Published On: Mon, Aug 29th, 2016

Confident England strive for more

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Match facts

August 30, Trent Bridge
Start time 1400 (1300GMT)

Play

01:31


‘You want to keep improving’ – Plunkett

Big picture

The results of the opening two matches of the series were rarely in doubt. Whenever England were under a modicum of pressure, for example when Sarfraz Ahmed has been at the crease or at 35 for 2 in the chase at Lord’s, they have had the depth and confidence to overcome Pakistan convincingly.

There will have to be a considerable reversal at Trent Bridge if the series is not to be decided after three matches. There is a chasm between the one-day cricket of these two teams far greater than the current rankings of five and nine would suggest. Pakistan can, at least, look at the middle order and see a few chinks of light. Sarfraz has performed superbly, Babar Azam appears to have a lot of time to play his shots and Imad Wasim is a versatile cricketer.

For England, they have rarely had it so good in the one-day game. That Jonny Bairstow can’t find a starting spot highlights their abundance of options. Eoin Morgan has shown signs of regaining his form, which would remove the only real potential for a distraction, while there are other reserves eagerly waiting for their chance.

However, they will want to be ruthless. The fielding has been a weak point in the opening two matches – notwithstanding Liam Plunkett’s fantastic grab at Lord’s – and England continue to be poor at hitting the stumps, despite having an urge to throw at them at any opportunity.

Form guide

(completed matches, most recent first)
England WWWWW
Pakistan LLWLL

In the spotlight

Do England stick or twist with Alex Hales? It has been a difficult couple of weeks for the opener who endured his worst match in an England shirt in the final Test at The Oval and has failed twice at the start of this series. Trevor Bayliss’ mantra is to give a player “one game too many than too few” but that, arguably, does not carry as much weight in this scenario because it is well known what Hales can do in one-day cricket. He looks a cricketer with a bit of scrambled mind at the moment.

Mickey Arthur has put his entire squad on notice, but made particular reference to those “over 30”. One of those, Mohammad Hafeez, is now out of the series so the spotlight turns to another in Shoaib Malik. He has twice made starts in this series without kicking on, although his numbers since his post-World Cup recall – 741 runs at 61.75 albeit boosted considerably by six matches against Zimbabwe – may buy him a little more time. His bowling, too, helps balance the side although he only sent down two overs at Lord’s.

Team news

Ben Stokes is available to bowl again after his calf injury which gives Morgan another frontline pace option. That suggests both spinners will keep their spots although Morgan is keen on a left-arm seamer so David Willey, who bowled two spells in the nets, will come into the equation. Hales’ form is a worry, but England’s winning form may work in his favour.

England (probable) 1 Alex Hales, 2 Jason Roy, 3 Joe Root, 4 Eoin Morgan (capt), 5 Ben Stokes, 6 Jos Buttler (wk), 7 Moeen Ali, 8 Chris Woakes, 9 Adil Rashid, 10 Liam Plunkett, 11 Mark Wood

Pakistan could juggle their pack again, but it’s debatable what difference it will make. Mohammad Irfan, the giant left-arm paceman, has replaced Hafeez in the squad.

Pakistan (possible) 1 Sami Aslam, 2 Sharjeel Khan, 3 Azhar Ali (capt), 4 Babar Azam, 5 Sarfraz Ahmed (wk), 6 Shoaib Malik, 7 Imad Wasim, 8 Wahab Riaz, 9 Hasan Ali, 10 Yasir Shah, 11 Mohammad Amir

Pitch and conditions

The forecast is for a warm, dry day so the decision at the toss will come down to whether the captain wants to chase or defend under lights. Trent Bridge is one of the most favourable grounds in England for swing bowling although recent matches have produced some astonishing batting: earlier this season England fought back for a tie against Sri Lanka and last year they chased down 350 against New Zealand with six overs to spare.

Stats and trivia

  • A few England batsmen are approaching milestones: Jason Roy needs 61 runs for 1000, Jos Buttler needs 18 for 2000 and Joe Root 107 for 3000

  • Root has four consecutive ODI half-centuries: the best run for England is five by Geoff Boycott, Graham Gooch, Alec Stewart, Jonathan Trott and Alex Hales.
  • Yasir Shah is struggling to make an impact in one-day cricket: in four matches against England he has taken 2 for 227 at an economy rate of 5.89
  • The two sides have met six times at Trent Bridge with the head-to-head standing at 3-3.

Quotes

“We need to improve, we feel we need to get a bit better, we all agree on that, and we’re still trying to take it up a notch.”
Liam Plunkett says there won’t be any slackening off from England

“Obviously we’re No. 9 in the world. But with the talent we’ve got, I don’t think it’s a No. 9 team. We have to show that in big matches like tomorrow. I believe we can come back.”
Imad Wasim sees potential in the Pakistan side

Andrew McGlashan is a deputy editor at ESPNcricinfo


©
ESPN Sports Media Ltd.






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