You don’t need a weatherman to know which way the wind blows, but it would be helpful to pay attention to the forecast when writing for a cricket website in 2012. Due to the jetstream dumping its water content on Birmingham, there was no play in the third ODI, no 51allout review of the day and no outlook for the fourth game either.
So this morning we drew back the curtains and held our breath; we’re still not certain how much cricket may be played up in Chester-le-Street today, but a preview of sorts seems appropriate, the weather notwithstanding.
The main story is that Graeme Swann’s elbow injury causes him to miss the final two ODIs, with James Tredwell the likely man to replace him as the sole spinner. Whenever Tredwell is selected for England there is often laughter, derision or anguish amongst the 51allout team, but in truth he’s rarely let England down when called upon. It’s just that it’s not exactly a dynamic selection, particularly when there are a group of young spinners who have been in and around the Performance Squad and the Lions for a while now.
Although Chris Woakes may have a chance of playing if one of the seamers is rested, the absence of Swann probably reduces the likelihood of this happening. Otherwise, batting-wise, England should be unchanged.
Australia may tinker again as they try to find a team that bats long enough but also poses a consistent threat with the ball. We’re not going to risk making ourselves look even more silly than we already do by trying to guess their line-up, but the lack of play on Wednesday might have helped keep their attack fit. There are rumours that James Pattinson and/or Ben Hilfenhaus may play part of a four-man pace attack (in place of Mitchell Johnson), and if Australia can find a way to break through the English top order quickly, then they’ll at last have a chance of putting pressure on Eoin Morgan, Craig Kieswetter and the lower order.
A hard rain’s gonna fall.