Australia have continued their average form in ODI cricket with yet another series defeat, it’s fair to say England have beaten the home side in just about every facet of the game so far. With a 3-0 deficit on their hands, the Australians head to Adelaide with no confidence whatsoever despite the ground being a happy hunting destination against visiting teams in the past.
Outplayed & outgunned, Australia’s bittersweet Ashes victory in the test series is starting to be overshadowed by their wayward-form in the Gillette ODI series. Take nothing away from the Poms, they’ve played an exciting brand of cricket which has been superior to their opposition, but Australia have really lacked that intent and flamboyancy they usually bring to the table on their home turf. In what used to be a hostile environment to walk into, this Australian side is lacking some serious fight at the moment with almost a zero-intimidation factor about them. It’s the first time in along time we’ve witnessed a lackluster-David Warner, he’s looked like a completely different batsman out in the middle in this series. Known for his aggressive nature, Warner still looks like he’s in test mode and has paid the ultimate price for not following through with his shots, Aaron Finch is a classic example of your naturally aggressive batsmen who goes after just about anything and has been rewarded for his courage against the English attack.
With Finch ruled out for the Australia Day clash in Adelaide, this is the perfect opportunity for Warner to pounce on England after a poor start to the series. Coming off back-to-back centuries and a fifty, Finch will be a costly loss having been in scintillating form at the top for Australia. Even Steve Smith looks like a completely different player against the white ball, amazing to think this man was notching up ton after ton in red ball cricket not long ago. Funnily enough, Australia have no problems in their middle order with both all-rounders Mitchell Marsh and Marcus Stoinis looking in good touch, it’s that top order that hasn’t coped well under pressure. Hometown-hero Travis Head is set to come in for the injured Aaron Finch, he would have fond memories of this ground during last years Australia day against Pakistan.
Having added Glenn Maxwell to the squad, it would be a real-positive move to replace Cameron White at No. 3 with the destructive 29-year-old, but the Australian setup just doesn’t seem to think outside the box like that which is a shame. Adelaide is a very good batting wicket, so the bowlers will again be made to work for their breakthroughs in the sweltering heat under the Adelaide sun. He didn’t take a wicket in his last outing, but boy has Mitchell Starc been impressive again. His spell at the MCG in the second ODI was something to behold, he almost got Australia back in the game single-handedly which just signifies the importance of this man. Restricting this England batting line-up has been a nightmare so far, so it appears the only way Australia can defeat the inform-visitors is with a performance like that of their own. Australia have a fairly-strong bowling attack, but England are just showing no fear which has worked a treat for them.
They may have lost the Ashes, but England are absolutely giving Australia a taste of their own medicine in the limited overs format, wrapping up the series already with two games remaining. Where was this positive intent in the test series? It’s like they’ve finally decided enough was enough and flicked the switch into overdrive, they’ve been super-impressive in the three ODI’s and have been rewarded with a series victory with two games remaining. Embarrassing Australia in front of their home crowd must be giving England some satisfaction, and that’s certainly reflected on how aggressively they’re attacking the Aussies at every possible opportunity they can get.
Everyone’s contributed with the bat so far which is a real eye opener for their opposition – Jason Roy thumped the Aussies senseless in Brisbane, Jonny Bairstow and Alex Hales made key contributions in Melbourne and Jos Buttler helped salvage an innings in Sydney which inspired England to win the match as well as the series. Other honorable mentions go to Joe Root who was brilliant in the first two games, and Chris Woakes who has been finishing innings with some scintillating stroke-play to cap off England’s dominance with the willow. Moeen Ali has once again struggled, but when you’ve got the whole team contributing massive amounts of runs, a form slump like that becomes almost irrelevant due to how successful the team has been. Conditions in Adelaide should favor Jonny Bairstow and Joe Root in particular, both are traditional batsmen who rarely play a shot outside their capabilities will be rewarded richly if they get set. Jason Roy & Alex Hales are both loose cannons, in the sense that they’re about as unpredictable as Australia’s Glenn Maxwell, they can either destroy a team on their own or flop badly.
England’s dominance with the bat has really allowed their bowling attack to bowl with some freedom, seamer Mark Wood probably dished up his best bowling performance of the series in Sydney taking the big wicket of Steve Smith who looked set to take Australia deep into the match. Not noted as a huge wicket taker, Wood finished with figures of 2/46 as his pace troubled the Australians which made him extremely hard to score off, especially when he produced the outside edge twice through to Jos Buttler. The hamstring injury to Liam Plunkett hurt the English early on, but the likes of Wood, Chris Woakes and Adil Rashid stepped up in his absence and binded together to defend their total of 302. Although expensive, you’d have to give leg-spinner Adil Rashid a massive tick so far in the series. Pitches that haven’t offered a lot to the spinners so far, Rashid has managed to take two wickets in each of his three games which has really helped England chip away at Australia’s batting order. He’ll once again be a pivotal part of England’s plans in Adelaide, they’re on the cusp of a 5-0 whitewash.
Top 4 fantasy picks | Australia | 4th ODI | Adelaide
- Steve Smith
- David Warner
- Josh Hazlewood
- Mitchell Starc
Wildcard pick – Travis Head
Top 4 fantasy picks | England | 4th ODI | Adelaide
- Jonny Bairstow
- Joe Root
- Adil Rashid
- Jason Roy
Wildcard pick – Alex Hales
Australia (possible) – 1. David Warner 2. Travis Head 3. Cameron White 4. Steve Smith (c) 5. Mitchell Marsh 6. Marcus Stoinis 7. Tim Paine (wk) 8. Pat Cummins 9. Mitchell Starc 10. Adam Zampa 11. Josh Hazlewood.
England (possible) – 1. Jason Roy 2. Jonny Bairstow 3. Alex Hales 4. Joe Root 5. Eoin Morgan (c) 6. Jos Buttler (wk) 7. Moeen Ali 8. Chris Woakes 9. Adil Rashid 10. David Willey/Tom Curran 11. Mark Wood.
Zak Varik is an Australian columnist/writer who specializes in the sports category cricket. With over four years of experience covering all sorts of cricket tournaments around the world, Zak has gained extensive knowledge in International cricket as well as domestic.
“I’ve loved watching cricket since I was about 7 years old, my childhood hero was none other than Andrew “Roy” Symonds who probably enhanced my love of the game through the years”.
Zak is now an established writer for FCN (Fantasy Cricket News) and has also previously represented other Blogs during his time as a writer.