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Thursday, 13 December, 2018

Big scores needed for England to seal series

Aussie skipper Steve Smith could return to top form at the SCG

Australia captain Steve Smith (right) needs to lead from the front in Sydney
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Third ODI
BT Sport 1, 3.20am Saturday

Australia's selectors had a highly satisfying Ashes series but they are struggling to strike the right balance in the one-day team to face England.

The Aussies trail 2-0 in the five-match series and England, having aced their run-chases in Melbourne and Brisbane, are slight outsiders to seal the series in Sydney.

Hills were so taken with England’s displays that they cut them from 7-2 to 11-4 to win the 2019 World Cup, which takes place in England and Wales.

Australia batted first in Friday’s second ODI but their innings petered out as they mustered just 57-5 off the final ten overs.

Their middle-order weakness and lack of spin-bowling options made Glenn Maxwell’s absence even more puzzling while England read conditions shrewdly and off-spinners Moeen Ali and Joe Root had combined figures of 3-62 off 14 overs.

England showcased their batting depth once again with Jonny Bairstow (60), Alex Hales (57) and Jos Buttler (42) making useful contributions before Root (46 not out) and Chris Woakes (39 not out) saw them home.

Something more sizeable is likely to be need at the SCG, where Australia’s star batsmen David Warner and Steve Smith have filled their boots in recent one-day internationals.

The pair failed to sparkle in the first two ODIs – Aaron Finch has made back-to-back hundreds in losing causes – but they have two centuries apiece in Australia’s last four SCG one-dayers and England may not keep them quiet again.

Smith was run out for a duck batting at number eight against England in a 2011 ODI at the SCG but his subsequent scores at the venue have been 67, 37, 72, 105, 28, 164 and 49.

With the series on the line, Australia’s top three will be determined to go big and bet365’s line of 109.5 about the highest individual score could be too low.

Eoin Morgan (121) and Warner (127) eclipsed that mark when the teams met in Sydney three years ago and since then there have been nine tons and a 99 in Australia’s five ODIs at the venue.

The probable top seven in England’s batting line-up have all made ODI scores of 120-plus in the last three years and Jason Roy (180) broke Hales’s national record score of 171 in the first ODI in Melbourne.

Australia could recall Pat Cummins and Josh Hazlewood to pep up their bowling attack but batsmen may still dominate at the SCG.

Highest individual score over 109.5
3pts 5-6 bet365
S Smith top Australia runscorer
1pt 16-5 BetBright

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The probable top seven in England’s batting line-up have all made ODI scores of 120-plus in the last three years
E.W. Terms
Sky bet