Australia vs England: ODI preview

Ronan O'Connell Columnist

By Ronan O'Connell, Ronan O'Connell is a Roar Expert

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    Australia will start their ODI series against England today as the biggest outsiders they have been in the 50-over format for more than 20 years.

    The tourists will be missing six members of their best XI – their two finest batsmen in Steve Smith and David Warner, their three best bowlers in Mitchell Starc, Josh Hazlewood and Pat Cummins, and their most experienced ODI all-rounder in Mitchell Marsh.

    What’s left is a patched-up side extremely low on experience, led by new captain Tim Paine, tasked with defeating the world’s number one ODI side in their own backyard.

    Here are my predictions for the series:

    Leading runscorer: Jonny Bairstow (England)
    This is a no-brainer: Bairstow is in beastly form. Since the start of 2017, the English opener has creamed 1098 ODI runs at 69, including five tons, with a scorching strike rate of 107.

    Bairstow is only getting better the more experience he gains against the new ball, having cracked three tons in his last three ODI innings.

    He was not at his best in Australia earlier this year, making 157 runs at 31 as England beat Australia 4-1. But on what are expected to be ultra-flat home pitches, Bairstow’s wide range of strokes will be hard for Australia to contain.

    Jonny Bairstow

    Jonny Bairstow (Photo by MB Media/Getty Images)

    Leading wicket taker: Andrew Tye (Australia)
    It was a tight call between Tye and England’s Chris Woakes.

    The Englishman is a greatly-improved quick, having averaged 23 with the ball over the past two calendar years.

    Tye, meanwhile, is a natural wicket taker thanks to his array of change-ups. These deceptive deliveries should be particularly valuable against a hyper-aggressive batting side. The white-ball specialist is coming off a sensational IPL season in which he was the leading wickettaker in the tournament, with 24 wickets at 18.

    Surprise packet: Ashton Agar (Australia)
    Agar looks set to be given huge responsibility by new coach Justin Langer, who has strongly hinted that the 24-year-old will be the team’s number one spin bowler while also being promoted to bat at number seven.

    Agar has made great strides as a bowler over the past two years. He can be difficult to score off because of his height, accuracy, calmness under pressure, and his ability to change his pace by up to 20kmh from one delivery to the next without an obvious change in his action. With the bat he is a free-scoring strokemaker who has done his best work under pressure for Western Australia and the Perth Scorchers.

    Australia’s x-factor player: Billy Stanlake
    Stanlake is truly unique, there is no other bowler in world cricket like him.

    At 204cm tall and with the ability to regularly hit 150kmh, he is genuinely intimidating. While he regularly harries batsmen with his pace, it is the steep bounce he earns which most regularly startles the opposition. However, the 23-year-old also has a lovely outswinger and is underrated for his accuracy.

    If he finds his rhythm he has the tools to take multiple wickets with the new ball. Australia will desperately need to make inroads in the first ten overs given the depth of England’s batting line-up.

    England’s x-factor player: Ben Stokes
    The last time Australia ran into Stokes, 12 months ago during the Champions Trophy, the England all-rounder had just won the IPL Player of the Tournament award, and came to the crease against Australia with England in a mess at 3-35, then hammered 102* to help his side storm to victory and effectively boot Australia out of the tournament.

    But only a few months later, Stokes’ life was thrown into turmoil after he allegedly king-hit a man in a drunken brawl, leading to a lengthy playing suspension.

    Since his return, he’s been ordinary for England and had a poor IPL.

    But Australia are well aware of the carnage Stokes can create if he finds form.

    Predicted line-ups

    1. Travis Head
    2. D’Arcy Short
    3. Marcus Stoinis
    4. Shaun Marsh
    5. Aaron Finch
    6. Tim Paine (wk) (c)
    7. Ashton Agar
    8. Michael Neser
    9. Andrew Tye
    10. Kane Richardson
    11. Billy Stanlake

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

    Ronan O
    Ronan O'Connell

    Ronan O'Connell has been a journalist for well over 13 years, including nine at daily newspapers in WA. He now traverses the world as a travel photojournalist, contributing words and photography to more than 30 magazines and newspapers including CNN, BBC, The Toronto Star, The Guardian, The South China Morning Post, The Irish Examiner and The Australian Financial Review. Check out his work and follow him on Twitter @ronanoco

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    The Crowd Says (41)

    • June 13th 2018 @ 7:48am
      Paul said | June 13th 2018 @ 7:48am | ! Report

      Scotland exposed some pretty clear weaknesses in the England game which Australia can exploit if they’re up to it.

      The only used 5 bowlers and managed only 5 wickets while the best of them went for 66 off his 10 overs. In other words, they haven’t got a great attack, which isn’t an issue if you have an uber-attacking batting side, unless of course they don’t make runs; which leads to the second point.

