England will be looking to win back some pride after a 4-0 Ashes defeat as they embark on a five match ODI series against Australia starting at the MCG this Sunday, the 14th of January.
The tourists look set to go into the first ODI in Melbourne with a completely overhauled lineup to the one that suited up in the last Test match in Sydney. Joe Root, Johnny Bairstow and Moeen Ali look to be the only players from the Test squad guaranteed to play the first match.
English one day specialist batsmen Eoin Morgan, Alex Hales and Jason Roy all impressed with the bat in their warm up game against the Cricket Australia XI on Thursday, while Jos Buttler and Sam Billings, who both played in the game, should compete for the wicket-keeping position in Melbourne.
For the bowlers, it was spinners Moeen Ali, Abdil Rashid and paceman Liam Plunkett who were the in form players in the practice game. Tom Curran, David Willey, Chris Woakes and Mark Wood should compete for the final bowling spots in the team.
For the Aussies, the three pronged pace attack of Pat Cummins, Mitch Starc and Josh Hazlewood will likely get the first crack at the Englishman, however, a couple of Perth Scorchers who have dominanted the BBL in recent times wait in the wings. Both Andrew Tye and Jhye Richardson have been named in the Aussie squad after impressive domestic campaigns so far, while Adam Zampa will be the sole full time spinner in the squad.
David Warner and Steve Smith will once again be the stalwarts of the Aussie top order, with the remainder of the batting line-up to be made up of a mixture of ODI specialists from Aaron Finch, Travis Head, Chris Lynn and the late call up, Cameron White. Mitch March and Marcus Stoinis will likely rotate the all-rounder position.
We wont know until Sunday how the teams will look for the first ODI, but what we do know is that if the MCG pitch plays like it does in the Boxing Day Test, it should be a cracking deck for batsmen.
The English contingent of batsmen that have been playing on the BBL circuit in Sam Billings, Jos Buttler and Jason Roy have plenty of experience playing in Australian conditions, as do the likes of Morgan and Willey. We think that the English ODI squad will be much better prepared for the series in Australian conditions than the Test team were.
The problem for the Englishman is still their lack of out and out pace. They have host of quality seamers but no one that genuinely puts fear in the minds of the Aussie batsmen. Their spinners in Rashid and Ali should have a better impact than the latter did in the Test series.
Really tough game to call here, especially on a pitch that favoured batsman so much just a few weeks ago and considering we wont know the final make up of the team until Sunday. Australia start as $1.52 favourites for the match, which is understandable given their dominance in the Test series. However, the line-up that England looks likely to send out in game one could be incredibly strong in the batting department all the way down to number 9 or 10. Whereas the Aussie batting line-up looks a little thin, especially if they play Mitch Marsh at number six, regardless of how many runs he scored in the Tests.
We are going against the grain here and tipping England to come out firing and take the first ODI. The likes of Hales, Morgan, Buttler and Billings are real wildcards and as they’ve proven in the BBL are capable of dominating in Aussie conditions.
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