After a poor batting performance, Australia will need to make amends quickly to beat a strong English side when they clash in the second One-Day International at the Sophia Gardens in Cardiff on Saturday (June 16).
With Australia’s top five only contributing 82 runs in the previous game at The Oval, the pressure is on the top order to deliver. The combination of Glenn Maxwell and Ashton Agar did give the bowlers something to defend, but it wasn’t good enough for a victory.
Australia had nine bowling options in the XI that played on Wednesday, which proved one too many in the end when they weren’t able to defend 214. They might look to drop one of them, in favour of a specialist batsman either in the form of Alex Carey or the flamboyant D’Arcy Short.
It could potentially mean a rejig to the batting order, although Australia will be wary of making sweeping changes so early in the series.
Their frailty against the spin of Adil Rashid and Moeen Ali was also on display, and an improved performance will be paramount if they would want to pose a challenge to the English.
England, on the other hand, had a wonderful day with the ball at The Oval, and would not look to change a match-winning line up. The victory also ensured they successfully put behind the loss to Scotland earlier in the month.
However, their batters looked a bit out of place against the pace and bounce of Billy Stanlake, who made an instant impact on his return to the Australian side. It meant England had to work hard to chase down a modest target, as they managed only a three-wicket win. This, despite Joe Root and Eoin Morgan scoring half-centuries.
The pitch at Sophia Gardens is a good one for the batters, with the average score at 247. An 11 am start at Cardiff might see some rain early during the game, with temperatures hovering in the early 20s.
England: Eoin Morgan (capt), Moeen Ali, Jonny Bairstow, Jake Ball, Sam Billings, Jos Buttler (wk), Tom Curran, Alex Hales, Liam Plunkett, Adil Rashid, Joe Root, Jason Roy, Ben Stokes (injured), David Willey, Mark Wood.
Australia: Tim Paine (capt, wk), Aaron Finch, Ashton Agar, Alex Carey, Travis Head, Nathan Lyon, Glenn Maxwell, Shaun Marsh, Michael Neser, Jhye Richardson, Kane Richardson, D’Arcy Short, Billy Stanlake, Marcus Stoinis, Andrew Tye.