The Aussies are 2-0 up and would dearly love to wrap up the series before Ricky
Ponting even comes back to the side in order to allow him a perfect return
gift. But for that, they will need to win two games in a row, including one on
Wednesday at Southampton, to go up 4-0 and clinch the series.
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England had enough chances in both the games to win the tie, but only managed
to stuff up the run-chase in the end. In fact, in the second ODI, they also
had a chance to wrap up the Aussie innings on a score much lower than 249/8
after the visitors had collapsed to 208/8 with only 26 balls to spare when man-of-the-match
Mitchell Johnson swung the match in their favour by smashing 43 off 23
The English side will have to put their thinking cap on and check where they
are going wrong. For starters, their batting order needs some firepower at the
start, and Ravi Bopara struggle is taking away some precious balls in
the opening powerplays. Instead, if someone like a Matt Prior could open
the innings for the English side, it could help them into getting a quick start.
The bowling is another worry for the hosts, but that is more to do with some
surprising selections and bowling changes. For some reason, the English side
decided to do away with the bowling of Adil Rashid, who had shone in
the first game with his economical bowling, and instead had a batsman coming
into the side - a clear indication of how less confident the English side is
about their batting. But even as Graeme Swann has looked like their most
economical bowler, for the second game in a row, he was afforded only eight
of his full quota of ten overs! He had conceded only 31 in his eight.
The Aussies, on the other hand, look like a confident lot. Tim Paine may have
struggled at the top, but he will be given another go, while Cameron White
continues to shine with the bat. Callum Ferguson is Australia's next
big star with another fifty being scored by him, and with the rest of them all
chipping in with the runs, it does look like the top order does not need too
much more in terms of ammunition.
Brett Lee's return to form so quickly, and Johnson's man-of-the-match performance
will hold the Aussies in good stead for the third ODI, and unless the English
side can come up with something extraordinarily special, the Aussies could just
end up stream-rolling the opposition. Flintoff and Pietersen's absence continues