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September 5, 2009
Match factsSunday, September 6, 2009
One down, six to go. Australia took an early lead in the one-day series by holding off a spirited late charge from England's lower order to secure a four-run victory at The Oval. They almost let the match slip away in the closing overs, but Nathan Bracken held his nerve and Ryan Sidebottom will be the only one who can explain why he left the ball with three deliveries remaining and eight needed.
There is a real determination in the Australian side to treat this one-day series as a new chapter after the Ashes disappointment. It is an evolving unit as planning looks ahead to the 2011 World Cup and one of their newer faces, Callum Ferguson, produced a classy, unbeaten 71 to hold the innings together on Friday. Andrew Strauss admitted he hadn't seen much of him and England need to come up with some plans. Ferguson is already averaging over 50 in ODIs.
For England it was a familiar tale of frustration from the top-order as they all reached double figures without anyone passing Ravi Bopara's 49. There were a number of loose dismissals - Matt Prior top-edged a reverse sweep, Bopara fell to a lazy stumping and Owais Shah tread on his stumps - and too much was left to the lower order. However, England will take encouragement from Adil Rashid's performance. He followed an impressive bowling spell with 31 off 23 balls, to further enhance his growing reputation.
Form guide(last five matches, most recent first)
England - LWWWW
Australia - WWLWW
Watch out for…
Luke Wright has been up and down England's one-day batting line-up like a yo-yo but he has returned in a middle-order role to give the side impetus and striking power late in the innings. The early signs were promising as he gave the team a chance of chasing down 10-an-over for the final eight overs and launched the only six of the opening match when he drove Shane Watson handsomely over long off. If it hadn't been for his run-out off a no-ball England might have got over the line. Wright's bowling was limited to a single over in conditions which didn't suit his hit-the-deck style, but he needs to work on his accuracy to become a reliable option for Andrew Strauss.
Mitchell Johnson returns to the scene of his Ashes horror show. It was his first-innings display - 132 off 21 overs - in the second Test that went a long way towards costing Australia the match. He admitted to not really having a clue where it was going but, to his credit, recovered well form the ordeal despite still being short of his best. He was back at first change for the one-day series and started with three wickets at The Oval, including the key middle-order brace of Shah and Paul Collingwood, and is capable of winning a match of his own.
Joe Denly is still ruled out because of his knee injury and no cover has been called up so England's top order is unlikely to change. The two-spinner ploy also worked well at keeping a lid on Australia's scoring alongside Paul Collingwood, but their effectiveness also depends on the nature of the surface. Ryan Sidebottom wasn't quite at his best, but the variety he brings is useful for the side.
England (probable): 1 Ravi Bopara, 2 Andrew Strauss (capt), 3 Matt Prior (wk), 4 Owais Shah, 5 Paul Collingwood , 6 Luke Wright, 7 Stuart Broad, 8 Adil Rashid, 9 Graeme Swann, 10 James Anderson, 11 Ryan Sidebottom.
There seems little reason for the Australians to change a winning side. Tim Paine will hope to get off the mark this time but Cameron White's elevation to No. 3 was a success with a half century.
Australia (probable) 1 Shane Watson, 2 Tim Paine (wk), 3 Cameron White, 4 Michael Clarke (capt), 5 Callum Ferguson, 6 Michael Hussey, 7 James Hopes, 8 Mitchell Johnson, 9 Nathan Hauritz 10 Brett Lee, 11 Nathan Bracken.
Pitch and conditions
The forecast remains good even though there is an autumnal chill in the air. Lord's can usually be relied upon to produce excellent one-day surfaces while the outfield is also rapid. The pitch had a tinge of green the day before the match, but expect it to be given another trim before the action begins.
Stats and trivia
"We thought we were in control, but always at the back of our minds was what happened against South Africa. A couple of times when we thought we were in a pretty good position, they'd take the batting Powerplay and overcome us at the end."
James Hopes says Australia almost had full confidence they would hang on at The Oval.
"It was nice to perform with bat and ball but I have still got a long way to go. It has increased my confidence bowling to the Australians who are a great team. The more you play the more confidence you get and hopefully I can show that in the next game."
Adil Rashid enjoyed his performance at The Oval, but knows it is just the start.
Stats highlights from the fourth ODI between India and West Indies in Dharamsala