The third ODI between England and Australia at Old Trafford on Tuesday promises to be an ill-tempered affair, taking place in the wake of the controversy surrounding Ben Stokes’ dismissal in the second ODI along with the added bite that comes with it being a potential series decider.
Australia lead the series 2-0 after claiming relatively comfortable 59 and 64-run wins in the first two ODIs, and the visitors can clinch the series with another such performance in Manchester.
Considering the importance of the next match, both sides have made a number of changes to their squad personnel; some of them enforced, others voluntary.
England have called up Yorkshire glovesman Jonny Bairstow to replace Jos Buttler behind the stumps for the remainder of the series.
With one eye on the upcoming series against Pakistan in the UAE and the other on Buttler’s increasingly tired looking performances in the first two ODIs, the hosts have decided to give him a rest. “It has become clear in the last couple of days that Jos will benefit from a break from cricket ahead of the winter tours,” England coach Trevor Bayliss told reporters on Sunday. “While we initially felt Jos would have enough left in the tank, rest is key and Jos has had a heavy workload throughout 2015.”
Australia, on the other hand, have had to make a slew of changes due to injuries. Shane Watson and Nathan Coulter-Nile both follow David Warner onto the treatment table, with the trio suffering series-ending injuries.
All-rounder John Hastings makes a return to the international fold after a lengthy gap and may feature in his first ODI since 2011 as Watson’s replacement. Rookie wicketkeeper batsman Peter Handscomb has also been called up but is unlikely to feature, especially considering Matthew Wade’s man of the match performance last time around.
Handscomb, Hastings and Finch — all part of state side Victoria back home — were in England, which played a part in their call-ups. “We’re disappointed to lose players of such calibre but we have quality replacements on hand,” said Australia coach Darren Lehmann.
“We looked at all options including the possibility of flying in cover from Australia, but the fact that all three of the players we have drafted in are already in England means they can join us at short notice, be acclimatised to conditions and be available for selection immediately, if required.”
Published in The Express Tribune, September 8th, 2015.
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