With an engrossing Ashes series out of the way, the action now moves to the limited overs part of England’s tour of Australia. Let the one-dayers commence, with the first of five matches at the MCG in Melbourne on Sunday. Follow the action live from 2.20 pm AEDT.
It’s been a difficult tour for England and that would be understating it, but all can be put aside now with the commencement of the ‘pyjama’ game.
The resting of Mitchell Johnson will allow the English batsmen some fresh hope, although they have quite a few of those who were at the receiving end of the battering during the Tests will still be a part of the ODIs.
Secondly, the brand of cricket that Australia played in the Tests, their aggression and their desire to not give an inch, will quite unsurprisingly carry forward into the ODIs as well.
And then, while likes of Ryan Harris and Peter Siddle will be absent to go with the resting of Johnson for this one, England can expect some unrelenting bowling from the likes of Nathan Coulter-Nile, Clint McKay and James Faulkner as well.
On paper, Australia have announced a well-balanced playing XI.
There are four batsmen, three all-rounders, a keeper and three bowlers. Of the three all-rounders, two are fast bowling ones and there is one who is a spinner who can bat.
The Alastair Cook-led England will hope for better starts at the top from him and Ian Bell, who should open the innings. Joe Root’s indifferent form in the Tests notwithstanding, he should make it to the XI as well, as would ODI specialists, Ravi Bopara and Eoin Morgan.
Morgan has been in Australia for a while, featuring in the Big Bash League and that should make adaptability to the foreign conditions a non-issue for him.
There were a couple of England players who came through in the Ashes with their reputations unscathed; Stuart Broad and Ben Stokes. Broad’s been rested for this one – and the next – but Stokes could be their trump, given the confidence he would carry into the series.
Broad’s non-selection and James Anderson’s absence will allow the likes of Tim Bresnan and Steven Finn to take over the bowling charges, although there’s always a Boyd Rankin that England can look to choose.
Australia have opted to drop James Pattinson, Shaun Marsh and Johnson from this one.
Interestingly, England enter the game with a reasonable ODI record last year. They managed to win a couple of ODIs in India, after a couple of whitewashes in the country, won an ODI series in New Zealand and managed to make it to the final in the Champions Trophy.
This was all coming from a side that has traditionally struggled in the shorter format of the game.
Australia, on the other hand, held their own in their previous ODI series in India, losing 3-2, but any scrutiny of performances in that match-up will be skewed by the nature of pitches in that series.
Scores of 300 was almost like a new 225, with three 300-plus targets including two of more than 350 were chased down successfully.
In fact in the final ODI, Australia had slumped to 6/138 chasing 384 for a win and went on to score 326 thanks to Faulkner’s 73-ball 116.
Will the Aussies take any confidence from that one?
Join me for the first ODI of the five match series on Sunday and you can follow the live score of this game from 2.20 pm AEDT and post your comments below.