England v Australia First ODI Betting: Aussies could shade it in the field

Aaron Finch
Finch has a fine record against England

Ed Hawkins previews the first of five clashes between the old rivals and is ready to take on England at The Oval on Wednesday...

"Finch averages 55 against them with five tons and four fifties in 19 innings"

England v Australia
Wednesday June 13 13.00
TV: live on Sky Sports

England unconvincing

Has anyone else been taken by surprise by the apparent lack of condemnation or concern at England's humiliation by Scotland in Edinburgh on Sunday? Perhaps those who have not felt it keenly are unaware of the prohibitive prices about this England team these days in ODI.

The supposed best side in the world got off Scot free with excuses which included, from notable commentators, that the "pitch was a road" and that "Scotland shaded it".

That doesn't wash here. England should have had the ability to chase 400-410 on that wicket - and with small boundaries - against a Scotland team which failed to qualify for the World Cup. No excuses. Not that that's the point. They shouldn't have conceded 371 in the first place.

There is an alarming lack of nous with the ball on England's part. It keeps happening. England have conceded more than 304 10 times in 31 occasions bowling first since the last World Cup. They have won half of those matches. It's not a great record for a 1.684/6 shot is it?

England can bat. Boy, they can bat. But for some time we've wondered whether they have to be taken on because they are all brawn and no brains.

It doesn't help that Ben Stokes and Chris Woakes, two canny bowlers, are missing from this team. They could play at some point in the series, though.

Aussies might have edge with ball

Australia have suffered a player drain which few sides would be able to cope with. The loss of Steve Smith, David Warner and Cameron Bancroft is, of course, self-inflicted. And it's a shame that their battery of pacers - Mitch Starc, Josh Hazlewood and Pat Cummins - are missing too with injury.

But as Ashton Agar said on Monday, England's defeat by the Scots redresses the balance somewhat and the notion that this is going to be a one-sided affair has suddenly gone up in smoke.

Hell, Australia might even have the edge with the ball. In Agar and Nathan Lyon they will reckon they have the game-changers. England can't boast a spin duo like that. Nor do they have the skill and variation of the likes of the brilliant Perth duo AJ Tye and Jhye Richardson. Billy Stanlake is pretty awkward, too.

What Australia are unlikely to be able to do - as they have struggled for runs for some time now, even with Smith and Warner - is out-bat England. Aaron Finch has been a constant thorn in England's side but the likes of Travis Head, Glen Maxwell and Marcus Stoinis have consistently failed to be, well, consistent.

Hosts have to be swerved

England are 1.674/6 and Australia 2.466/4. It is almost impossible to make a case that England are the value here at those odds when they have such trouble bowling consistent line and lengths to keep batsmen quiet. So Australia are the bet.

We're not saying Australia are world beaters, by the way, nor are they likely to have morphed into something especially wonderful following the transgressions of Smith et al, but they should be capable of showing plenty of gumption.

We could try to be cute by betting Australia only in a chase because, as we have always said, England are brilliant batting second. But the value pre-toss is easily Australia.

Bairstow in fine form

Against Scotland continued his terrific run of form as opener with another century and he is the rightful 13/5 jolly with Betfair Sportsbook. Joe Root, who has the best average at the ground of his team-mates, is 3/1. Eoin Morgan, next best, is 11/2. We always have a soft spot for Jos Buttler at prices like 6/1.

Finch could fly

Finch should be all the rage here at 7/2 given his record against England. He averages 55 against them with five tons and four fifties in 19 innings. It is worth mentioning that he is 17/2 with Betfair Sportsbook for top match batsman and 10/1 for the man of the match award.

Ed Hawkins P-L

2018: +14.75
2017: +12pts
2016: +18.1pts
2015: +38pts
2014: +31.5pts
2013: +25pts
Based only on available prices. Does not include back-to-lay in-running match advice or commission rate. Figures 2013-2016 on 1pt level stakes. New points system (0.5pt-5) introduced for 2017. Includes Hawk-Eye stats column p-l

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