England v Australia, NatWest Series, Old Trafford July 9, 2012

England aim to finish in style

The Preview by David Hopps

Match facts

Tuesday, July 10
Start time 1400 (1300 GMT)

Big Picture

To be as driven to succeed as this England side are under the stewardship of Andy Flower is quite an advantage in a NatWest Series which essentially means very little and where desire has to come from within. That is enough for England to start as strong favourites in the final match against Australia at Old Trafford to achieve their tenth ODI win on the trot. Whether their improvement translates into a powerful challenge in the Champions Trophy next summer or the next World Cup in Australia and New Zealand remains to be seen.

That an England v Australia series could at times feel so mundane must have been quite a shock to the administrators who foisted it upon us. It has been a series without a proper narrative, an add-on before the real business of the Ashes next summer. There has been an underlying feeling that something is not quite right.

Rarely can an England one-day victory against Australia have felt as routine as their eight-wicket victory in Chester-le-Street on Saturday, a result that put them 3-0 with only Tuesday's dead rubber at Old Trafford remaining, an Old Trafford that is in the throes of rebuilding work. Only the façade of the old pavilion remains and two new two-tier stands were still Hard Hat areas as the weather again forced both sides to practice indoors.

There was much to admire in England's Chester-le-Street performance - the destructive fast bowling of Steve Finn and the batting elegance of Ian Bell are two of the highlights that spring to mind - but Australia, in the words of their coach Mickey Arthur, had allowed themselves to be "bullied." Australia's 50-over side, he asserted, had "something missing." Old Trafford is their last chance to find it.

Form guide (Complete matches, most recent first)

England WWWWW
Australia LLLWL

Watch out for

Chris Woakes was once described by Warwickshire's director of cricket and England selector, Ashley Giles, as the player he would most like to clone. The original uncloned version is still awaiting a chance in the series. He has the ability to balance up the side at No. 8 and deserves a home debut.

Coaches might value the reliability of players who allow them to sleep at night, but Mitchell Johnson might provide some welcome unpredictability for the spectators. Johnson has been told by Arthur to increase Australia's aggression, but he only has one game to do it and admitted he has no idea whether he can flick the switch.

Team news

Do not be surprised to see England rest one, or even two, frontline players for this final match ahead of the South Africa Test series.

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 Chris Woakes, 9 James Tredwell, 10 James Anderson, 11 Steven Finn

Matthew Wade will fill the vacancy created by Shane Watson's injury while Mitchell Starc could get a chance to bring his good form for Yorkshire onto the international stage.

Australia (possible) 1 Matthew Wade (wk), 2 Dave Warner, 3 Peter Forrest, 4 Michael Clarke (capt), 5 George Bailey, 6 David Hussey, 7 Steve Smith, 8 Mitchell Johnson, 9 Clint McKay, 10 James Pattinson, 11 Mitchell Starc

Stats and trivia

  • England are looking for their 10th successive ODI win, but Graham Gooch, now England's batting coach, was captain when they won 11 in a row, a run which ended with defeat in the 1992 World Cup final although that included a no-result against Pakistan in the group stage.

  • Stuart Broad needs two wickets to reach 150 in ODIs while Alastair Cook needs 20 runs to reach 2000.

  • Australia have never lost four matches in a one-day series against England


    "Everything for me is focused towards playing Test match cricket. But at the moment it is about taking the responsibility of opening the bowling for the one-day team and trying to thrive on it."
    Steven Finn, England's fast bowler, wants a long-term spot in the Test team but is not getting carried away

    "There's maybe a bit of fire missing in our one-day side. My role in the team is I want to have that fire in the belly, get really aggressive, show them that we're serious and get on top of them. It could take a few games, it might be the next game where it all switches back on for me."
    Australia's enigma Mitchell Johnson wondering if he can switch on for the final game of the series.

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • JG2704 on July 10, 2012, 19:36 GMT

    @landl47 on (July 10 2012, 13:36 PM GMT) To be fair , although the whole series has been a team effort , I do agree that Morgan was thee difference in the 1st match. Had he not blitzed the Australian attack towards the end - with the end difference only being 18 runs - Bell and Cook's great efforts at the beginning of that inns would have counted for nothing

  • 5wombats on July 10, 2012, 19:20 GMT

    @Muttee on (July 10 2012, 13:31 PM GMT) - and how many ODI games did india lose in Zimbabwe, and in Bangladesh, and in Australia, and in South Africa, and in England? What's your point?

  • dummy4fb on July 10, 2012, 18:58 GMT

    At everyone who's pointing out the win streak 'fault' in this article you are all incorrect. Eng V Zimbabwe... well i reckon Andy Flower was on the winning side that day and he's just as English as they come, just ask Jonny Trott. It's a measure of how good England are these days that we can longer remember a time when when they were on the losing side. Simply they are brilliant and I can't quite understand that they lost that final, having won everything since..

  • praveen4honestremark on July 10, 2012, 16:40 GMT

    Australia will win this match comprehensively. Players to watch out: Hilfy, Doherty, Clarke.

  • dummy4fb on July 10, 2012, 13:57 GMT

    i would like to see aaron finch, mitchel marsh and adam voges in australian squad

  • landl47 on July 10, 2012, 13:36 GMT

    @bantersaurus: Yes, the first ODI was decided by Morgan. The second ODI was decided by Bopara. The third ODI was decided by Finn. Ian Bell has scored 41, 75 and 69. Jonathan Trott has two scores over 50 (54 and 64 not out). Swann bowled 8 overs, 1-27 in the second ODI. You see where I'm going with this?

  • Muttee on July 10, 2012, 13:31 GMT

    lol @ england lost in the world cup final only, they even lost to zimbabwe in that world cup.


  • dummy4fb on July 10, 2012, 13:12 GMT

    Mickey Arthur is probably best served by using this down-time to tweak the team for the Ashes. Time to seriously look at the one-day contracts for the next season, based on this performance. Granted, we have had to do some rebuilding, but as I said before, it's back to the bad old days of middle-order collapses and players who just aren't worth their contract money. Sad, but true.

  • dummy4fb on July 10, 2012, 13:00 GMT

    Seems like we're back to the bad old days of middle order collapses. Maybe with the rain delay, we will have a 20-20 match to decide the series. But I hope not. Mickey Arthur has his work cut out for him, I think. Our boys need a wake-up call.

  • RagTagTeam on July 10, 2012, 12:37 GMT

    I have been quite surprised at the disparity between England and Aus. Off recent form I was expecting Australia to be a very close match for England, albiet a more fragile team. Glad Starc might have a game. His stats suggest he is getting an eye for the English conditions and his control is ever improving. Currently an average of ~11 and an economy of ~6 in a T20 competition, consistently taking wickets - solid stuff..

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