Steve Smith is looking for a performance from his team and himself as Australia aim to keep the one-day international series against England alive in Sydney on Sunday.
Australia saw their totals of 304-8 and 270-9 topped by England in Melbourne and Brisbane respectively as the tourists eased into a 2-0 lead in the five-match series.
Smith, a run machine in the Ashes with 687 in five Tests at an average of 137.40, has fallen to spin for 23 and 18 in the first two ODIs and is eager to start “nailing it down” in the one-day format.
Reigning world champions Australia, who have won just one of their last 10 completed ODIs, could unleash their Test pace attack at the SCG, with Pat Cummins, who was rested at the Gabba, and Josh Hazlewood, who was ill, poised to join Mitchell Starc in the XI.
“I don’t know the answer, I wish I did,” said Smith when asked about Australia’s recent ODI struggles.
“In the last 10 games we have actually got ourselves into some reasonable positions and we just haven’t been able to take advantage of them. We’re still trying to find the right balance.
“I definitely think I have got a lot of room for improvement. I don’t think I have been playing one-day cricket as I could for the last couple of series.
“I have pretty high expectations of myself, and I haven’t been living up to them recently. I have got to start nailing it down. I have got a few starts but I haven’t been going on with them.”
Joe Root will play his 100th ODI for England on Sunday, having been there at the end of his 98th and 99th matches to help the team earn five and four-wicket wins in Melbourne and Brisbane respectively.
Root scored an unbeaten 91 at the MCG – having shared a 221-run stand with Jason Roy (180) – and then 46 not out in Brisbane following fifties from Jonny Bairstow (60) and Alex Hales (57).
“As a side we’re playing great cricket,” said Root, who also dismissed Smith and Travis Head at the Gabba during his seven overs of off-spin.
“No one stood out in Brisbane like Jason in the first game but that shows the strength of the side. We don’t rely on one or two guys, we contribute the whole way down.
“I know my role pretty well in this side – you try and play with the guy at the other end and try to find a way between you to knock the score off.
“I was really pleased I was able to do that again, it was my turn, but it might be someone else next time.”
Team for third ODI in Sydney:
England (probable): J Bairstow, J Roy, A Hales, J Root, E Morgan (c), J Buttler (wkt) M Ali, C Woakes, A Rashid, L Plunkett, M Wood
Australia (from): A Finch, D Warner, S Smith (wkt), T Head, M Marsh, M Stoinis, C White, A Carey (wkt), T Paine (wkt), M Starc, P Cummins, J Hazlewood, A Tye, J Richardson, A Zampa