Australia has started off strongly, but it will wants its middle order to get some runs in the second ODI
England might have been tipped as the favourite ahead of the five-match One-Day International series against Australia, but the visiting side provided a timely reminder of why it was the 2015 ICC Cricket World Cup champion, winning the key moments in the first game in Southampton to grab a 1-0 lead.
Now, it is up to England to redeem itself in the second ODI at Lord’s on Saturday (September 5), before Australia press its advantage further.
Riding on a new wave of ultra-aggressive batting, England took apart New Zealand in the ODI series before the Ashes. It looked the part once again during the one-off Twenty20 International, which it won by 5 runs, but Australia seemed to have learned its lessons quickly as it notched up a 59-run win on Thursday.
The architect of the victory was Matthew Wade (71 not out off 50 balls), helping Australia recover from a middle-order collapse to post a healthy 305 for 6. The other positive from the encounter was the performances of the bowlers. Relying on five medium-pacers and Glenn Maxwell’s offspin, Australia was able to bowl England out for 246.
Mitchell Starc had some trouble at the top when Jason Roy and Alex Hales took him on, but once Nathan Coulter-Nile, Pat Cummins and Shane Watson got into their stride, they were able to put the muzzle on England.
While the top order looks set with Joe Burns and David Warner upfront and Steven Smith, the skipper, to follow, the middle — comprising George Bailey, Glenn Maxwell and Shane Watson — hasn’t done enough to inspire confidence and will want to set the record straight.
At the other end, England too has a good bunch of bowlers in its ranks. Ignoring that it went for runs in the first ODI, the side with Steven Finn, Mark Wood, Chris Woakes and Ben Stokes leading the pace unit and Adil Rashid and Moeen Ali in the spin department — looks compact. Still, it’s England’s batting that Australia will be the most wary of.
Roy and Hales seemed comfortable facing the new ball and James Taylor is a steadying presence at No 3. The explosive middle order kicks off with Eoin Morgan, the England skipper, and gets progressively intense with Ben Stokes, Jos Buttler and Moeen Ali to come after. It’s safe to say that England’s batting looks formidable despite the absence of Joe Root.
Although the first match went Australia’s way by a comfortable margin, England will be expected to bounce back, and what better place to do it than at the Home of Cricket.
England: Jason Roy, Alex Hales, Moeen Ali, Eoin Morgan (capt), Jos Buttler (wk), Sam Billings, Steven Finn, Alex Hales, Liam Plunkett, Adil Rashid, Jason Roy, Ben Stokes, James Taylor, David Willey, Chris Woakes, Mark Wood.
Australia: David Warner, Shane Watson, Steve Smith (capt), Glenn Maxwell, George Bailey, Mitchell Marsh, Marcus Stoinis, Matthew Wade, Nathan Coulter-Nile, Pat Cummins, Mitchell Starc, Ashton Agar, George Bailey, Joe Burns, James Pattinson.