Australia are 2-0 up in the five game series after winning at Southampton and Lords. Batting first on each occasion they scored just over 300 each time and England fell 50-60 runs short in each chase

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England to win 11/8 Skybet

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On true pitches that are good for batting, the side bowling first really need early wickets when the white ball swings to put pressure on the batting side, otherwise scores of 300 plus are inevitable. As such there is quite a toss bias on the outcome of these games, albeit England inserted Australia at Lords in what should have been helpful bowling conditions

So at Old Trafford, which is usually another excellent batting pitch, the onus is on whichever combination of Finn, Woakes (who has not taken a wicket now in 5 ODIs), Plunkett and Wood take the early overs to make inroads. It is especially surprising that David Willey, a renowned bowler with the new white ball, has not been selected for either of the first two games

All that said, there is not much between these two teams and England’s batting order is quite capable itself of compiling competitive targets batting first, which is easier without the scoreboard pressure of chasing a big score

England have called up Jonny Bairstow as wicket-keeper batsman to replace the out of form Jos Buttler for the last three games of the series

For the Old Trafford match Australia have problems of their own. Destructive opener and vice-captain David Warner is ruled out of the series with a broken thumb, Shane Watson and Nathan Coulter-Nile are out too with Handscomb and Hastings called up into the squad.

This puts more pressure on the batting line up, particularly the prolific Steve Smith than it does on the bowling line up where Starc and Cummins, supported by Marsh are performing better than the England line-up

The best outright prices for the game are Australia 4/6 (SportingBet) and England 11/8 (SkyBet). England look an attractive price, but it might be very toss-dependent

In sub-markets:

Top Australian Batsman:

Steve Smith is once again favourite, at 11/4 with BetVictor and Ladbrokes, and is the leading Australian batsman after two games with 114 runs ahead of Wade and Marsh who have scored well at the back end of the innings

Top Australian bowler

Cummins has 6 wickets in the first two games at a strike rate of 18, and no other bowler has more than three wickets. On good pitches his extra pace causes problems for the batsmen that no other bowler in the Australian line up currently does

He is currently priced 3/1 third favourite behind Mitchell Starc at 11/4, both with William Hill

Top England Batsman

 This is a very close market. There are four 4/1 co-favourites with Coral: Alex Hales, Eoin Morgan, Jason Roy and James Taylor. Hales with 40 runs in two games is priced on potential when opening the batting whereas Morgan (123 runs in two games) Roy (98 runs in two games) and Taylor (92 runs in two games) have better form so far this series. There are technical doubts about Roy and Taylor, Morgan is the safest option

Moeen Ali, so impressive at number three in the T20 International, is wasted batting at 7 and his 12-1 quote with Ladbrokes reflects this. Bairstow,a dangerous hitter at 5-6, is priced at 8-1 at Ladbrokes, a very lively outsider.

Top England bowler

 This is another very close market, reflecting that no player has managed to pull away from the other bowlers via performances in the first two games. The big uncertainty is selection

Ladbrokes have installed Finn and Stokes as 7/2 joint favourites, probably because they are very likely to play over anything else. Woakes, Willey, Wood and Rashid are all 4-1

Recommendations

England to win 11/8 Skybet

Pat Cummins top Australia bowler 3/1 William Hill