After defending their number 1 ICC T20I rankings against arch-rivals England despite losing the 3-match series 1-2, Australia begin their ICC ODI Super League campaign with the ODI leg of their tour of England starting today.
England captain Eoin Morgan has already set his sights on defending their World Cup triumph from last year in the 2023 edition. He mentioned that it is to England’s advantage that they are playing all three One Day Internationals at Old Trafford, a venue which has aided spinners immensely in the past few years. The England batsmen have been susceptible to spin, something that they require working upon before they face a plethora of the same kind of bowling three years from now, batting on the sub-continental pitches.
Another aspect that England require working on is their ground fielding and catching. The 3rd T20I against Australia saw the hosts concede over 20 runs due to their ordinary efforts on the field. Morgan, who, in contrast, has stood out from the rest of his team while stationed at cover or short mid-wicket, described his side’s fielding efforts in the T20I series as ‘second rate’, clearly expecting improvement on that department.
For the first time since the World Cup final last year, England will be bolstered with the services of wicketkeeper-batsman Jos Buttler and pacers Jofra Archer and Mark Wood, while opening batsman Jason Roy and skipper Eoin Morgan himself will return to the side after recovering from injuries.
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Test skipper Joe Root will be donning colored clothing and stepping out on to the field for the first time this summer. His ODI skipper emphasized his role in the team, stating that the Yorkshireman, who has been in scintillating form in domestic white-ball Cricket of late, has the perfect average and strike rate for a number 3, and he does not consume too many dot balls. Having Root in the top-order gives a balance to a power-hitting heavy England batting line-up.
Since their ODI series win in 2015, Australia have had forgettable experiences of playing One Day International Cricket against their Ashes rivals. In the 13 ODIs played after the 3-2 series win, Australia have managed only 2 wins, one on home soil and one in the league stages of the World Cup last year, while suffering 13 losses, the most recent being the thrashing in the semi-final. It goes on to show the one-sidedness that the contest has presented with the evolution of the England ODI team, something that the 5-time World Champions will be eager to turn around.
Aaron Finch clarified that despite having a lean patch and limited opportunities with the bat in the recent past, Alex Carey will be trusted with the gloves in the ODI series. Finch also had words of praise for Mitchell Marsh, saying that the all-rounder’s performance has been hindered in the One Day format over the years due to him being rotated and experimented with too much. Clearly, the Australian skipper views him as the player that would help Australia win matches with the bat and offer a handy 5th/6th bowling option.
“The parts of his game where (it’s) been identified he needs to improve, he’s made some great changes. I’ve no doubt the most consistent Mitch Marsh will be on show,” said Finch. “In the two shorter formats when you’re playing in the middle order, there are times you need to be high risk and move the game forward and there are others (when) you need to hold a little bit and take the game deeper.
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“So having that experience over the last 40 games or so will give him that flexibility and freedom to understand his game and understand game situations to become a really consistent player in that middle order for us.”
Team news – England
Other than Ben Stokes, England have their best combination of players to choose from. Jason Roy will re-occupy his opening role alongside Jonny Bairstow, Root will be slotted to his usual number 3 position, and Jos Buttler, who has been phenomenal in the two T20Is he played this summer, will return to his middle-order spot alongside his usual duty of donning the big gloves. Despite the average showing in the two preceding T20I series, Sam Billings’ efforts in the ODI series against Ireland a month and a half ago might prompt the England selectors to give him another opportunity. Chris Woakes’ ability to extract movement off the air and the surface might result in him getting the nod ahead of either one of the Curran brothers.
Probable XI: Jason Roy, Jonny Bairstow, Joe Root, Eoin Morgan (c), Sam Billings, Jos Buttler (wk), Moeen Ali, Chris Woakes, Adil Rashid, Jofra Archer, Mark Wood
Team news – Australia
Marnus Labuschagne, who has gone from strength to strength since making his international debut in the Ashes last year, is best suited to bat at number 4 today. A remarkable Ashes series was followed up by a maiden ODI hundred against South Africa by the 26-year-old, who has shown eagerness to work on his batting in the death overs. To increase their batting depth, Australia might be tempted to field both Mitchell Marsh and Glenn Maxwell, with the three middle-order batsmen sharing the 5th bowler’s duty.
Probable XI: David Warner, Aaron Finch (c), Steven Smith, Marnus Labuschagne, Mitchell Marsh, Glenn Maxwell, Alex Carey (wk), Mitchell Starc, Pat Cummins, Josh Hazlewood, Adam Zampa
Venue: Old Trafford, Manchester, Lancashire
A slow, low, turning wicket is expected on the 7th occasion of an International Cricket match being played here, something that both sides would be eager to play on to give their batsmen enough exposure against quality spin bowling in order to prepare for the World Cup in three years’ time as mentioned earlier. With the wicket expected to deteriorate with the progression of the games, the percentage of teams winning matches after batting first on this wicket might improve over the course of the series.