England v Australia 1st ODI Betting: Langer's vibrant new side could cause an upset

Aaron Finch
In the runs . . . Aaron Finch has made scores in both warm-up games
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Ralph Ellis looks at the shockwaves caused by England's defeat to Scotland and warns that dangers lie ahead from a young Australian team.

"To pretend that you can go from one of the most humiliating defeats in England’s history, allowing Scotland – say that again, Scotland – to rack up 371 for five in 50 overs, and then be on the top of your game three days later is a huge stretch."

My grandad loved a bet. I can remember visiting him when he was in his 90s, worrying whether he was looking after himself ok, but then going into the kitchen to find the Sporting Life spread on the table with a beer poured next to it.

Mostly he backed horses, but he got into football betting when it was still in its infancy. He followed cricket too, but always told me he had one guiding principle: "Never bet against Australia".

So quite what he'd make of England - having lost to Scotland on Sunday - being massive odds-on favourites for the One Day Series against the Aussies, that starts at The Oval on Wednesday, I can't begin to imagine.

I know that England are the number one ranked ODI side. I know that under Eoin Morgan we've made fantastic progress and changed the mindset. I know that we beat Australia 4-1 on their own patch in January.

But to pretend that you can go from one of the most humiliating defeats in England's history, allowing Scotland - say that again, Scotland - to rack up 371 for five in 50 overs, and then be on the top of your game three days later is a huge stretch.

Beware giant Billy Stanlake

Yet Morgan's side are [1.66] in the Match Odds for the day-night clash at The Oval and I can't see that's right. It should be more like even money.

This is, of course, a new and experimental Australian side. It is young and inexperienced - the fast bowlers in the squad have just 30 ODI caps between them.

But under the guidance of Justin Langer - who is now adding Ricky Ponting to his staff - they've made a promising start to their trip with two warm-up wins and are full of raw potential.

Fast bowler Billy Stanlake is the obvious danger. Until now a Twenty20 specialist, at 6ft 8ins he's the tallest cricketer ever to represent Australia and at 23 is filling out his lanky body to gain the strength to sustain his 90mph pace over longer spells.

He's looked good in the wins over both Surrey and Middlesex and will give Morgan's batsmen something very different to deal with.

Justin Langer's leadership skills

There's no Steve Smith or David Warner, for very well known reasons, but the new breed of batsmen who are taking their places are full of classic Aussie confidence.

Travis Head looks to have established himself as one of the openers after scoring 106 against Middlesex, and averages 58 in the five ODIs in which he's gone in first. Aaron Finch, also a specialist opener but likely to bat further down the order to improve the middle part of the innings, has hit 78 and 54 in his two tour knocks.

Most of all Langer has the leadership skills and personality to bring a positive attitude to a dressing room that might otherwise have still been scarred by the ball tampering scandals and resultant suspensions.

The 47-year-old is still revered in Somerset for the positive way he captained the side for two years near the end of his career, and will breathe confidence into his vibrant young team.

England, in contrast, will find themselves under huge pressure after the Scotland defeat. I know where my grandad, when he'd finished his beer, would have been putting his money.

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