Australia Searching For 50-Over Formula

Picture: Colleen Petch/
Aaron Finch can impress in Australia's colours again. Image courtesy of Petch

England has had a week to digest its 5-0 Ashes drubbing at the hands of a fired-up Australia , but the international cricket circus rolls on this weekend with game one of the ODI series in Melbourne. After running scared throughout the Tests, the tourists must be pleased with the omission of Mitchell Johnson from this match, but the quick will be well-rested by the time the teams reach the bouncier deck at the ‘Gabba.

The past few ODI series between these teams have generally gone in favour of the team that lost the Ashes. England won the tri-series, also involving New Zealand, after another 5-0 thumping in 2006-07; Australia triumphed 6-1 in the limited overs series in 2009 after surrendering the urn in the UK; the green and gold registered the same scoreline at home in 2010-11; while Michael Clarke’s men came up trumps in the most recent contest earlier this year 2-1 with a pair of no result finishes.

Whether England can recover from its Ashes embarrassment to keep that streak going is another matter. Fresh faces, as shown during the Test series, should help. Ben Stokes was England’s best player in his maiden battle with the old enemy, and he already has a five-for to his name against Australia. Jos Buttler showed off his power-hitting in the Big Bash with the Renegades last month, and Australia knows what he’s capable of after getting his side home with three balls to spare with 65 off 48 balls in the ODI at Cardiff in September. His strike-rate in this form of the game is an amazing 126 runs per 100 balls.

Clarke and George Bailey were the most consistent run-scorers in the Natwest Series earlier this year, but it was Shane Watson who played the best innings with his jaw-dropping 143 off 107 deliveries in Southampton to seal the series win. Hampshire’s home was a happy hunting ground for Aussie top order players as that was the venue where Aaron Finch smashed an international T20 record of 156 off 63 just a few weeks prior. Finch backed that up with 148 against Scotland in a 50-over match a few days later, but he is yet to really announce himself in this form of the game on the big stage. He made just 105 runs in seven innings last summer against Sri Lanka and the West Indies. He and Shaun Marsh – who averaged 76 in domestic limited overs matches at the start of the summer – have the chance to almost lock down top order spots heading in to the 2015 World Cup, although David Warner gets first crack over the West Australian in this match.

James Pattinson is likely to miss out on the XI and will have to wait another few days before re-starting his international career.  Melbourne Stars BBL teammates James Faulkner and Clint McKay have been Australia’s best bowlers in the last two ODI series taking 12 and 11 wickets, respectively. Australia has won six of its last eight matches at the MCG and six of its last seven there against England.

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