England should hit back if they can put Australia under pressure in a chase at Old Trafford on Sunday, says Ed Hawkins...
"A chase for Australia would be a significant test. In the last three years they have chased only five times out of 14 away from home."
England v Australia
Sunday 13 September 13:00
TV: live on Sky Sports
England will be cursing themselves for blowing a golden chance for a 1-0 lead against the old enemy. Having won the toss, the hosts were dominant after reducing Australia to 123 for five.
The turning point was Glenn Maxwell being dropped on ten by Tom Banton. Maxwell went on to top score and his 126-run partnership with Mitch Marsh put England under the sort of pressure which seemed improbable after Jofra Archer and Mark Wood had pinned down Australia.
Still, the loss of Ben Stokes was keenly felt. With only five bowlers England had to use a full ten overs from Moeen Ali who went for just shy of six an over.
As it turned out, Sam Billings, who would probably have been the man to make way for an extra bowler, made a compelling ton in a losing cause, giving England brief hope of salvaging the game. It's a stick or twist conundrum that the world champions are not used to.
Probable XI Bairstow, Roy, Root, Morgan, Buttler, Billings, Moeen, Woakes, Rashid, Archer, Wood
Starc could miss out
Australia are unlikely to get carried away with victory in game one, not least because they look set to lose Mitchell Starc to injury while Steve Smith is expected to be absent again.
The most suitable replacement for Starc could be Daniel Sams. His left-arm pace ensures the Australia pace attack has variety while he is no slouch with the bat, either. Smith may not feature in the series at all after taking a blow to the head in the nets.
They have the option to shuffle their batting order given on the match situation. A fast start from the Warner-Finch axis is likely to see Marnus Labuschagne sacrificed for Maxwell.
Probable XI Warner, Finch, Stoinis, Labuschagne, Marsh, Maxwell, Carey, Cummins, Sams, Zampa, Hazlewood.
Head-to-heads in England
Aus 294-9 (Maxwell 77, Wood 3-54) defended Eng 275-9 (Billings 118, Zampa 4-55)
Eng 226-2 (Roy 85) chased Aus 223 (Smith 85, Woakes 3-20)
Aus 285-7 (Finch 100, Woakes 2-46) defended Eng 221 (Stokes 89, Starc 4-43)
Eng 208-9 (Buttler 110*, K Richardson 3-51) chased Aus 205 (Moeen 4-46)
Eng 314-4 (Roy 110, Agar 2-48) chased Aus 310-8 (S Marsh 101, Finch 100)
Eng 481-6 (Hales 147) defended Aus 239 (Rashid 4-47)
Eng 342-8 (Roy 120) defended Aus 304 (S Marsh 131)
Overall (all conditions) last 3 years Eng 10 Aus 3
The pitch characteristics from last year's World Cup were apparent again in game one. Bat first, win. The surface appears to slow up with clean hitting harder in the second innings. The first-innings scores from that tourny read: 239-1/325-1/268-1/291-1/397-1/336-1. This is another day-nighter and Australia's success made it five wins in 12 for the de-fender.
England to defend
Eoin Morgan knows England love to chase but if he wins the toss this time he will almost certainly ask his bowlers to defend a target. The pitch is the key factor here and for all the analysis of England's subdued batting effort, any which fails to mention its sluggish nature is not worth listening to.
A chase for Australia would be a significant test. In the last three years they have chased only five times out of 14 away from home. So if the 1.8810/11 was to hold about England we would play. No rain is forecast.
Sportsbook are taking a strong view on top Australia batsman. They make Smith the 11/4 favourite. Openers Aaron Finch and David Warner are 10/3 and 7/2 respectively. That's huge on Warner. They much feel that Archer has Warner's number or that the wicket just doesn't suit his style. Billings is 7/1 for a repeat top-bat win.
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Back England batting first 1.8810/11 (2pts)