Daijiworld Media Network
London, Aug 31: Hello and welcome to the third One-day International between England and Australia here at London.
England (From): Alastair Cook(c), Ian Bell, Jonathan Trott, Ravi Bopara, Eoin Morgan, Craig Kieswetter(w), Samit Patel, Tim Bresnan, Graeme Swann, James Anderson, Steven Finn, Jonathan Bairstow, Jade Dernbach, Chris Woakes
South Africa (From): Graeme Smith, Hashim Amla, Jean-Paul Duminy, Dean Elgar, AB de Villiers(w/c), Faf du Plessis, Wayne Parnell, Ryan McLaren, Robin Peterson, Albie Morkel, Lonwabo Tsotsobe, Imran Tahir, Morne Morkel, Dale Steyn, Justin Ontong
Snatching the number one position from England seems to have become South Africa's hobby these days. After taking the top spot in Tests, the Proteas have done the same in One Day Internationals. Becoming number one isn't the real challenge though, holding on to that spot is. If South Africa lose to England in the upcoming 3rd ODI then they would lose that number one spot. So thin is the line that separates these two sides.
England will be well aware of the possibility of reclaiming that number one position and their captain Alastair Cook might just show some added zeal after being named the Test captain. The biggest problem for the hosts in this entire series has been Hashim Amla, and they will need to come up with a plan for him.
England: The hosts need to sort out their bowling and they need to do it with utmost haste. In the previous encounter James Anderson went wicketless in the nine overs that he bowled. Tim Bresnan picked up a wicket but was a little too expensive as he went for 7.60 in his eight overs. Graeme Swann was the pick of the bowlers with two wickets to his name, but what England needs at the moment is for the bowling line up to take wickets collectively. That task might just get a little tougher with Swann being rested for the remaining part of this series. Getting through the opposition's batsmen was a major problem for the English during the Test series and that trend seems to have crept in to the ODI series as well. James Tredwell has been included to the squad and he will most probably be asked to play in place of Swann.
Whether England like it or not, they certainly did miss Kevin Pietersen in the 2nd ODI. The middle order does seem to possess less of a threat without KP and Ravi Bopara coming back after a long break doesn't seem to be helping the hosts either. England used Bopara's services with the ball for a mere three overs. If the hosts don't want much bowling from Bopara then perhaps it might make a little more sense to go in with an in form Jonny Bairstow.
South Africa: Hashim Amla has been the stand out performer for the visitors and the fact that he bats right at the top enables him to lay a solid foundation for the rest of the side. While the openers look fine, the middle order looks a little suspect though. The highest score in that section in the last match came from AB de Villiers, that score being just as much as 28 runs. The skipper will be hoping that he puts in a better performance next time and he will want the rest of the batsmen to step up as well.
As far as the bowling goes, everything seems to be working quite perfectly on this tour for the Proteas. Morne Morkel was the leader of the pack last time around and if Dale Steyn is continued to be given some time off, then the current scenario might just stay. Wayne Parnell has stepped up to the challenge of filling for Steyn but Lonwabo Tsotsobe seems to be the only weak link in the bowling line up so far. The side might in all likelihood go in unchanged for this encounter.
Weather: Rain was a problem during the 1st ODI between these two sides, and it resulted in the game being called off. The weather seems to be perfect though, for the 3rd ODI as the conditions are going to be bright and sunny on the 31st of August in London.
Final Word: South Africa have looked to be the better side throughout this tour. England seem to lack some spunk in the bowling department and have already failed to capitalize on the absence of Steyn. There is no second guessing then, that the Proteas go in to this game as the favourites.