AUSTRALIA will be looking to go home with a bit of pride after losing out in the Ashes 3-0 and the recent Twenty20 series finished 1-1.
The Aussies will look to level the tour in series wins by winning the ODI series against England. The first of five ODI’s starts this Friday at 10.15am at Headingley. They then move onto Old Trafford, Edgbaston, Sophia Gardens in Cardiff and then finish off in Southampton at the Rose Bowl on the 16th September.
Australia (4/5) are marginal favourites to win the series. England (6/5) have rested various key players for this series, so they are no doubt weakened, but Ashes winners Joe Root, Jonathan Trott and Kevin Pieterson are in the squad.
Both teams prepared for this series with warm up games, with England facing Ireland and Australia against Scotland. England were put into a bit of trouble against Ireland and ironically it was Irish born players Boyd Rankin who picked up 4 wickets and Eoin Morgan who saw England over the line with his 124 not out. Morgan was helped out with a 5th wicket winning stand with Ravi Bopara who also made an unbeaten century. So those three are the only players that got any credability out of the game.
Australia on the other hand thumped minnows Scotland. Aaron Finch (4/1 top Aussie series Batsman) continues his great form after his world t20 international record score of 156 against England last week. Finch smashed the England bowlers in his impressive innings and he did the same against Scotland, hitting 148.
His opening partner, Shaun Marsh (9/2) also had a big knock with 151. Finch and Marsh will be joined with test captain Michael Clarke (7/2) who was amongst the runs in the test and so was allrounder Shane Watson (7/2) who was Australia’s top scorer in the test series. So the top 4 are in good preparation for the up and coming series.
I think Watson coming in at three will be up there among the top run scorers for the series, however Finch and Marsh opening the batting will look to captalize on England’s weak line up. England have Luke Wright and Michael Carberry who are the potential opening partnership.
Both didn’t have good games against Ireland but prior to that game they both scored big centuries for England Lions against Bangladesh and both had good domestic campaigns in the t20 and yb40 competitions.
That’s one advantage the England players have over the Australian players, despite being an in-experienced side, they have the advantage of playing domestic games as it’s the English season. Whereas most of the Australians won’t have had much game time recently.
England will be looking to drop a batsman to accommodate important players Trott (7/2 for top England Batsman), Pieterson (7/2) and Root (9/2) and it appears Wright (14/1) could be the man to miss out. Ballance and Taylor weren’t selected to play in the Australia series but played against Ireland. Carberry (9/2) may partner Root at the top of the order with Trott coming in at three and KP at 4 with Morgan (11/2) and Bopara (12/1) making up the 5 and 6 places where they battered so well against Ireland.
England will be reliant on their batsman to perform due to having to pick an in-experienced bowling attack, which could help the Australians.
Boyd Rankin (4/1 for Top England Series Bowler), who was the pick of the English bowlers against Ireland has had previous experience with Ireland but has only played one ODI for England which was against his country of birth.
Finn (3/1) is has the most international experience of the English bowlers. Rankin, Finn and the off-spinner James Tredwell (3/1) pick themselves, which would leave one other bowling slot to fill. Ravi Bopara (22/1) would fill the 5th bowler. The other bowling option is between youngsters Jamie Overton (9/1) or Chris Jordan (8/1). They were shock inclusions and England will have pick one of those and the Australians will be looking to put pressure on either one which will be picked.
The Australians have got a solid bowling attack with the likes of Mitchell Johnson (10/3 Top Australian Series Bowler), Clint McKay (3/1) and James Faulker (4/1) who made his test debut recently. They are specialist one day bowlers and have been very effective. To add to those they have leg spinner Fawad Ahmed (5/1) and young fast bowler Josh Hazelwood (7/1). Shane Watson (10/1) can also help them out on the bowling front.
I think Hazelwood will just miss out with Johnson, McKay and Faulkner a little more established and Ahmed plays as the spinner. Faulkner has impressed whilst been on tour and is a good number 8 batsman. Mitchell Johnson on his day can be a dangerous but occasionally he’s capable of bowling a little wayward.
I think there will be be some close encounters, despite England resting their main players such as Broad, Anderson, Cook and Bell, the team is still strong enough to compete, the only worry is the bowling option, whether Overton or Jordan will be able to cope with the pressure. Both are relative young and have had little international experience so I think the 3-2 correct score either side would be where the smart money would go. However, it’s quite possible a game could be rained off with it being late summer in England. So it’s a risky market.
There’s some good value on the batsman markets with Finch at 4/1 who is the form Australian one day player but Watson at 7/2 just edges it as he’s a little more experience at the International level and is quite consistent. I feel Joe Root at 9/2 is a good price, with him, Trott and Pieterson should come up with the bulk of runs.
Bowler wise, I feel James Tredwell will come up with a few wickets for England, he has been a consistent performer when he’s represented his country, however the pace of Finn and Rankin is a potential threat to Australia. For the Australian bowlers it’s quite even but I think the value is a little more with Faulkner but Ahmed and Johnson could be dangerous
- Top England Series Batsman – Joe Root 9/2
- Top England Series Bowler – James Tredwell 3/1
- Top Australian Series Batsman – Shane Watson 7/2
- Top Australian Series Bowler – James Faulkner 4/1