Venue – Manuka Oval, Canberra
Date: Tuesday, October 12
By The Numbers
The total number of matches in this tour, albeit split slightly weirdly. The three T20Is are being played over six days before the T20 World Cup hosted in Australia. There is then a gap of over a month while that World Cup is played before England concludes their tour with three ODIs beginning in mid-November. The white ball specialists will be more than a little burned out by the end of this one.
The number of runs England won the first match in this series by on Saturday. The hosts won the toss and elected to field before England scored 208 runs in their 20 innings. Alex Hales was 84 from 51 balls, and he played some masterful strokes that suggest his form is heading in the right direction with the World Cup mere days away. Australia saw David Warner put up a solid knock of 73 from 44 balls, but his supporting cast fell apart as the hosts finished on 200/9, eight runs short of their target.
The number of runs the two teams combined for in that exciting T20I in Perth. It shows that both are in great form with the bat – though maybe the bowling/fielding could be better – as England and Australia combined to score the second most runs ever in a match in Australia.
Australia gets back some of their big guns as both squads rotate to keep players fresh and fit ahead of the WC. The likes of Mitchell Starc, Josh Hazlewood, Adam Zampa, and Pat Cummins could all be back. Aaron Finch will also resume his usual partnership with Warner at the top of the order in a move that sees the exciting Cameron Green make way. The Aussie depth is impressive enough that Green will likely not make the squad for the tournament despite his excellent form over the last few months.
While some of the bowling might not have been up to standard, the same cannot be said of Mark Wood. His ability to bowl with pace rarely seen in international cricket will likely be the difference for England if they make a run at the World Cup. Wood took three wickets in 10 balls at one point in the 1st T20I and will look to do the same here. The other great news for England was the return to form of Jos Buttler after a long period out with a calf injury. There were concerns about his ability to be back to his best immediately on his return, but the signs were good here.
Having said that, don’t expect Wood to feature on Tuesday. He played just two times in England’s seven-match series with Pakistan, and more rest seems likely.
This venue has the best economy rate in Australia (7.30), so another slugfest seems unlikely. England is an exciting team to watch out for at this World Cup – they have enough stars in the right places to be a factor – but Australia should win this at 9/10 with BetXchange to level the series with their best players in the team.