      They heavily depend on getting away to a good start, so if Australia can get one or two early wickets, it may rein them in enough so they don’t make massive scores. If that’s the case, we’re a chance to run them down because they’re attack is okay at best.

      I’d initially thought this series was going to be an England whitewash, but am not so sure any more. England should still win but it wouldn’t surprise in we took a game or two off them.

      • Roar Guru

        June 13th 2018 @ 8:54am
        Edward L'Orange said | June 13th 2018 @ 8:54am | ! Report

        I still think we’ll get hammered, unfortunately. I agree about their attack though, it’s not great. But I don’t think they care. As Ronan said they’ll probably churn out flat wickets and their very good battling line up will just slap the ball around until they have a huge lead.

        The Aussie side is so green I’m surprised gumby isn’t in it. But I do like that a few of these guys are going to get a real test, though. Agar seems perennially to be one of those “potential” types. While I’m not as convinced as others about him, I am totally happy to be proved wrong and hope he has a breakout series as a bowler.
        He actually going to be the linchpin to our team (if he’s at 7). Batting so high allows us to have five quicks so he’ll need to perform.

        Does anyone know if the new changes abandoning the toss applies to ODIs.

        • June 13th 2018 @ 11:20am
          bobbo7 said | June 13th 2018 @ 11:20am | ! Report

          Agree – flat wickets and England bat strong.

          Unless Finch has a blinder I have real concerns if there is enough runs in the Australian top 6

        • June 13th 2018 @ 1:31pm
          tim said | June 13th 2018 @ 1:31pm | ! Report

          The toss abandonment didn’t get approved in any format.

      • Columnist

        June 13th 2018 @ 11:21am
        Ronan O'Connell said | June 13th 2018 @ 11:21am | ! Report

        England’s batting is a 9.5/10 whereas their bowling is just a 7/10, they don’t have a match-winning bowler who regularly changes the momentum of games, no one of the class of Starc or Hazlewood.

        But England pile up so many runs that this rarely ever matters!

    • June 13th 2018 @ 9:07am
      jimbo said | June 13th 2018 @ 9:07am | ! Report

      stokes and woakes are injured i thought??

      • Columnist

        June 13th 2018 @ 11:38am
        Ronan O'Connell said | June 13th 2018 @ 11:38am | ! Report

        Yep they won’t be playing this first match but latest reports suggests they are expected to be back soon.

    • June 13th 2018 @ 9:16am
      BurgyGreen said | June 13th 2018 @ 9:16am | ! Report

      Agar at 7 is a mistake. We don’t need five bowlers and with Paine at 6 our already weak batting essentially ends at 5. I think we are going to get a hiding.

      • Roar Guru

        June 13th 2018 @ 9:29am
        JamesH said | June 13th 2018 @ 9:29am | ! Report

        Yeah, I think this is a really strange lineup. Neser looked good in the warmups and Maxwell struggled, but I wonder how much we gain in bowling vs how much we lose in late innings firepower. Surely between Stoinis, Maxwell, Short, Finch and Head we can cover the 5th bowler? Only a couple of those guys have to have a reasonable day with the ball and we’re set.

        Even with the side we have, the batting lineup looks weird. There is no one below Finch at 5 who is renowned as a hitter. Agar and Neser are capable of playing big shots but not the way a Stoinis or a Maxwell can. Wouldn’t it make more sense for Paine to come in at 3 or 4 and have Stoinis at 6? England will have Moeen, Buttler and Willey at 6-8.

        If we were going to have 5 bowlers then I think it would have made more sense to go for a top 6 of Short, Head, Stoinis, Paine, Finch, Maxwell. As it is, you’d imagine at least one of Stoinis or Finch has to go big every game for us to have any sort of a chance. Finch really needs to be there for the majority of the last 15 overs.

        • Roar Guru

          June 13th 2018 @ 9:42am
          Ryan H said | June 13th 2018 @ 9:42am | ! Report

          Yeah and this is why I still think Stoinis at 6 works best with his immediate ball-striking ability later in the innings. Instead they have Paine in this position who, despite his undoubted class, is not suited to coming in and scoring quickly from the outset as we saw in the Australian home ODI series.

          Agar and Neser are useful bit-part players with the bat, but will expose the batting a bit if Australia are 5 or 6 down with still say 10 overs to go.

          • June 13th 2018 @ 10:15am
            Paul said | June 13th 2018 @ 10:15am | ! Report

            All you guys are assuming Ronan’s predicted lineup will play in this game. I don’t think Langer’s given anything away about the side? Nesser might get a run, Stoinis might bat 6, right now, who knows for sure?

            • Columnist

              June 13th 2018 @ 11:29am
              Ronan O'Connell said | June 13th 2018 @ 11:29am | ! Report

              Paul, Cricinfo is also predicting today that Australia will play 5 bowlers, with Agar batting at 7.

