“The guys realise the sun comes up tomorrow and we get another crack at England in two days’ time,” said Tim Paine after Australia’s mauling by England at Trent Bridge. The 242-run defeat – after England had amassed 481 – was the worst Australia have ever suffered and it consigned them to a fourth consecutive bilateral series defeat. Paine called the match in Nottingham the hardest day’s cricket he has ever had. These are dark days indeed for the tourists.
Three-nil down and with the series lost, it remains to be seen whether Australia can register a consolation win in the remaining two matches, the next of which is on Thursday (June 21) at the Riverside Ground in Durham. If they can’t, England will register their first whitewash in a five match ODI series since the tour to Zimbabwe in 2001.
Eoin Morgan’s men were in a similar position during the ODI series in Australia this winter, of course. They won the first three matches at the MCG, the Gabba and the SCG but stumbled to a defeat in the fourth game of the series at Adelaide Oval when Australia reduced them to 8 for 5 batting first. That was a far better Australian team than this one and such has been the gulf in class between the two teams in this current series that it looks unlikely that Paine’s team can rouse themselves in a similar fashion.
They have been shown up in a number of areas: Australia have failed to bat their overs in any of the three matches so far; they have just taken one wicket with spin; Aaron Finch, who has ten ODI hundreds as an opener, has been used in the middle order to no effect; only three batsmen have passed 50; they won the toss and fielded at Trent Bridge; they have no left-arm seam option nor a wrist-spinner. We could go on.
Perhaps the only things that could now prevent a whitewash are English complacency or sluggishness in their bowling line-up with just a day’s break between the match in Nottingham and the game in Durham. To that end, they have called-up seamers Sam Curran and Craig Overton to bolster the squad and could make a couple of changes to their bowling line-up.
England have not played an ODI in Durham since 2015 but their recent record in the north-east is good having won five of their last six completed matches there. The last time England played Australia at the Riverside, in July 2012, they won comfortably by eight wickets although that side was based on the solidity of Alastair Cook, Ian Bell and Jonathan Trott in the top three. The difference between that team and this – as epitomised by the record-breaking display at Trent Bridge – could not be more stark.
When: Thursday June 21, 2018. 2pm BST (6:30pm IST)
Where: Emirates Riverside, Durham.
What to expect: The forecast for the match is fine and dry with sunny spells. The pitch is unlikely to allow the sort of free-scoring that England managed in Nottingham and the highest score in the Royal London One-Day Cup at the Riverside was 299.
There is likely to be at least one change to England’s bowling line-up with Jake Ball and Tom Curran in contention to replace either Liam Plunkett or David Willey who have a busy schedule coming up. After their Nottingham heroics, the batting line-up will be unchanged.
Australia could bring in off-spinner Nathan Lyon to add some experience to their attack although his one-day record is unimpressive. With no spare batsman in the squad, the only other option is for wicket-keeper Alex Carey could come into the side as a batsman with Paine keeping the gloves.
England: Eoin Morgan (c), Jos Buttler (vc), Moeen Ali, Jonny Bairstow, Jake Ball, Sam Billings, Tom Curran, Alex Hales, Liam Plunkett, Adil Rashid, Joe Root, Jason Roy, David Willey, Mark Wood, Sam Curran, Craig Overton
Australia: Tim Paine (c), 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
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