Liverpool FC: Christmas Crack Me Up Challenge
With England resoundingly beaten in the Ashes, a different looking squad now takes on Australia in the forthcoming five match series.
Sunday 14th January – 3.20am GMT, Melbourne Cricket Ground
Friday 19th January – 3.20am GMT, Brisbane
Sunday 21st January – 3.20am GMT, Sydney
Friday 26th January – 3.20am GMT, Adelaide
Sunday 28th January – 3.20am GMT, new Perth Stadium
England’s one-day performances have been on the up over the last two years since their disastrous World Campaign in 2015 and they have put emphasis on playing attacking, aggressive cricket which has seen their average innings score increase almost beyond recognition.
The two sides are more evenly matched than the Test sides were and I expect it to be a very close series. Australia are 4/11 favourites to win the series but it is worth remembering they have underperformed in one-day cricket in the last couple of years. They’ve only won five of their last completed ODIs.
They do have home advantage though and You can get 13/8 for Australia to win the series 3-2 but England under Eoin Morgan are a different looking team who probably won’t have any Ashes hangovers – They are 21/10 to win the series and there are a couple of attractive bets on the correct series score – You can get 13/5 for England to win 3-2 or 17/2 for the visitors to win 4-1. It won’t be straightforward for Eoin Morgan and his team though, Australia come into this series brimming with confidence off the back of the Ashes win and there is a bit of crossover between the two sides. They’ll have to find a way, again, of getting past Steve Smith and will again be facing a battery of pace.
Alex Hales has returned to the squad after missing the last two matches of the English season because of the incident in Bristol involving Ben Stokes. He started back with a bang with a quick fire half century in the warm-up match but it’s likely he will have to sit out at least the first match. Jason Roy is the man in possession of the openers slot alongside Jonny Bairstow.
Jos Buttler has been in good form in the Big Bash League and he will have full licence during this series to play all his range of shots. In full flow, few are as destructive as Buttler.
England’s batting line-up is formidable with some big hitters Roy, Bairstow, Hales, Morgan and Buttler – any of whom on their day can be the match winner and any of whom could end up as England’s leading run scorer. Worth having a look at Jonny Bairstow ( 10/3 ) though who has moved to the role of opener and will have the most opportunity for a big score.
In the bowling department, it’s a very different look to the Test side with Mark Wood and Liam Plunkett providing pace and David Willey coming in off the back off some overs under his belt in the Big Bash League.
Adil Rashid has had a lot of success in white ball cricket and should enjoy bowling on the drier pitches in the series. Moeen Ali had a torrid time in the Ashes but has, in the past, been a key part of England’s one-day bowling line up.
Australia have made some changes to their squad. They’ve dropped big hitting Glenn Maxwell – much to the surprise of many – bringing in Chris Lynn although he is now injured and been replaced by veteran Cameron White who hasn’t played international cricket for three years. They’ll likely open with the usual destructive opening pair of David Warner and Aaron Finch whilst Tim Paine and Mitchell Marsh will provide some fire power in the middle order. Like England, Australia have a strong destructive batting line up but have been unsettled in the last 18 months and went winless in last year’s Champions Trophy – they have a bit of rebuilding to do with a slightly new look side.
In the bowling department, Australia have already announced that they will rest pace bowler Josh Hazlewood for the first ODI and Pat Cummins for the second. Mitchell Starc is expected to miss some of the series, so the seam attack may not have quite the firepower it did in the Ashes. Australia are conscious of protecting their pace trio ahead of a full programme of cricket in the coming months. It will be the duo of Jyhe Richardson and Andrew Tye who are expected to be a main part of Australia’s seam attack.
Head to BetVictor.com for full odds on the series.