              • June 13th 2018 @ 12:02pm
                Ben said | June 13th 2018 @ 12:02pm | ! Report

                If they play 5 bowlers short or marsh will be the one to miss out.
                Maxwell give too much to the team to miss out the first 2 games.
                Both head and marsh had low strike rates and you can’t rely on only finch to get you to 330.

              • Columnist

                June 13th 2018 @ 12:43pm
                Ronan O'Connell said | June 13th 2018 @ 12:43pm | ! Report

                Not according to Cricinfo Ben, they have Maxwell missing out as I’ve also predicted the last few days.

                Langer’s comments and the makeup of the team in the warm-ups always suggested Maxwell was likely to miss out given the switch to playing 5 bowlers

              • June 13th 2018 @ 2:20pm
                Ben said | June 13th 2018 @ 2:20pm | ! Report

                What comments?
                It sounded from him he will give him he has trust in him to get a big score.
       is more reliable than cricinfo on selection.
                We will find out tonight.

              • Columnist

                June 13th 2018 @ 2:48pm
                Ronan O'Connell said | June 13th 2018 @ 2:48pm | ! Report

                Langer gave strong indications in his presser that he wants the order to be:

                3. Stoinis
                4. Marsh
                5. Finch
                6. Paine
                7. Agar

                So unless Maxwell is going to open the batting, which is unlikely, it seems he is set to miss out, as Cricinfo are predicting.

                I’d have Maxwell in the XI instead of an extra bowler but Langer appears to have other plans.

              • June 13th 2018 @ 1:40pm
                Paul said | June 13th 2018 @ 1:40pm | ! Report

                hope your predictions are more accurate than the BoM!

                In any event, I don’t think it matters a lot, I’m hoping all the guys will get a run at some stage, assuming we don’t magically hit upon a team that is world beating.

      • June 13th 2018 @ 10:03am
        Joe Bell said | June 13th 2018 @ 10:03am | ! Report

        Yep agree, suspect that will skew our side too far. I think Maxwell has to be in for Neser, atleast to begin with. Putting far too much responsibility on a line-up that failed to crack 300 against two weak county sides in the warm-up; a line-up liable to need 330+ more often than not

      • June 13th 2018 @ 10:20am
        Paul said | June 13th 2018 @ 10:20am | ! Report

        I’ve thought for weeks this side is an experiment and it should be treated as such. I don’t doubt Langer will use most or all of his bowlers this series. Again he wants to find out who might be suited to World Cup type conditions and what partners, both batting and bowling will work. Likewise with his batting

        • June 13th 2018 @ 12:05pm
          BurgyGreen said | June 13th 2018 @ 12:05pm | ! Report

          I’m all for experiments but assuming we have our first choice attack ready for the World Cup, most of these bowlers won’t make the squad. So at best what we gain from this experiment is working out who should carry the drinks when Starc, Hazlewood and Cummins are back.

          What we should be trying to experiment with is batting combinations, because there are big holes in the top 7 even when Smith and Warner come back.

          • June 13th 2018 @ 1:37pm
            Paul said | June 13th 2018 @ 1:37pm | ! Report

            I don’t think we’ll see the same batting lineup in any of the 5 games, unless of course someone steps up and fills a particular hole, eg hitting down the order, or towards the end of the innings.

    • June 13th 2018 @ 10:05am
      Ouch said | June 13th 2018 @ 10:05am | ! Report

      Looking forward to seeing how the new blokes go.

    • June 13th 2018 @ 11:11am
      jameswm said | June 13th 2018 @ 11:11am | ! Report

      No Maxwell? Really?

    • June 13th 2018 @ 11:14am
      jameswm said | June 13th 2018 @ 11:14am | ! Report

      Paine weakens our batting less at opener than at 6/7, where he doesn’t have the firepower. I’d go like this, but they won’t bat Finch at 4. Playing Finch in an anchor role, plus Head and Marsh, how will we score 330?

      1. Tim Paine (wk) ©
      2. D’Arcy Short
      3. Travis Head
      4. Aaron Finch
      5. Shaun Marsh
      6. Glenn Maxwell
      6. Marcus Stoinis

      7. Ashton Agar
      8. Michael Neser
      9. Andrew Tye
      10. Kane Richardson
      11. Billy Stanlake

      • June 13th 2018 @ 4:38pm
        ozinsa said | June 13th 2018 @ 4:38pm | ! Report

        Sneaking in two blokes at 6 definitely solves our problems with batting depth James. Not sure we’ll get the OK to go ahead with it though

        • June 13th 2018 @ 6:09pm
          KenoathCarnt said | June 13th 2018 @ 6:09pm | ! Report

          Lol imagine the English supporters it would be the scandal of the decade on SkySports.

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