Is Australia on the brink of an ODI disaster?
Australia are on the verge of a humiliating whitewash at the hands of England after going 3-0 down in the current One Day International series.
The Aussies have struggled in all facets of the game, and with one game washed out, their form will have to change drastically if they are to avoid a clean sweep.
England’s motivation heading into the one-day series was the number one ranking; knowing if they could record a 5-0 victory against the Australians they would take the title.
The current number one, Australia, have had a tough time defending their crown, being dominated with the bat, ball and in the field.
The Australians have failed to post a score above 260, scraping past 250 twice, while posting a disappointing 200 in game three. Australia’s top order has failed, bar a standout performance by Shane Watson in game one.
The Australian batsmen have not supported cameos by George Bailey, Michael Clarke and David Hussey. Inconsistency has necessitated continual rebuilding, limiting their ability to post a big score in the final overs.
England, chasing in two of the three matches, have managed their run well, recording convincing victories by six and eight wickets respectively. Australia’s bowling has been unable to take wickets at crucial times, unlike England.
The English pacemen have fared well at their home grounds, with Steven Finn snaring figures of 4-24 in the series-clinching one-dayer.
Australia has struggled to adapt to the colder, nippier English conditions. The wet and dewy environment has seen the ball seam around for the new-ball bowlers.
Australia was unfortunate to lose the toss in game three, as they were sent in to bat on a bowler’s wicket. A collapse from Australia’s top order set the tone for an English onslaught.
The tourists have been reeling throughout the Natwest series, but are they on the verge of a series whitewash? Australia’s chances of halting England’s momentum have suffered a major blow, with Brett Lee and Shane Watson both ruled out for the remainder of the series.
Watson has been strong at the top of the order, batting at an average of 35 as one of Australia’s best.
England too has been affected on the injury front with off-spinner Graeme Swann being ruled out for the final two games. Swann has only managed one wicket from the three games, but will be missed for his leadership and slip fielding.
Australia has struggled during this series but has shown glimpses of form during each innings. Out-of-form players like Peter Forrest and George Bailey will have to lift their game, while players like Clarke and Hussey will have to capatilise on their starts.
Australia has their backs against the wall but can still defeat England this series. If defeating the old foe isn’t enough motivation, surely retaining the number one ranking should be.
Listen to Glenn Mitchell's preview of the Third Ashes Test in Perth at the WACA ground: