Matthew Wade gets an opportunity with the bat and gloves in the 4th ODI. Image courtesy of dailypostindia.com/AFP
Given how easily Australia has accounted for England in all forms of cricket this summer, it’s almost as though the selectors are letting the tourists start from scratch and giving the home side a handicap by resting four big guns for the fourth ODI at the WACA. Skipper Michael Clarke has his feet up at home in Sydney, as do Brad Haddin, Shane Watson and David Warner. Even without some of the best short-form players in the world, England still faces a monumental task in breaking its duck against the green and gold with time fast running out on this disastrous tour.
Middle order batsman and incoming captain George Bailey is still struggling with a groin injury, which kept him out of the 3rd ODI at the SCG but missing the country’s best 50-over player from the last 12 months mattered little as Australia cruised home by seven wickets with 10 overs to spare, despite chasing England’s relatively healthy target of 244 for victory. Bailey smashed an unbeaten 125 in Perth last year against the Windies in his best innings to date on home soil.
Alastair Cook has won the toss in all three one-dayers to date, and has chosen to bat on each occasion, but to date winning the coin flip is the only thing he has had any success with. He did break out of his batting slump, somewhat, in Sydney rocketing to 35 off as many balls before he fell to Nathan Coulter-Nile , who impressed with 3/47. Eoin Morgan has been the one constant in the team leading the scoring in two of three games. The innovative left-hander has registered two 50s to go with his stunning ton in Brisbane, but desperately needs some support from higher up the order.
It’s at the top of the order where Australia has really dominated in this series. With Warner, first-game centurion Aaron Finch , and Shaun Marsh all providing very healthy contributions, Australia has made the most of the first powerplay in the opening 10 overs of the match, especially in comparison to its dawdling opponent. The home side has had the higher total after 15 overs in all three matches, and England’s openers really need to find a way to break games open against the new ball. Mitchell Johnson is well rested after missing the SCG clash and will be licking his lips at lining up a gun-shy batting line-up on the bouncy WACA track. Last time he took on the Poms in the West in an ODI he ripped apart their middle order picking up the wickets of Jonathan Trott, Kevin Pietersen and Ian Bell , en route to figures of 3/18 off seven overs.
With so many stars out, Ashes hero Steve Smith gets his first chance at one-day international level for 12 months, while forgotten ‘keeper Matthew Wade also gets an opportunity. Australia has won its last six matches at the WACA.
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