England completed the formalities in game one of the series at The Oval despite a resurgent Australian outfit inching their way back into the contest after a disappointing batting performance. Australia’s woes against spin bowling continue to haunt them, both Moeen Ali and Adil Rashid comprehensively beating the visitors top order which left them vulnerable from the get-go.
Heading to Cardiff with a 1-0 lead in the series, England well and truly know that they’ve already got the Aussies on the ropes despite being early stages still. Without two of their most prolific run scorers, England were able to expose Australia’s top order big time as the wickets continued to fall regularly before their middle order was forced to batten down the hatches for a while. The big picture in the series revolves around England’s spinners and Australia’s batsmen, if they continue to cause grief for the visitors this series is a forgone conclusion. Moeen Ali who isn’t renowned for taking more than one wicket a game managed to accumulate 3/43 in the first ODI, that spells big trouble for Australia in anyone’s language. Leggy-Adil Rashid who tends to turn the ball a lot more than his partner in crime is renowned for taking multiple wickets more often than not, his record against Australia is pretty promising having taken 25 wickets from 15 outings. Liam Plunkett continues to get the job done for England as that third seamer in the bowing attack, he’s viewed as one of the more consistent pace bowlers going around despite his interrupted-International career. Both Chris Woakes and Tom Curran sat out the first ODI, two skilful bowlers in this format which indicates a well-stocked bowling unit for this series. Jonny Bairstow’s string of centuries came to an end after he creamed a pull straight to Travis Head on the boundary, denying him a crack at four-consecutive tons. Bairstow may have departed the crease a bit earlier than expected, but his form with the willow remains red-hot after he smoked six boundaries in his 28 as the signs looked extremely ominous yet again. England has compiled a really well-balanced side, they’ve got plenty of striking power at the top with Roy, Hales and Bairstow followed by their most skilful batsmen in Joe Root and Eoin Morgan who put together a match winning partnership at The Oval. They could well be on their way to a series whitewash.
This new-look Australian side has plenty of upside about it, but at the same time there’s plenty of vulnerability which happened to be on display in London. As strange as it may sound, the newly-formed bowling attack didn’t look out of place despite the absence of troublesome-trio Mitchell Starc, Pat Cummins and Josh Hazlewood. Instead it was Billy Stanlake who stole the show early knocking over Jason Roy with an absolute peach to beat the outside edge and crash into the woodwork. The narrowly-built youngster also claimed the wicket of Joe Root late in the innings in a last hurrah to win the match, but it wasn’t to be. It’s hard to see Australia dropping any of the quicks, although Kane Richardson didn’t trouble the home side and was lucky to pick up Bairstow who middled it straight to a fielder patrolling the boundary. Queenslander Michael Neser was impressive on debut claiming two wickets, as well as the ever-consistent Andrew Tye who also finished with a couple to his name. Where Australia probably lose out to England in the bowling attack would be the spin department, the likes of Agar, Maxwell and Head aren’t exactly impact bowlers which might bring Nathan Lyon into the equation. He may be a reliable leader on the field, but the selection of Tim Paine has somewhat deprived South Australian wicketkeeper-batsman Alex Carey of his opportunity as a marquee ODI superstar like Jos Buttler is for England. Carey’s dominance in the BBL for the Strikers and form in the domestic one-day competition warrants selection, but with Paine captaining the side there appears to be no room for him unless he played as a specialist batsman. Travis Head scored a century in one of the warm-up games leading up to this series, so he should get another opportunity to prove his worth at the top while Aaron Finch couldn’t backup his consecutive-fifties in the practice matches. All-rounder Glenn Maxwell was at his destructive best in London consolidating his spot in the side with a solid 73-ball 62 which included two magnificent sixes, but it’s Aaron Finch who looms as a possible match winner for Australia given his X factor & experience.
RUNS, RUNS, RUNS! If Australia can’t post a total of 250+ tomorrow, they might as well fly back home now. It’s time for the senior players in the side to step up, individuals like Shaun Marsh and Aaron Finch who weren’t selected to watch the rest of their innings pan out from the pavilion must get amongst the runs. The amount of prolific run scorers in this England side suggests that they’ll head into each & every match as the outright favourites, and rightly so. Watch out for Marcus Stoinis and Travis Head, they’ve each had their fair share of glory early in their International careers and have just as much potential to go big in foreign territory such as the UK.
Top 5 fantasy picks | England | 2nd ODI | Sophia Gardens, Cardiff
- Joe Root
- Jonny Bairstow
- Adil Rashid
- Mark Wood
- Jason Roy
Wildcard pick – Jos Buttler
Top 5 fantasy picks | Australia | 2nd ODI | Sophia Gardens, Cardiff
- Aaron Finch
- Andrew Tye
- Glenn Maxwell
- Travis Head
- Billy Stanlake
Wildcard pick – Marcus Stoinis
England (possible) – 1. Jason Roy 2. Jonny Bairstow 3. Alex Hales 4. Joe Root 5. Eoin Morgan © 6. Jos Buttler (wk) 7. Moeen Ali 8. David Willey 9. Liam Plunkett 10. Adil Rashid 11. Mark Wood.
Australia (possible) – 1. Aaron Finch 2. Travis Head 3. Shaun Marsh 4. Marcus Stoinis 5. Glenn Maxwell 6. Tim Paine (c & wk) 7. Ashton Agar 8. Michael Neser 9. Andrew Tye 10. Kane Richardson/Jhye Richardson 11. Billy Stanlake.
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.