Australia vs England: First ODI preview and prediction

Scott Pryde Roar Guru

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    Australia dominated the Ashes, but a whole new challenge awaits with this five-match ODI series between Australia and England.

    It’s a key series for the hosts in preparation for the 2019 Cricket World Cup, to be held in England.

    While Australia will have the upcoming tour of South Africa at the front of their minds, this match starts what is, in effect, a ten-match ODI home-and-away tour, with England to host the other five later this year.

    The Aussies will also play ODI cricket against Zimbabwe, Bangladesh, Pakistan and South Africa between now and next summer, meaning there will be ample opportunity for the selectors to lock down what they believe to be the best XI.

    That said, it’s unlikely after a taxing five-Test series that the likes of Josh Hazlewood, Pat Cummins and Mitchell Starc will play the entire series. Indeed, Hazlewood will be rested for this first ODI, and Cummins won’t play in the second.

    Despite that, it’s almost certain that after England’s struggles to score enough runs against the red ball, things aren’t going to change rapidly because the players have put on colours, the floodlights are on, and white balls are being used.

    Mitchell Starc

    (AP Photo/Rick Rycroft)

    Of course, the tourists’ attack will have a new flavour as well. While Chris Woakes is in the squad and is likely to play, joined by Jake Ball and Tom Curran, the rest are different. James Anderson and Stuart Broad are on a plane back to the UK and with neither Curran or Ball likely to get a run in the opening match, the attention turns to short-form specialists.

    David Willey is one of those. He has been with the Perth Scorchers in the Big Bash League, showing strong form with both the bat and ball. His variations and change of pace will make him a tough prospect, while the attack is rounded out by Liam Plunkett and spinner Adil Rashid.

    If the pitch for the opening ODI, in Melbourne, is anything like the one which dared to call itself a pitch for the Boxing Day Test, it could be all about the batsmen, rather than the damage the three Aussie quicks can cause.

    Even though it was Australia’s bowlers who paved the way in the Ashes, the batsmen allowed them to do it with ease.

    The problem which has haunted England all summer – how to get Steve Smith out – will return. Smith scored a staggering 687 runs at 137.40 during the Ashes and his form is showing no signs of slowing down – even if he missed a century in the final Test at the Sydney Cricket Ground.

    While it’s almost a given what Smith will provide, the danger man is David Warner. The Australian vice-captain played within himself during the Ashes, almost as if he realised the responsibility on his shoulders to make scores.

    As a result, it meant his usual free-flowing scoring rates were non-existent. Still, less pressure awaits in the shorter forms of the game and if he gets back to his usual style – particularly if England continue to bowl with width, trying to bore him out – it could get ugly.

    Steve Smith

    (Photo by Philip Brown/Getty Images)

    England’s top order needs to be guided by Joe Root. The Test captain was under the weather at the SCG, but is expected to be fully healthy for this first ODI. While he didn’t have the best of Test series, it wasn’t poor by any stretch and he, like Warner, may enjoy less pressure.

    A man who will be feeling it is Eoin Morgan. The English ODI captain hasn’t been in brilliant form either in the national set-up, but did make 81 not out against a CA XI in Sydney on Thursday.

    Both teams have a selection question ahead of the series. For Australia, it’s who is their final batsmen. While most of the order seems locked down, Glenn Maxwell was overlooked, even after Chris Lynn was replaced through injury.

    Cameron White has been drafted into the squad and while Mitchell Marsh (who is a certainty to play) and Marcus Stoinis are similar sorts of players, White adds versatility and could get the nod first up.

    The English need to work out whether to play Moeen Ali or not, who is coming off a woeful summer with bat and ball. Unfortunately, without another all-rounder, they may have no choice.

    England’s Moeen Ali


    Regardless of what England do selection-wise though, the players remaining from the Test squad will be down on confidence and, on paper at least, Australia have a far superior side.

