England v Australia, NatWest Series, Chester-le-Street July 6, 2012

Bopara pushing for Test place

Match facts

Saturday, July 7
Start time 1045 (0945 GMT)

Big Picture

The whitewash and the No. 1 ODI ranking may have disappeared from England's immediate targets due to the rain at Edgbaston but they are still looking to earn the respect of the wider cricketing world with their unique brand of one-day cricket - a 4-0 result would go a long way to proving that their methods can bring them success.

This match is another opportunity for Ravi Bopara to cement his claims for a place in the Test XI against South Africa. He needed runs and got them in guiding England's chase at The Oval but again failed to close out the innings with a needless run-out. It is important Bopara shows consistency of form; he has two further chances to do so.

Australia have got problems because their batting has failed to cope with England's five-man attack - proving that specialists are most often the best men for the job. Australia's top order have to find a way of dealing with James Anderson's swing and Steve Finn's pace in particular. The middle order will at least have some respite with Graeme Swann not playing.

But the depth of England's bowling attack could work against them if Australia can find wickets with the new ball. England's recent excellent run has been built on runs at the top of the order. If they find themselves 30 for 3, suddenly Eoin Morgan and Craig Kieswetter have different games to play - it will probably need a Brett Lee burst for that to happen.

Form guide

England WWWWW (Most recent first)
Australia LLWLT

Watch out for

Graeme Swann is one of the best spin bowlers in the world and has had a profound effect on the two completed matches in this series, particularly at The Oval where Australia struggled to get him away. That he is missing from the final two games puts pressure on his replacement, James Tredwell. He is a very dependable bowler who has stepped in for England in the past, though a match-winning 4 for 48 in a must-win game against West Indies at the 2011 World Cup constitute his only ODI wickets in five appearances.

Australia's middle order has been incredibly fragile but of the players at Nos. 5, 6 and 7 David Hussey is the most experienced and needs to be able to contribute and guide the tail. Aside from George Bailey's 65 at The Oval, when England have got through the top four there has been very little resistance and it has been left to Lee at No. 8 to try and slug a few more.

Team news

England: (possible) 1 Alastair Cook (capt), 2 Ian Bell, 3 Jonathan Trott, 4 Ravi Bopara, 5 Eoin Morgan, 6 Craig Kieswetter (wk), 7 Tim Bresnan, 8 Stuart Broad, 9 James Tredwell, 10 James Anderson, 11 Steven Finn

Australia: (possible) 1 Shane Watson, 2 Dave Warner, 3 Peter Forrest, 4 Michael Clarke (capt), 5 George Bailey, 6 David Hussey, 7 Matthew Wade (wk), 8 Brett Lee, 9 Ben Hilfenhaus/James Pattinson, 10 Clint McKay, 11 Xavier Doherty

Stats and trivia

  • These teams have played twice before at Chester-le-Street, with England's win by four wickets to prevent a 7-0 whitewash in 2009 the last meeting.

  • Australia won the other meeting on the ground by 57 runs in 2005.

  • Of the Australia team that played in 2009, only three players could reappear this year. Four of England's XI that day are likely to play again.

  • Despite the scepticism about overkill, just 200 tickets remain for this match.


    "I was involved at Headingley as well, which was washed out, with a long drive. So I'm just hoping that doesn't happen again."
    After getting called up for England's washed-out ODI against West Indies James Tredwell has had enough of the poor weather

    "You always love to beat the Poms. We didn't have the ideal start to the one-day series and I think in the last two games of the series we're definitely going to show them what we are made of."
    Australia fast bowler Ben Hilfenhaus wants to start bashing Poms again

    Alex Winter is an editorial assistant at ESPNcricinfo