First ODI – 2:00pm local time on Thursday, September 3, 2015 at the Rose Bowl, Southampton
England – $2.46 at www.Sportsbet.com
Australia – $1.67 at CrownBet.com
BOTH Australia and England will be missing some big names as the 2015 One Day International series kicks off in Hampshire this Thursday.
The home squad features only five players from the successful 2015 Ashes campaign: allrounders Moeen Ali and Ben Stokes, fast bowlers Steve Finn and Mark Wood, and wicketkeeper Jos Buttler.
Joe Root has been given a rest after claiming the Man of the Series award in the Ashes, while the likes of Stuart Broad, James Anderson and Ian Bell are out of the limited-overs picture for now as the England selectors look to the future.
The ECB has shaken things up since the Three Lions’ disastrous displays at the 2015 ICC Cricket World Cup, putting the focus firmly on youth and encouraging a more daring, aggressive brand of cricket under Eoin Morgan’s captaincy.
That policy has already begun to pay dividends, with the recent ODI series against New Zealand (which England won) being hailed as one of the most enthralling limited-overs contests ever played on British soil.
Upon unveiling the squad last week, national selector James Whitaker said: “We have made some significant progress in our limited overs cricket this summer and the next six games allow these players to continue testing themselves against one of the very best sides in the world.
“This is primarily a young group of players and the next three weeks will provide them with valuable experience as we continue to identify players who can take our limited overs cricket forward over the next four years.
“On behalf of the selectors I would like to wish Eoin Morgan and [head coach] Trevor Bayliss all the very best for what I’m sure will be a very competitive and entertaining series.”
The Australians are also looking ahead after a poor Ashes series, with three brand new faces added for the five one-dayers.
Queensland’s Joe Burns is expected to pair up with Dave Warner at the top of the order in Southampton, having impressed with a confident half-century in the one-off clash with Ireland last week.
Left-arm spinner Ashton Agar and Victorian allrounder Marcus Stoinis are also in the mix for an ODI debut after performing well for Australia A on the recent tour of India.
Stoinis’ opportunity comes at the expense of James Faulkner, who was not considered for selection after being arrested and charged with drink-driving in Manchester a few weeks ago.
Also missing from the squad which won the Cricket World Cup earlier this year is the not-quite-fit Aaron Finch, who tore his hamstring early in the 2015 Indian Premier League series, while Mitchell Johnson, Josh Hazlewood, Brad Haddin and Nathan Lyon are absent as well.
That means a recall for wicketkeeper Matthew Wade and fast bowlers Nathan Coulter-Nile and James Pattinson, while Glenn Maxwell and George Bailey have also joined the tour.
Many of those names featured in the Twenty20 clash on Monday as England kept the good times rolling with a five-run victory at Cardiff.
Steve Smith starred with 90, but the Aussies ultimately came up short after losing four wickets (including two runouts) in the last nine balls of the match.
England and Australia ODI squads
England: Eoin Morgan (C), Moeen Ali, Sam Billings, Jos Buttler, Steven Finn, Alex Hales, Liam Plunkett, Adil Rashid, Jason Roy, Ben Stokes, James Taylor, David Willey, Chris Woakes, Mark Wood.
Australia: Steven Smith (C), Ashton Agar, George Bailey, Joe Burns, Nathan Coulter-Nile, Pat Cummins, Mitchell Marsh, Glenn Maxwell, James Pattinson, Mitchell Starc, Marcus Stoinis, Matthew Wade, David Warner, Shane Watson.
Australia to win – $1.67 at CrownBet.com
England to hit most match sixes – $2.20 at Sportsbet
Australia for highest opening partnership – $1.80 at Bet365.com
England have the form and the mental edge, but we’re siding with the bookies and tipping Australia to win the opener at Southampton.
Both teams are missing big names, but the visitors seem to have that little bit more firepower with the ball with the likes of Starc, Cummins, Pattinson and Coulter-Nile to choose from.
Don’t underestimate the home side’s slogging stocks, though, as guys like Hales, Morgan, Ali and Buttler love the aerial route and should put plenty of balls over the rather modest Rose Bowl boundary.
Despite that, we prefer the known quantity of Warner and the in-form Burns over the exciting but oft erratic pair of Hales and Roy in the first-wicket partnership betting.
Best ODI odds for top batsman
England – Eoin Morgan ($5.50 at Bet365)
Morgan’s revival has epitomised England’s vast improvement in 50-over cricket since the 2015 World Cup debacle. The Irishman was terrific in the recent ODI series against New Zealand and starred with 74 in the T20 match on Monday, so his form could hardly be hotter.
Australia – Joe Burns ($5.20 at CrownBet.com)
Burns is the great white hope for an Australian side which desperately needs something to look forward to right now. The Queenslander comes in off an outstanding tour of India with Australia A and made an instant impact in his ODI debut with 69 against Ireland last week.
Value bets for best bowler
England – Ben Stokes ($6 at William Hill)
Kiwi-born Stokes is not the most economical bowler in the world, but we saw during the Ashes just how dangerous he can be when he gets it right. He’s aggressive and always looks for wickets, so don’t be surprised if he trumps England’s frontline quicks.
Australia – Mitchell Starc ($3.50 at Bet365.com)
The Aussies boast a wealth of quality young fast bowlers, but Starc is far and away the most dangerous of the lot. He played in the T20 loss at Sophia Gardens, so it would appear he has overcome the ankle problem which hampered him during the Test series.
2015 England vs Australia ODI fixtures
First ODI – Thursday, September 3 at the Rose Bowl, Southampton
Second ODI – Saturday, September 5 at Lord’s, London
Third ODI – Tuesday, September 8 at Old Trafford, Manchester
Fourth ODI – Friday, September 11 at Headingley, Leeds
Fifth ODI – Sunday, September 13 at Old Trafford, Manchester
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