Australia come to England for their first international tour since the infamous events of Cape Town in March, which saw them lose captain Steve Smith, vice-captain David Warner, and promising young batsman Cameron Bancroft to bans for match-fixing.
Coach Darren Lehmann has since resigned, and with former test player Justin Langer now installed as his replacement, and the side led by Tim Paine, it is a new-look team that has arrived to play this five-match ODI series. The team has also been significantly weakened by the loss to injury of three key bowlers – Mitchell Starc, Pat Cummins and Josh Hazlewood all miss out this time round.
New coach Langer is hoping, therefore, that an injection of fresh faces will hope turn round what has been a fairly dismal recent record in ODI cricket.
In the bowling department, there is Queensland quick Billy Stanlake, Kane Richardson and his namesake Jhye, as well as Andrew Tye, who won the Purple Cap in this year’s IPL. Ashton Agar will provide the spin option.
The batting offers plenty of hope for Australian fans with the likes of Aaron Finch, D’Arcy Short and Travis Head, although supporters will be hoping that Glenn Maxwell can play his way out of his current woeful run of form.
Above all, fans will be interested in how the Australians behave on the pitch, with Paine promising a change of attitude, whilst maintaining that the team will keep sledging their opponents.
England are the number one ODI ranked team in the world currently, but suffered a humiliation at the weekend when they were beaten by Scotland in a warm-up match.
They are also missing two of their most consistent performers in Ben Stokes and Chris Woakes, who are both injured, and, if the bowlers perform as poorly as they did against the Scots, the Australian batsmen will have a field day. However, their batting should be strengthened by the addition of Jos Buttler, and, playing in home conditions, they will start favourites.
The last time the two sides met in a one-day series in Australia, England won 4 – 1. It would not be a big surprise if a similar score line emerged at the end of these five matches.
Proceedings get underway at The Oval on Wednesday.
England v Australia 1st ODI Tips:
England to win