Our Prediction: Australia to win, 1.53 Bet on Australia to win for Real Money
The Ashes Test matches that just played out were extremely one-sided and did not do much to suggest that the two teams were on an even footing before the series. The same is true now for the One Day International leg of the series. Both Australia and England are tied for ranking points and separated only by decimal places. They are at 3 and 4 in the rankings respectively and are generally considered one of the better teams to be playing ODI cricket at the moment. Can the England ODI team finally step up and compete in this form of the game?
The Australian team would be full of confidence after their crushing victory in the Ashes but the same may not necessarily translate into the ODI game. Australia’s last three major ODI outings have ended in failure as they lost 2-0 to New Zealand, fared poorly in the Champions Trophy, and then lost to India 4-1 most recently. They also lost 5-0 to South Africa just over a year ago.
All of these results came away from home and they are a much better side at home.
The batting will depend on David Warner and Aaron Finch to provide them a strong start followed by a strong middle order led by the captain Steve Smith himself. If there is one name that the English bowlers will dread hearing then its Steve Smith after the number of runs he has just scored in the test matches.
He is, however, not as dominant in the shorter formats of the game. Smith will be tested as he tried to find a new identity for this team. A couple of interesting selections have been made by Australia for this series, like that of Cameron White.
He is in good form in the BBL but at his age players like Darcy Short and Ashton Turner would have felt hard done by at being ignored for national team duties.
The bowling for Australia is very strong. Mitchell Starc is probably the best fast bowler in the world at ODI cricket. Pat Cummins, Andrew Tye, Jhye Richardson, Josh Hazelwood, Adam Zampa, and the two all-rounders make it a hard selection for Steve Smith.
We think that Smith will persist with the same set of fast bowlers as the test series and leave Tye, and Richardson out for the time being. Frankly, fitting Cameron White in the team is also not going to be easy when Mitchell Marsh and Marcus Stoinis have been in excellent form as well.
This problem of plenty for Australia suggests that they are about to embark on an upward journey when it comes to ODI cricket.
A new captain and some new faces in the squad will give England some much needed freshness ahead of this testing ODI series. They started off well by cantering to an easy victory in the warm-up match and will be glad that almost all their batsmen got some valuable time in the middle.
England also has a few important calls to make ahead of the first ODI. We are assuming that Joe Root, who did not play in the warm-up fixture, will be fit and be available for the first match. This means that only two of Bairstow, Roy, and Hales can play.
Going by the previous selection policy of the team management, Jason Roy and Jonny Bairstow will get the nod but we would actually love to see Hales at the top of the order with Bairstow. Hales is the kind of batsman that can really take the game to the opposition, scores big hundreds when he gets in, and can clear the boundary with ease against the spinners.
Jason Roy has also just had a terrible BBL for the Sydney Sixers.
A look at the last few series suggests that England should not be looking to change too much from what they have been doing. They won a tough series against South Africa 2-1, beat the West Indies twice, competed admirably in India and were barely tested against Ireland.
Australia is going to be a whole different level of challenge but the confidence of winning is something that this ODI team carries with it. The captaincy of Eoin Morgan is also going to make a huge difference to the approach of this team. He has been the catalyst behind England’s transformation from an ODI punching bag into a team to be reckoned with.
Players like Morgan, Buttler, Billings, Roy, Malan, Ali and Root can all take the game to the opposition. England needs to be aggressive from the outset and put Australia on the backfoot otherwise they could find themselves in a similar position to the test team by always having to catch up.
The England bowling has come in for a lot of scrutiny but the contained nature of ODI cricket should suit them better. Chris Woakes, David Willey, Adil Rashid, Moeen Ali, and Liam Plunkett would be our first choice bowlers to start out with.
Rashid, especially, can challenge the Australian batsmen if he gets into the grove early.
We genuinely believe that England is going to compete better than they did in the test matches and might slide some important wins past Australia in this 5 match ODI series.
It has been raining a fair bit in Melbourne but the forecast for match day is better. A 20% chance of rain has been predicted that recedes as the day progresses so we should be able to get a full match in without any trouble.
The drop-in pitch at the MCG is almost certain to be flat as a road and offer very little for the bowlers. We could witness a 300+ total being scored in both innings quite easily.
England has won 3 out of the last 5 matches against Australia in the ODI format. Their last victory in the Champions Trophy was very comprehensive as well. Things are going to be a lot more difficult in Australia, though, and we recommend sticking with Australia for the start of the series.
Australia to win.
Winner: Australia, 1.53 @ Bet on Australia now