The Big Picture
England are a win away from securing their seventh consecutive one-day series title at home and, if they achieve that at Edgbaston, it will also give them a new record of nine ODI victories on the bounce.
Their wins against Australia at Lord's and The Oval were impressive all-round displays and showed how England are becoming more confident, whether they bat or bowl first. They have gambled somewhat with five frontline bowlers, leaving Tim Bresnan at No. 7, but so far neither West Indies nor Australia have knocked over the top order to test the strength of what follows.
There is no great secret to England's success with at least one top-order batsman in every match making a sizable contribution. It was an area both Michael Clarke and Mickey Arthur indentified as why Australia are struggling. Four of their batsmen have passed fifty so far in the series, but none have gone beyond Shane Watson's 66.
Australia are also in a muddle about their bowling attack. Mitchell Johnson's poor comeback has added to the headaches, while Xavier Doherty is not close to matching Graeme Swann's effectiveness. In this corresponding series two years ago, Australia left their revival too late to save the series and they will have to improve in all areas to keep this one alive into the weekend.
England will not risk James Anderson if any doubts remain over his groin strain so Chris Woakes, who has been repeatedly drafted into the squad this season, is set to play his first ODI since facing Ireland last August. Jade Dernbach has been ruled out of the series with a side strain, although both he and Stuart Meaker were always going to miss this match because of Tom Maynard's funeral.
England (probable) 1 Alastair Cook (capt), 2 Ian Bell, 3 Jonathan Trott, 4 Ravi Bopara, 5 Eoin Morgan, 6 Craig Kieswetter (wk), 7 Tim Bresnan, 8 Stuart Broad, 9 Chris Woakes, 10 Graeme Swann, 11 Steven Finn.
Australia may consider an all-pace attack - leaving the spin to David Hussey and Michael Clarke - and Mitchell Johnson could make way for either James Pattinson or Ben Hilfenhaus. There is not much they can do with the batting.
Australia (probable) 1 Shane Watson, 2 David Warner, 3 Peter Forrest, 4 Michael Clarke (capt), 5 George Bailey, 6 David Hussey, 7 Matthew Wade (wk), 8 Brett Lee, 9 James Pattinson, 10 Clint McKay, 11 Xavier Doherty.
Pitch and conditions
It rained on Tuesday and showers are forecast for match day as well, although it does not look like washout potential, which will be relief for Edgbaston after three abandoned days during the West Indies Test. After so much poor weather, the pitch could be on the slow side, while the day/night element may influence what happens at the toss.