Australia at their lowest in 34 years and other talking points ahead of third ODI against England

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Australia's ODI form is a huge form of concern.

Australia have it all to do when they square up against hosts England in the third of the five-match ODI series in Nottingham on Tuesday.

Already down 2-0 in the series after defeats at the Oval and Cardiff, Tim Paine and his new look Australia side will need to win at any cost at Trent Bridge if they are to keep the series against their arch-rivals alive.

Here, we take a look at the key talking points ahead of what should be another humdinger.

BUTTLER IN LINE TO LEAD ENGLAND AGAIN

It has been a dream past few months for England’s Jos Buttler. The wicketkeeper-batsman had an outstanding IPL with Rajasthan Royals where he equaled Virender Sehwag’s record of five consecutive half-centuries. That form led to a Test recall for Buttler after more than two years as he donned the England whites in the series against Pakistan.

There too, he justified the faith shown in him by chief selector Ed Smith with a match-winning knock of 80 in the second Test at Headingley to help England tie the series at 1-1. He was given the England captaincy in the second ODI at Cardiff on Saturday after Eoin Morgan suffered a back spasm and he led from the front with an unbeaten 91 off just 70 balls.

With no updates on Morgan’s injury, Buttler could don the captain’s hat once again. He has already spoken about how he relished his captaincy stint on Saturday and he will no doubt be up for it on Tuesday should the chance arrive.

Buttler is relishing the England ODI captaincy.

Buttler is relishing the England ODI captaincy.

AUSTRALIA SWEAT OVER STANLAKE’S FITNESS

Justin Langer and his new look Australia ODI squad arrived in England sans their main pace trio of Mitchell Starc, Pat Cummins and Josh Hazlewood. With options in the pace battery dwindling, things went from bad to worse for Australia in the second ODI as Billy Stanlake was ruled out with a toe laceration he suffered in the first match.

The express pacer had given the hosts’ batsmen plenty of trouble at the Oval with his speed and bounce and looked to be the most dangerous of Australia’s bowlers. His absence was greatly felt at Cardiff as England’s batsmen amassed a huge total which proved to be too much for the visitors in the end.

The Australian camp is desperately hoping that Stanlake recovers in time for Tuesday’s crunch clash.

Australia will be hoping Stanlake can recover quickly.

Australia will be hoping Stanlake can recover quickly.

AUSTRALIA AT THEIR LOWEST IN 34 YEARS

The Aussies arrive in Nottingham at their lowest point in 34 years. In the latest ODI rankings released by the ICC on Sunday, the record five-time World Champions have slumped to sixth position on the table. They have been overtaken by Sarfraz Ahmed’s Pakistan who have moved into fifth spot.

The sixth spot is the lowest the Aussies have been in the format for 34 years. The Australians have not won an ODI series since January 2017 when they overcame Pakistan at home. Since then, they have suffered series-losses against New Zealand, India and England.

Australia are at their lowest in 34 years.

Australia are at their lowest in 34 years.

IMPRESSIVE ENGLAND AIM TO SEAL SERIES WIN

While Australia’s ODI woes are for all to see, their opponents have been flying high in the format. Notwithstanding their surprise loss to Scotland in the one-off ODI, England have been the in-form team in the format for some time.

The No1 ranked ODI team in the world has won each of the bilateral series apart from the Scotland loss since their 2-1 series loss in India in January, 2017.

Since then, Morgan’s men have garnered seven series victories over West Indies, Ireland, South Africa, New Zealand and Australia. A win on Tuesday will make it eight victories in nine ODI series. It will also extend their current domination over the Aussies against whom they have won seven of the last eight ODIs played between the two sides.

England's ODI unit has been on fire for some time now.

England’s ODI unit has been on fire for some time now.

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