ahead of the Champions Trophy. The teams now square up in the first of two day-night clashes at Trent Bridge as England's longest international season at home reaches its final week.
Throughout this series the atmosphere at the matches has been flat, not helped by a combination of England playing poor cricket and the come-down after an intense Ashes campaign. However, there was one passage of play at Lord's on Saturday that rose above the mediocrity as Brett Lee produced a thunderous display of pace bowling to blow away the lower order.
Lee, for one, has made the most of these one-day matches after missing the Ashes series and his 5 for 49 made a strong point about his form and fitness. While some players are longing for a break, Lee is desperate to keep going having faced a year on the sidelines.
England need someone to produce an inspirational performance to match Lee's, but it is difficult to see where it will come from. Apart from Andrew Strauss, the batsmen have suffered a collective loss of confidence and the bowlers haven't looked like blowing Australia away either.
Form guide(last five matches, most recent first)
England - LLLLW
Australia - WWWWW
Watch out for…
Callum Ferguson has quietly, but effectively, been going about his business during this series. He began with two crucial half-centuries and, in the following two matches, he has been at the crease to seal the run-chases. He has fitted into the middle-order role that used to belong to Michael Bevan and Michael Hussey, adept at pacing the closing stages of an innings. Already there is talk that he is a future captain, but in the short-term he is shaping as a key player for the Champions Trophy.
The pressure is growing on Owais Shah, who is one of the most experienced players remaining in the England line-up. Strauss needs someone to take the pressure off him and, after 64 ODIs, Shah should be taking control in the middle of the innings. However, he has struggled for form and appears low on confidence at the crease while finding a myriad of ways to be dismissed. Already he has trodden on his stumps and been involved in another run out. He wasn't happy at the full toss he pulled to midwicket at Lord's, standing his ground for a few moments, before being sent on his way. England want him to play a crucial role in the years to come, but Shah has to justify his place first.
Luke Wright suffered a toe injury when he was struck by the bowling machine during practice and is doubtful and Dimitri Mascarenhas has been called up as cover. Graham Onions could be in line for his ODI debut as England try to freshen up the team, or Graeme Swann is the other option depending on whether the conditions suit two spinners.
England (possible) 1 Andrew Strauss (capt), 2 Joe Denly, 3 Ravi Bopara, 4 Matt Prior (wk), Owais Shah, 6 Eoin Morgan, 7 Stuart Broad, 8 Adil Rashid, 9 Tim Bresnan, 10 Ryan Sidebottom, 11 Graham Onions.
Australia's one-day machine continues to run smoothly and the only reason to change would be to assess various options ahead of the Champions Trophy. James Hopes missed out at Lord's with Ricky Ponting returning, while Ben Hilfenhaus and Peter Siddle haven't played a game yet in the series.
Australia (probable) 1 Shane Watson, 2 Tim Paine (wk), 3 Ricky Ponting (capt), 4 Michael Clarke, 5 Callum Ferguson, 6 Michael Hussey, 7 Cameron White, 8 Mitchell Johnson, 9 Nathan Hauritz, 10 Brett Lee, 11 Nathan Bracken.
Pitch and conditions
It's a day-night game in the middle of September so batting first is likely to be the preferred option for both captains. However, the permanent floodlights at Trent Bridge are excellent and the forecast is also good, if slightly chilly as the autumn evenings continue to close in.
Stats and trivia
"We've been told our roles and we know our game plans, we're just not executing them. There's nothing really that the management or coaching staff can do - it's up to the players to take responsibility and perform."
Stuart Broad admits it is down to the players to turn England's fortunes around.
"Being part of this team, everyone has a specific job they've got to do and we all have to be doing our jobs if we're going to win and win well. We don't rely just on one player to make all the runs or to be the match-winner. We've all got to chip in and do our bit."
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