An atrocious Australian batting display against India and the loss of captain Michael Clarke to a back injury make England favourites for their respective opening games at the Champions Trophy 2013. We’ll have live scores and commentary from 7.40pm AEST.
It’s been an inauspicious start for Australia. Shane Watson’s century in their opening warm-up game against West Indies pulled them out of an early mire but everything has gone downhill since then.
In their second warm-up game, Australia allowed India to recover from 55/5 to post a 300 plus score.
Then, on a reasonably flat pitch, the batsmen folded as easily as paper and were bowled out for 65.
Captain Clarke, who missed both the warm-up games, will continue to sit out of this one too after his back issue refuses to improve and that means George Bailey will be entrusted with the responsibility of a flailing batting line-up.
To make matters worse for Australia, their first game is against England, a side they will not want to lose to before the Ashes series.
Adding to their woes is the fact that England will be bolstered by the return to fitness of Stuart Broad and Steven Finn, both of whom missed the first two games in the New Zealand series.
That’s the one positive to take for Australia – New Zealand’s punishing successive wins against England.
The top-order shone for New Zealand in both those games before the middle-order took the game away in the last 10 overs with some blazing batting.
England did show what they are capable of with their matured display of batting in the third ODI – they saw off the initial swing and seam before Jos Buttler bludgeoned his way to a near-half century off 16 balls.
Australia have already revealed their hand by going into the warm-up games with a set playing 11.
However, one may like to believe they will make a change or two to that line-up.
Going into the game without a frontline spinner may not be the best idea especially now that it’s almost certain the pitches won’t behave as poorly for the batsmen as one thought earlier under the English conditions.
Playing six medium-pacers in a game, as was the case in the warm-ups, will be a luxury.
Live coverage of the game begins from 7.30pm AEST on Saturday and you can add your opinion in the comments section below.