    Key game information: Australia vs England, first ODI

    Start: Sunday, January 14 at 2:20pm (AEDT)
    Venue: Melbourne Cricket Ground
    TV: Live, Nine Network
    Online: Live, Cricket Australia live pass
    Betting: Australia $1.52, England $2.55
    Overall record: Played 137, Australia 80, England 52, tied 2, no result 3
    Umpires: Chris Gaffaney and Simon Fry

    Likely XIs

    1. David Warner (vc)
    2. Aaron Finch
    3. Steve Smith (c)
    4. Travis Head
    5. Cameron White
    6. Mitchell Marsh
    7. Tim Paine (wk)
    8. Mitchell Starc
    9. Pat Cummins
    10. Jhye Richardson
    11. Adam Zampa

    Also in the squad – Marcus Stoinis, Andrew Tye

    1. Alex Hales
    2. Jason Roy
    3. Joe Root
    4. Eoin Morgan (c)
    5. Jonny Bairstow
    6. Jos Buttler (wk)
    7. Moeen Ali
    8. Adil Rashid
    9. David Willey
    10. Chris Woakes
    11. Liam Plunkett

    Rest of squad – Jake Ball, Tom Curran, Dawid Malan, Mark Wood

    Hours of play

    Start time (AEDT) Finish time (AEDT)
    First innings 2:20pm 5:50pm
    Innings break 5:50pm 6:35pm
    Secod innings 6:35pm 10:05pm

    Remaining series fixtures

    Second ODI: Friday, January 19 at the Gabba (2:20pm AEDT)
    Third ODI: Sunday, January 21 at Sydney Cricket Ground (2:20pm AEDT)
    Fourth ODI: Friday, January 26 at Adelaide Oval (2:20pm AEDT)
    Fifth ODI: Sunday, January 28 at Optus Stadium, Perth (2:20pm AEDT)


    Australia have all the momentum coming off the Test series, even if the squads are altered slightly. The Aussies are usually a hard team to beat at home in ODI cricket, and with all their strike weapons playing, this looks like an uphill battle for the tourists.

    Australia to take an early series lead.

    Don’t forget, The Roar will be providing coverage of each ODI in the series with a live blog and highlights.

    Scott Pryde
    Scott Pryde

    One of the mainstays of The Roar, Scott Pryde has written over 1,800 articles covering everything from rugby league to basketball, from tennis to cricket. You can follow him on Twitter @sk_pryde.

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    The Crowd Says (7)

    • January 12th 2018 @ 4:21am
      1st&10 said | January 12th 2018 @ 4:21am | ! Report

      Will the English dressing room have sleeping facilities for their so called Captain ?

    • January 12th 2018 @ 8:53am
      jammel said | January 12th 2018 @ 8:53am | ! Report

      England look okay – but only really have 5 bowling options without Stokes. That’s one of their biggest weaknesses by the looks of the team above.

      Plenty of batting though for the Poms – including in the lower order!

      • January 12th 2018 @ 10:06am
        jameswm said | January 12th 2018 @ 10:06am | ! Report

        Yeah but with Mitch marsh still coming back to his best bowling wise, ours isn’t looking great either.

        That would be a debut for Jhye Richardson, right? Exciting for him.

        Look at a potential 2nd XI (from those not listed in that likely XI) and you get the idea how strong we are. Not including injured players (Lynn, Pattinson, Whiteman and Behrendorff)

        1. Khawaja
        2. Short
        3. Burns
        4. Ferguson
        5. Maxwell
        6. Turner
        7. Bancroft/Carey (wk)
        8. Stanlake
        9. Johnson (still good at T20s)
        10. Lyon
        11. Hazlewood

        Guys like Cartwright, Patterson, Ahmed, Swepson, Bailey, Christian, Agar, Abbott and Lehmann miss out.

    • Roar Rookie

      January 12th 2018 @ 9:47am
      El Loco said | January 12th 2018 @ 9:47am | ! Report

      I know it’s not an official lineup but Smith at 3 surely. No point wasting him in the sheds in limited overs.

    • Roar Guru

      January 12th 2018 @ 10:53am
      Paul D said | January 12th 2018 @ 10:53am | ! Report

      That pom bowling attack looks absolutely anodyne.

    • Roar Pro

      January 12th 2018 @ 12:06pm
      JD St George said | January 12th 2018 @ 12:06pm | ! Report

      Stoinis better play, he has been an excellent rock for the middle order since he came back to the side.

    • January 12th 2018 @ 12:14pm
      matth said | January 12th 2018 @ 12:14pm | ! Report

      I’m wondering whether they will experiment with both Marsh and Stoinis in the team and leave out White for now.

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