Following Australia’s 4-0 series success in the Ashes, they now take on England in the one-day game and Warren Ashurst assesses their chances of yet more success. Despite the England management and a few players trying to take some positives from their Ashes humbling, it really was, once again, men against boys in the five-day game.
The Three Lions’ inability to perform away from home came back to haunt them but they now have a chance to gain some manner of revenge in the white-ball game. They were thrashed 4-1 four years ago before going on to lose the Twenty20 series 3-0 but this is a very different England ODI side from the one led by Alastair Cook.
Under Trevor Bayliss and with Eoin Morgan at the helm, they have been playing a brand of fearless cricket that had hitherto been alien to those wearing blue. Scores in excess of 350 are now commonplace as players express themselves right from the off and no longer approach the game with the constraints of previous regimes.
Australia v England Tips will usually focus on the home side and there is no doubt that the Aussies will be tough to beat with Steve Smith wearing the captain’s armband after his heroics in the Test arena, but there is every reason to suggest England will be competitive.
The Australia v England odds for the first ODI in Melbourne on Sunday have the home side favourites at 4/7, while England are on offer at 6/4 and the visitors may be worth a penny or two.
The remaining Test players have been joined by a number of one-day specialists untainted by the Ashes hammering and the likes of Alex Hales, Jason Roy, Liam Plunkett and Mark Wood will add some much-needed firepower to proceedings with both bat and ball.
England will finally have a couple of bowlers able to hit 90mph and some batsmen who can smash the ball to all parts.
That is easier said than done against a quality attack but England’s new approach to the 50-over game has seen them take on all-comers with the same mindset and it will be similar this time around.
Tom Curran, Dawid Malan and Jonny Bairstow will be battle-hardened after their Ashes experience and, if fit, Joe Root will be free of the burden of captaincy and can concentrate on what he does best.
Australia v England betting has seen the Baggy Greens as favourites throughout the current exchanges between the old enemies and they do possess a strong-looking ODI side with Smith and David Warner joined by the likes of Aaron Finch and the hard-hitting Travis Head in the batting department.
Leg-spinner Adam Zampa provides some variety in the attack which will also contain Pat Cummins and Josh Hazlewood from the Test side.
While raw pace in the red-ball format is essential for success, it can be expensive in limited-overs cricket and England will look to dominate the Aussie quicks right from ball one to try and set their stall out for the series.
The teams look much more evenly matched than those who squared off for the Ashes and, while home advantage is always key, I’m going for an England series victory by three games to two.
There will be some big totals, with the ball flying everywhere and the one thing that is for certain is that it is going to be exciting.
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