England vs South Africa third ODI predictions ? All to play for at Headingley

England vs South Africa third ODI predictions ? All to play for at Headingley


Having impressed with the ball at a rain-hit Old Trafford on Friday to level things up against South Africa, England go in search of an ODI series victory at Headingley on Sunday. 

The new one-day era under the leadership of Jos Buttler has got off to a somewhat sketchy start for the Three Lions as they lost 2-1 to India before going down by 62 runs in their series opener against the Proteas. 

However, they responded well, particularly with the ball, to win the second ODI by 118 runs, bowling the tourists out for a mere 83 in a rain-shortened 29-over contest in Manchester. 

Batting questions remain for hosts

Despite their success on Friday, England did little to erase the doubts which currently surround their misfiring batting unit. 

Phil Salt took the place of the now retired Ben Stokes and made 17 batting at number three, with Joe Root moving to four and Moeen Ali coming in at five. 

However, it was Liam Livingstone and Sam Curran who impressed most at six and seven, as they smashed 38 and 35 respectively ? with each of them blasting three sixes. 

And it is right-hander Livingstone who appears to be on the verge of making a major contribution, having reached 33, 27, 10 and 38 in his last four innings. 

He may have to do just that on Sunday if England are to prevail in Leeds, with their top-order still searching for the right formula, although both Root and Jonny Bairstow will no doubt be highly motivated by playing on their home ground. 

And Root will be further boosted by the knowledge that he has made 57, 84 and 100 not out in his last three ODI innings at Headingley. 

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Nortje gives punch to Proteas

Paceman Anrich Nortje has given the South Africa attack a much-needed cutting edge in taking 4-53 and 2-53 in the opening two matches of the three-match series. 

Interestingly, Nortje did not take the new ball at either the Riverside or Old Trafford, with skipper Keshav Maharaj choosing to utilise his left-arm spin in partnership with the seam up of Lungi Ngidi. 

If that is the approach taken again on Sunday, it could mean another fascinating tussle between the England middle-order and Nortje, who has taken 28 wickets in his 14 one-day internationals - at an impressive average of 24.03 and an economy rate of 5.76. 

Headingley record in England's favour

England can certainly take heart from their recent record in ODIs in Leeds, having won six in a row before suffering a 20-run loss at the hands of Sri Lanka in June 2019. 

A perfect mix of three of those wins having come when batting first and three having come when chasing, seems to show that England have all bases covered when it comes to getting the job done at Headingley. 

Overall, in the last 10 one-dayers played in Leeds, the team batting first has won five, while the team chasing has won five, so the toss on Sunday may not have too much influence on the final outcome.

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