Tuesday 20 March 2018 / 02:22 AM


The Ashes are over after Australia recorded a comprehensive 4-0 victory, which saw the urn back in Australia’s for only the second time in the past six series.

We now turn our attention to the one-day series between the arch-rivals with the first of five matches around the country to be played at the MCG this Sunday.

The Australians should be filled to the brim with confidence after their recent Ashes triumph and will look to translate success that to the white-ball arena and continue  England’s tour from hell. England, on the other hand, will be hoping for some respite in this format and aim to restore some national pride by establishing themselves as one of the premier ODI nations in the world – and there’s no better test then the current world champions.

There has been plenty of support for Glenn Maxwell, who many feel he is extremely unfortunate to not be in the ODI squad – let alone the starting eleven. Easily one of the most destructive batsmen on the planet, Maxwell has responded as well as he can to comments suggesting he is purely a limited overs specialist and that he needs to train smarter to earn a recall to the Australian setup. He leads the Sheffield Shield for runs scored (590 at 73.75 ) and has notched 155 runs in five innings for the Melbourne Stars in the Big Bash.

Despite this purple patch the Australian selectors are continuing their trend of bringing back experienced veterans who thought their international careers were over. Victorian and Melbourne Renegades star batsmen Cameron White has been selected to replace the perpetually injured Chris Lynn ahead of the mercurial Maxwell, after strong form in the Big Bash (currently second highest run scorer in BBL07 – 285 runs including three half centuries), as well as standout performances in the past five domestic one-day tournaments (1,534 runs).

Australia are likely to take the opportunity to rest up its vaunted bowling attack at stages during the series with confirmation that Josh Hazlewood would miss the first game and Pat Cummins the second. This will provide chances for Andrew Tye and Jhye Richardson to test out their skills on the international stage. Although Australia have had the wood on England this summer, they are a completely different kettle of fish in 50-over cricket.

The Poms haven’t performed as consistently in the Test arena these past few years, but head coach Trevor Bayliss has transformed England to become of the most fearsome one-day sides in the world, capable of scoring 350 with ease. The ability of each batsman to go at a good rate and be fearless regardless of the situation has put many bowling sides on the back foot. When a line-up possesses limited-overs specialists in Alex Hales, Eoin Morgan, Jason Roy and potentially Sam Billings, you can understand why. That said, they are coming up against arguably the most complete ODI bowling lineup in the game who have strangled sides regardless of the ‘ all guns blazing’ attitude.

Players to watch

Australia – Cameron White

All eyes will be on White if he makes a return to the starting XI this Sunday for the first time since January 2015. Despite being 34 years old, ‘the Bear’ is in the form of his life, notching scores of 79* 51, 3, 49* 35* and 68* for the Melbourne Renegades to average 142.5. He brings an abundance of experience with 88 one-dayers (though only two since April 2011) as well as two ODI centuries.

England – Jos Buttler

The explosive wicketkeeper-batsman currently has the record for the fastest-ever ODI century by an Englishman (46 balls) and three of England’s four fastest one-day hundreds. After a slow start for the Sydney Thunder, Buttler has found his touch in the past few games and his ability to up the anti from ball one is a tremendous asset to England. Buttler is an absolute star in the shorter formats and is generally the difference between a middling total and a huge one.

Game 1 Prediction

Even though England will attempt to score at a fast and aggressive rate, Australia’s fast bowling trio and the crafty spin of Adam Zampa will constantly chip in with wickets to halt England’s momentum and leave them short of a huge target and set one which can be chased down. If Australia bat first, they have the experience and class of Warner, Finch, Smith, Head and White capable of taking the game away from England in the first innings.

Tip: Australia by four wickets or 50 runs

Predicted Australian XI

David Warner, Aaron Finch, Steve Smith, Travis Head, Cameron White, Mitchell Marsh, Tim Paine (WK), Mitchell Starc, Pat Cummins, Adam Zampa, Jyhe Richardson

Reserves – Marcus Stoinis and Andrew Tye
Rested – Josh Hazlewood

Predicted England XI

Alex Hales, Jason Roy, Eoin Morgan, Joe Root, Jonny Bairstow, Jos Buttler, Moeen Ali, Chris Woakes, David Willey, Adil Rashid, Liam Plunkett.

Reserves – Dawid Malan, Sam Billings, Mark Wood, Tom Curran and Jake Ball.

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About the author

Nick Galea

Sport is not something that Nick would describe as a simple pastime - he lives and breathes it. With a strong passion for cricket, football and AFL, Nick hopes to bring his analytical views and love of sport to Commentary Box Sports readers and give them a different perspective to the codes we all enjoy.

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