After a 179 run win over Essex on Tuesday, the Australians are all set to face arch rivals, England at home in what will be a bitterly fought five match ODI series starting with the first match tomorrow at Lords. The home side just defeated the West Indies, but will find tougher competition in the Aussies who have already notched a couple of victories in their practice games on this rain affected tour so far.
June 29, Lords, London
Starting Time: 1045 Local Time (0945 GMT time)
The pitch at Lords, just like any English pitch offers assistance to the seamers. After the initial over’s run scoring shouldn’t be too difficult. On this pitch, 275 should be a par score.
England’s selectors named the same squad which played the ODIs against West Indies.
Alastair Cook(captain), James Anderson, Jonny Bairstow, Ian Bell, Ravi Bopara, Tim Bresnan, Stuart Broad, Jade Dernbach, Steven Finn, Craig Kieswetter, Eoin Morgan, Samit Patel, Graeme Swann and Jonathan Trott.
David Warner, Shane Watson, George Bailey, Michael Clarke (c), David Hussey, Mathew Wade (wk), Steve Smith, Peter Forrest, Brett Lee, Mitchell Johnson, James Pattinson, Patt Cummins, Ben Hilfenhaus, Clint McKay, Xavier Doherty.
Brett Lee vs Graeme Swann
After bowling a devastating opening spell against Ireland, Brett Lee will go into the Lord’s game high on confidence. His record at this ground is nothing short of impressive. With 17 wickets in 6 matches at Lords, he has a miserly average of just 13.82. Add to that the assistance for seamers early on, Lee is definitely the dangerman for the Englishmen.
Not too far behind Lee’s record is Graeme Swanns 15 wicket tally in the same number of matches at this ground. Run scoring in the middle overs against this crafty off spinner will not be easy.
Both these players will have a very important role to play for their side if they are to restrict the opposition batting to a low score.
How the two teams stand
Completing a dominating win against the West Indies, England is looking to make steady progress in ODIs.
Kevin Pieterson’s retirement from the shorter formats may have come as a surprise, but things couldn’t look brighter for England with their openers Cook and Bell in great form, supported by Trott who can play a long innings, and the firepower of players like Bopara, Kieswetter and Morgan. In the bowling department, they are blessed with some world class talent. “We’re confident having five specialist bowlers is the correct gameplan. It means that, whenever I throw the ball to someone, he is a world-class bowler.”; said the England captain Alistair Cook.
Australia is still ranked world’s number 1 in the ODIs. Going by their current form in the tour openers, they are likely to remain on top for a while longer. Like the home side, the Australian openers are extremely gifted too. Dave Warner, who made big runs in the tour openers, joined by Shane Watson, can destroy the opposition bowling in a matter of a few overs. The visitors will miss veteran Mike Hussey, but they are not short of replacements with names like Steve Smith and George Bailey in their ranks. Their bowling looks in top form as well, led by the raw pace of the Lee and Cummins, whose pace was too much to handle for most Essex batsmen in Tuesday’s encounter.
It will be interesting to see which team goes one up in this series on Friday.