3 Reasons why England can pip Australia in the ODI Series
Five months after Australia were handed down a 4-1 beating by England, they take on their Ashes rivals yet again in a five-match ODI series beginning June 13. Not only is the venue changed from last time around but also the face of Australian cricket has changed a lot since then. There has been a vast shift in and around the Cricket Australia circuit resulting from the now in-famous Australia-South Africa Test series.
The team from Down Under are five-time World Cup Winners and when it comes to the 50-over format, they can instil fear in any opposition they face. Australia enjoy a healthy win record against the English team having 81 wins in 142 matches against them. They even boast of having a more than 50% win record in England.
While England are sitting pretty at the No.1 position in the ICC ODI Team Rankings owing to their 3-2 win against the Blackcaps, 4-1 win against Australia, and 4-0 series win against the West Indies, Australia are languishing at No. 5 in the Rankings.
However, the English got a shocker when the team from Scotland handed the favourites a 6-run thumping on Sunday.
Despite that, England still head into Wednesday's clash as series favourites and here are 3 reasons why:
#1 Shift in the reigns might leave Australia hanging
In the aftermath of the 'Sandpaper Gate' scandal, Australia's then captain, Steve Smith and vice-captain, David Warner were handed one-year bans from international and domestic cricket.
Warner has been a dominant force at the top of the order, providing the Aussie batting line-up flying starts and while Steve Smith might not look as invincible when he plays the shorter format as he does when he dons the whites, he is still a central part of Australia's ODI setup. His experience as a captain and in the middle-order will be dearly missed by the Kangaroos when they take on the No.1 ODI team.
Additionally, coach Darren Lehmann stepped down from his position after the completion of the Aus-SA Test series and the celebrated former Aussie batsman Justin Langer was offered to hold the office.
Now in a remarkable comeback, the 33-year old Tim Paine has been asked to lead this new-look Australian team on the field.
While one shouldn't count their eggs before they are hatched, the first assignment for this young team looks rather demanding where they visit the English team which has had an upper hand over them lately.
Now, will this Australian team sans their known stalwarts hold true to their strong-willed, unabashed playing ways while the entire world has eyes on them eighty days after the 'Sandpaper Gate'? Time will tell.