Meteorologists define the end of the British summer as the final day of August, but England supporters know the true time to reluctantly pack away the shorts is after the final ball of the season has been bowled.
England will be looking for a stylish summer send-off this Friday when Eoin Morgan’s troops tackle the Windies in the fifth and final ODI of the series.
Victory at the Oval on Wednesday confirmed England as the series victors. However, while the battle in London was won by a whisker, the war is not yet over.
England have never won four ODIs in a series against the West Indies.
To be fair, there has only ever been five previous five-match series ever between the two teams but after wins at Old Trafford, the Brightside and the Oval, England can make a little bit of history at the Ageas Bowl.
Morgan’s boys are 1/5 favourites to finish the job on the south coast and, given their dominance over the tourists so far, it’s hard to look beyond the home side on Friday. The Windies are rated 7/2 to break their ODI duck but without Oval centurion Evin Lewis at the top of the order after fracturing his ankle, it’s going to be another uphill struggle for a demoralised Caribbean outfit.
The long and powerful England batting line-up makes it tough to pick the top scorer for the home side in any match, but Jason Roy’s impressive 84 on Wednesday on recall was a timely reminder of his potential; he’s 7/1 to make the standout contribution again as he pushes to reclaim a permanent place in the side.
The really in-form player, however, is Moeen Ali.
After his record-breaking ton in Bristol followed by an unbeaten 48 at the Oval and the left-hander is what looks like a generous 25/1 to continue his rich vein of form.
Chris Gayle hasn’t quite hit his usual explosive heights since his ODI recall, but the left-handed man mountain is still the shortest priced Windies batsman to top score on Friday at 8/1 while captain Jason Holder, who’s averaging over 70 in the series, is 22/1.
The standout performance with the ball at the Oval came from 20-year-old Alzarri Joseph with a five-wicket haul in what was only his 13th ODI appearance for the Windies; the youngster is 15/2 to claim the most scalps at the Ageas.
Holder is also priced at 15/2 while leg-spinner Devendra Bishoo is 8/1, despite being the only bowler of the eight used by the tourists in the series yet to take a wicket.
There’s little to choose in the betting between the England bowlers.
Yorkshire duo Adil Rashid and Liam Plunkett are for the moment tied as the series’ top wicket-takers with six apiece, but it’s Rashid who’s fancied to outbowl his team-mate in Southampton at 11/2.