The Ashes are won, the T20 series is won, now England look ahead to five ODI matches against the Aussies. Momentum sits firmly with the home side going into tomorrow’s opener at the Rose Bowl, following a five-run victory in Monday’s T20. The world cup down under 6 months ago now seems a long time ago for both teams. Australia are deflated and short on confidence, while England are a rejuvenated one-day side. That said, it’s important not to forget that Australia are world champions. They’re going to be very tough opposition, irrespective of the struggles they’ve faced thus far this summer.
England have chosen to rest a few senior figures for the series, which is probably wise. James Anderson, Stuart Broad and Joe Root have all not been included, in a bid to keep them as fresh as possible following a demanding Ashes series. Alastair Cook gave way to Eoin Morgan a while ago, and England’s skipper will be hopeful of recreating some of the performances seen in the New Zealand series. He certainly has some exciting players at his disposal, with the likes of Alex Hales, David Willey and Adil Rashid at his disposal. Australia are low on confidence at the moment, and England have plenty of cricketers in their squad who should fancy themselves against the world champions.
One surprising omission from the squad is Jonny Bairstow’s. He played a match winning innings in his last ODI match, and batted well enough in the Ashes series. It seems that Sam Billings has been preferred to him, which is a bit of a surprise. Billings, while undoubtedly full of talent, has yet to make a real impression for his country. Obviously, the selectors have seen something in the Kent wicket-keeper’s game that they are very keen on, but Bairstow is certainly very unlucky to have missed out. The aforementioned trio of senior players to have missed out will have a bit of time to recooperate after a hard summer of test cricket. Anderson needs rest following a potentially dangerous injury, Broad musty be kept fresh after his successful summer, and Root’s omission is surely a ploy to ensure he doesn’t ‘burn out’. Adil rashid has been rightly included, while James Taylor also deserves this chance.
With the likes of Steve Finn, Ben Stokes and David Willey leading the bowling attack, England have a good chance to continue to trouble the Aussie batsmen. Adil Rashid has a perfect chance to stake his claim for a test call up, although he should arguably have been included at the Oval. Provided England continue to adopt a positive attitude, they should at least run Australia very close. It wasn’t hard to pick up on England’s increased positive mindset against New Zealand, as Hales, Morgan and Buttler in particular inspired scores in the high 300s and beyond. There isn’t much doubt that England will choose to adopt that sort of mentality, and the inclusion this time round of Moeen Ali will only help that. If England can perform to a similar level to that against New Zealand, they should expect to win the series.
That said, although the Aussies have struggled immensely in Test cricket this summer, the ODI series gives them a great opportunity to tale something from the tour. David Warner has the potential to be particularly destructive in the series, while Steve Smith has already demonstrated his ability to hit the white ball a long way, hitting 90 in Monday’s T20. Pat Cummins and Mitchell Starc are also very dangerous bowlers, both capable of bowling over 90 mph on a consistent basis. If Australia perform to their potential, they will win games in the series.
The best one could hope for from a neutral perspective would be both teams playing their best cricket. If that happens, this could be one of the best One Day series in England for a very long time. Both sides have explosive batsmen, dynamic all rounders and very talented bowlers. This series should be a classic.