And welcome to our liveblog for the final — and deciding — ODI in this England vs Australia series. It has indeed been a strange summer but once things got going on the men’s international cricket front in early July, they never really stopped.
Unfortunately, however, the sound of international leather on international willow is about to cease… but thankfully not before we’ve got the hundred or so overs of this match out of the way. At least it’s not a dead rubber, eh?
What can we expect from this decider? A repeat of the second one would be good news for England, but I’m not sure it will be that easy. Our chief cricket writer Scyld Berry has a look into what we might get.
The third and last ODI, between the current and previous World Cup holders, is going to be staged on a fresh pitch. It is four strips away from the one on which both England and Australia have struggled to score whenever the bowling has been straight and of “a heavy length” so the batsman, whether on front or back foot, cannot throw his hands at the ball. Strange concoctions have been throw up by 22 yards of Mancunian turf this summer and last. If the bowling has been wayward, the pitches have yielded huge totals, like England’s 400 against Afghanistan in the World Cup. If the bowling has been accurate and “heavy”, any decent total has been hard to chase.First-innings totals of 294 and 231 in the first two internationals proved more than adequate. Even though the winning margins were only approximately 20 runs, the team chasing the target did not truly come close. It was the same in the World Cup semi-final at Old Trafford: New Zealand scraped together only 239, yet the target was too much for India’s batsmen against their expert seamers, by 19 runs.
Whatever happens, we’ll be here to take you through it all, right to the very bitter end. Game starts at 1pm, toss at 12.30.