Australia v England: First ODI Preview

Batsman faces bowler in front of packed cordon

The age-old rivalry continues, as Australia look to continue their Ashes dominance in the intermediate format of the game, at a venue that has brought them just two ODI defeats this decade.

England have not played ODI cricket since September 2017, but prior to that four-nil series win over the West Indies managed to reach the Champions Trophy semi-finals, so they shouldn't be too ring rusty.

Australia v England | Sunday, 14 January | Melbourne Cricket Ground | 5:20

To Win Match
Australia 11/20 | Tie 35/1 | England 29/20

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Australia
The hosts will have a couple of fresh faces at their disposal in seamers Andrew Tye and Jhye Richardson, who will get the chance to graduate from T20I fringe players to central figures in the ODI unit, for now.

Tye is enjoying a particularly impressive stretch of form - and his string of variations, including a trademark 'knuckle' ball - will be key. He is the man tipped to replace Josh Hazlewood, who will be rested for the series opener.

Opener Aaron Finch has pinpointed the need to bat well through the so-called 'middle' overs, when the opening batsmen have come and gone and the rest of the order must capitalise. Travis Head will need to lead by example.

The home side have made a big call in recalling Cameron White as a replacement for the injured Chris Lynn. Preferred to frontrunner Glenn Maxwell and outside possibility Matthew Wade, White has to deliver.

The Aussies have won 13 of their last 15 ODIs at the Melbourne Cricket Ground, but will be mindful that one of those defeats was as recently as January 2017, when Pakistan came up trumps. Yesteryear's mistakes, indeed, demand correction.

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England
The English will draw confidence from Thursday's victory over a Cricket Australia XI in Sydney, where the hard-hitting Alex Hales and Eoin Morgan enjoyed fruitful time at the crease. Big Bash League duo Sam Bilings and Jos Buttler, meanwhile, are not short on game time.

All-rounder Ben Stokes, predictably, has been withdrawn from the squad - and batsman Dawid Malan named as a replacement. The selection of a specialist batsman rather than another all-rounder will place significant pressure on the talented Chris Woakes and David Willey to perform with bat and ball.

England have never won a bilateral ODI series in Australia and last won an ODI at the MCG in 2007. Recent success against the West Indies and during the Champions Trophy, though, suggest they're more equipped than ever to beat the Aussies at home.

They are tending to a few off-field issues - coach Trevor Bayliss' statement on his future, Test captain Joe Root's illness and Stokes' trouble with the law - but have to put these aside in Melbourne and beyond.

Wet weather might interfere with Sunday's fixture, if the 40 percent chance of rain forecast for Saturday hangs around for longer. Showers are predicted for Friday, too, so the toss-winning captain should bowl first to take advantage of a deck that has sweated under covers.

Verdict: Australia 11/20
England's extended stay in Australasia, which will also feature a T20 tri-series with and Tests against New Zealand, won't enjoy its first win yet, but it'll come soon enough.

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Written by Jonhenry Wilson for Hollywoodbets

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