The Australian Cricket Team will be disappointed in their efforts in the UAE as they lost the two-match Test series 1-0 and went on to lose the three match T20 series in a 3-0 whitewash to Pakistan.
The team returns home this week and will officially kick off the Australian Summer of Cricket with a three-match ODI series against South Africa starting this Sunday from 2.20pm. We take a look at Game 1 of the series and offer our betting tips below.
We always like to think after a tough away series that Australia will improve when they return and be the dominant force that they always seem to be on home soil. However, this team seems to have a slightly different feel to it without the experienced and talented stars in David Warner and Steve Smith. They didn’t play any ODI’s when they travelled to the UAE so the format change might benefit them, however, they are currently the sixth ranked ODI team in the world and with new skipper Aaron Finch in charge of what is largely a team in the midst of a transition phase, you have to be skeptical about their chances.
As we mentioned, Finch was named captain of the Australian ODI side, an expected move considering the form and consistency that he has displayed in the one-day format over the past few years. Finch is currently the highest ranked active ODI batsman for Australia at No.15 in the world and will be the lynchpin of the Australian batting lineup for the three-match series.
Joining Finch at the top of the lineup will be a host of Australian domestic stars that have dominated the JLT One Day Cup and the Big Bash League over the past few seasons. D’Arcy Short, Chris Lynn, Glenn Maxwell, Travis Head, Marcus Stoinis and Shaun Marsh will compete for the remaining spots in the top six while Alex Carey will keep wicket and provide handy middle order batting power.
The return of Josh Hazlewood and Pat Cummins to the bowling attack after missing the trip to the UAE will be a massive boost for the Aussies. Mitchell Starc will join them to make up the dominant three-pronged pace attack while Adam Zampa looks likely to retain his spot in the ODI side as spinner. However, with Maxwell, Head and Short in the side who can all pitch in valuable spin overs, the Aussies might opt for an extra all-rounder in Stoinis or West Australian Ashton Agar.
The South Africans will make the trip to Australia without A.B de Villiers and Hashim Amla for the first time in a long time as the former retired from international cricket recently and the latter is ruled out with injury for the season. The Proteas still possess a truly scary side, however, particularly in the bowling department.
Dale Steyn is back and firing for South Africa after some lengthy troubles with injury and will be joined in the pace attack by talented youngsters Kagiso Rabada and Lungi Ngidi. The three-pronged pace attack is arguably the best in world cricket at the moment and throw spinner Imran Tahir into the mix, who is currently the No.5 ranked bowler in ODI’s, and you have a recipe for success.
The brand-new Perth Stadium will play host to the first ODI this Sunday from 2.20pm. Although it’s unlikely that the pitch will have the bounce and pace like the WACA of old, curators have expressed that they have tried to replicate the WACA conditions as closely as possible with the Perth Stadium pitch. When playing against most teams in world cricket, this would represent a big advantage for the Australian side and it’s quicks, however, against South Africa, who possess a truly scary pace attack, the favour might swing towards them for the first ODI.
There are a few question marks surrounding the South African batting line-up. In their only practice match in the lead up to the ODI series, they were bowled out for just 173 by the Prime Ministers XI captained by George Bailey, however, the match was played at Manuka Oval so the state of the pitch could have been an issue. Quinton de Cock is an out and out ODI star and will be the key to the Proteas success with the bat.
While we think the Aussies will be more competitive on home soil than they were in the UAE, we have to give the slight advantage to the South Africans at the moment. Australia have just been too inconsistent of late across all three formats and the massive transition phase they are in at the moment just isnt good for continuity.
South Africa will be without a few key players but are coming off a 3-0 ODI whitewash against Zimbabwe following a 3-2 defeat of Sri Lanka earlier this year and their bowling unit just looks too good on what should be a bouncy Perth wicket.
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