ENG v AUS: 1st ODI, Preview- Paine-ful Australia in sight for salvation after tampering debacle

Australia lost their previous bilateral ODI series by 4-1 versus England,

Tim Paine & Eoin Morgan
Australian Captain Tim Paine and England Captain Eoin Morgan stand with the trophy. (Photo by Stephen Pond/Getty Images)

Back in March, Australian cricket’s heart was ripped apart when the ball-tampering catastrophe left them in utter disarray. Two of their stalwarts in Steve Smith and David Warner were slapped with suspensions and the team has been rummaging for breathing space ever since. Following the step down of Darren Lehmann and James Sutherland, the complexion of their cricket has altered drastically.

On Wednesday, the jaded side will cross swords with their Ashes rival- England, against whom they stuttered to a 4-1 defeat the last time these two teams met in a bilateral series earlier this year. Tim Paine-the newly appointed ODI captain, apart from putting on a show, will have the daunting task of salvaging the nation’s lost pride, which won’t be a cakewalk by any stretch of the imagination.

Eoin Morgan’s men slumped to a shock-defeat versus Scotland and would be keen to steady their ship. Their bowlers can’t afford another lacklustre outing against a lineup, which still looks a formidable one. The opening contest at the Kennington Oval is expected to be a crackerjack and the age-old rivalry between the antagonists is expected to ooze on the 22-yards.

Toss: Australia won the toss and opted to bat

Australia (Playing XI): Aaron Finch, Travis Head, Shaun Marsh, Glenn Maxwell, Marcus Stoinis, Tim Paine(w/c), Ashton Agar, Michael Neser, Andrew Tye, Kane Richardson, Billy Stanlake

England (Playing XI): Jason Roy, Jonny Bairstow, Alex Hales, Joe Root, Eoin Morgan(c), Jos Buttler(w), Moeen Ali, David Willey, Liam Plunkett, Adil Rashid, Mark Wood

Team Combination

England

England, despite their humiliating defeat against the Scotts, won’t be tinkering much with the lineup. Jos Buttler, who didn’t play their last ODI, should come in for Sam Billings. Jonathan Bairstow and Jason Roy are the openers. Alex Hales was sent at number three last time and he didn’t disappoint. Joe Root’s experience will lend solidity to the batting in the middle order.

Moeen Ali, David Willey and Liam Plunkett’s roles down the order can’t be undermined by any means. The bowling lineup has Mark Wood and Plunkett as the right-arm seamers. Willey’s left-arm seam will also be one to look out for. The onus of the spin-bowling department will be on Adil Rashid and Moeen Ali. Root’s part-time off-breaks may also be used.

Australia

Travis Head scored a masterful ton in one of the warm-up matches and will open. D’Arcy Short couldn’t quite hit his straps at the same time, but the management is likely to persist with him. Shaun Marsh and Aaron Finch are expected to be the backbone of the middle-order. Meanwhile, Glenn Maxwell would want to make the most of yet another opportunity.

Marcus Stoinis has been in prime form and will need to bring forth his prowess in the first match. Michael Nesser may get his first ODI cap as hinted by Justin Langer, the head coach. Andrew Tye’s form warrants him a place in the eleven as well. Ashton Agar is the lone spinner along with the part-timers of Glenn Maxwell. Kane Richardson also has to be on top of his game.

Focus will be on

Jonathan Bairstow- England

Bairstow became the first Englishman to notch three consecutive double centuries in ODIs. Hence, it won’t be bewildering if the hosts bank on him to guide them through. He was stupendous last time around and will want to carry forward the momentum in tomorrow’s match as well. A brisk start from Bairstow may just be the tonic for Morgan’s boys to have a lid over the visitors.

Travis Head- Australia  

Head caned the Middlesex bowling in the second practice match and notched a century. He is one of the more experienced batsmen and Australia will look up to the youngster to deliver in the first match. He has been in an out of the team and a decent show with the willow may help him cement his position in the lineup.

Head to Head

Played- 142, England 56, Australia- 81, Tie/NR- 5

In England

Played- 63, England 29, Australia- 30, Tie/NR- 4

Broadcast details– Sony Six, Sony Six HD

Online– Sony LIV

Match Timings: 17:30 IST, 12:00 GMT

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