England v Australia, Champions Trophy, Group A, Edgbaston June 7, 2013

Defending champions seek several solutions

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Match facts

Saturday, June 8, Edgbaston
Start time 1030 (0930 GMT)

Big Picture

"Australia in crisis" was how one respected English newspaper saw it after their disintegration against India in their final Champions Trophy warm-up. An irredeemable batting display saw them bowled out for 65 by India and, to make matters worse, the chronic back complaint that ruled their captain, Michael Clarke out of this match, has yet to respond to treatment. Whether it is really a crisis will become more apparent at Edgbaston on Saturday, but Australia, winners of the past two Champions Trophies, could certainly be in better shape.

Clarke therefore misses the first of 13 England v Australia clashes that will dominate a summer also containing five Tests, five ODIs and two T20s. He has not played a game since mid-March - the third Test against India - because of a weakness that has troubled him intermittently since he was 17, but he aggravated the condition on the long-haul flight from Australia. Australia should surely be looking for the best first-class flat beds they can find, even if the rest of the squad are put into cattle class.

George Bailey will stand in for Clarke with his usual affability. He can take consolation from the fact that the practice match against India will not appear in the official records because of the licence to play more than 11 players, and from a record which has seen Australia win their last six matches, including a 5-0 whitewash of West Indies.

England will find it a welcome change to be playing somebody different from New Zealand. They beat them 2-1 in New Zealand then lost by the same scoreline in England. It is time for a new challenge. It is not to decry New Zealand to observe that for many England fans the summer is about to begin for real.

Form guide

(most recent first, last five completed games)

England: WLLWW
Australia: WWWWW

Watch out for...

Jos Buttler's explosive 16-ball 47 against New Zealand at Trent Bridge earlier this week was a further indication that England have unearthed potentially one of the most gifted T20 batsmen in the world. His strike-rate is already higher than any other England player - a couple of matches from Phil Mustard apart - and as George Dobell has revealed on these pages, his latest exploits came despite worrying personal circumstances.

Australian eyes will be on David Warner more than most. After becoming embroiled in a Twitterstorm with two Australian cricket writers over his involvement in IPL, he has made ducks in both warm-up matches. His latest tweets have been very non-controversial - he has even praised Birmingham in the sunshine.

Team news

England (probable): 1 Alastair Cook (capt), 2 Ian Bell, 3 Jonathan Trott, 4 Joe Root, 5 Eoin Morgan, 6 Jos Buttler (wk), 7 Tim Bresnan/Ravi Bopara, 8 Stuart Broad, 9 Graeme Swann, 10 Steven Finn, 11 James Anderson

Australia (probable): 1 Shane Watson, 2 David Warner, 3 Phil Hughes, 4 George Bailey (capt), 5 Adam Voges, 6 Mitchell Marsh, 7 Matthew Wade (wk), 8 James Faulkner, 9 Mitchell Johnson, 10 Mitchell Starc, 11 Clint McKay

Pitch and conditions

England is enjoying one of its most settled spells of summer weather in recent years and it is set to continue over the weekend. That could negate the threat of two new balls as batting conditions are more comfortable than anticipated. The quicker bowlers will have to wait for more unsettled weather until the early part of next week, especially in Cardiff.

Stats and trivia

  • Michael Clarke's attempts to get his back into shape ahead of back-to-back Ashes series included long bushwalks near Berrima in the New South Wales southern highlands with his fitness guru Duncan Kerr.

  • Kerr's other clients include the Australian children entertainers The Wiggles and he even played drums on one of their albums.

  • Jos Buttler's innings against New Zealand had the second highest strike-rate in any ODI of 15 balls or more.

  • The only England batsman to have a higher strike-rate in T20 internationals than Buttler is Phil Mustard, the Durham wicketkeeper, and he only played twice.

Quotes

"In the past, our best was certainly the best in the world. If Australia played their best, no one could match them. And if they had an off day it was only just an off day. That's going to be our challenge for this tournament. I think the perception is we don't have that calibre of player. So out of that comes the opportunity to prove people wrong."
George Bailey, Australia's captain

"You're not going to be remembered for what happened in the warm‑up games. You're going to be remembered for what happens in the actual tournament."
England captain Alastair Cook when asked about Australia's batting collapse against India.

David Hopps is the UK editor of ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • 5wombats on June 8, 2013, 11:18 GMT

    @Martin Owen Jones (June 8, 2013, 8:21 GMT) Nice work my friend - I think you got him! The other thing that Mr Jagger may not have taken into account was the fact that England had just thrashed Australia 3-1 in the Ashes in Australia. After that - nobody cared about some pointless ODI series. OK the Aussies won that; but so what? Frankly - it was the Booby prize.

  • whofriggincares on June 8, 2013, 9:33 GMT

    As usual if england win it will be the most impressive and important win in ages and if they lose (like they did to the kiwis in the latest home series) it will be "oh we dont give a monkeys about ODI's." Truth is the english fans will say whichever format they are losing at doesnt matter. I guess that means that they didnt care about any form of cricket for about 20 years , because wins sure were few and far between in the great aussie period of dominance. @FFL is fond of mentioning the series whitewash in england a few years ago but has seemingly forgotten about the 5-0 loss in the ashes a few series ago. Oh how you would love to have a ashes whitewash to crow about. And I will take any bet that is offered that this English side which should be at the top of its game (considering squad age and experience) will go nowhere near whitewashing the aussies in England let alone in australia. It is simply not in the English cricket sides makeup and never will be.

  • vsroc on June 8, 2013, 9:20 GMT

    Posted by vsroc on (June 8,2013) Come on Australia to perform collectively well in their first match against England in Group A of CLT.

  • LALITHKURUWITA on June 8, 2013, 9:02 GMT

    It is 50-50 game. Both teams had ups and downs in the recent past. At the moment India is a bit ahead of other teams. I like to see how young Black Cap fast bowlers play tomorrow. I think NZ is better than Eng, Aus or SA.

  • dummy4fb on June 8, 2013, 8:21 GMT

    Jagger

    Remind me, what was the score the last time the two countries played again?

    I think Aus played 4 ODIs against England in the summer of 2012 and the score was?

    You obviously dont remember so remember so let me remind you

    Eng 4 - Aus 0

    and Aus were lucky to get nil

    Sort yourself out you pointless troll

  • Cricinfouser on June 8, 2013, 8:13 GMT

    Havent seen an Aussie line up as fragile as this one. If shane watson doesnt fire and if it seams around a bit they will fold under 100. How on earth can u digest the fact that G. Bailey is the Skipper and M. Hussey isnt playing. Is it also possible to imagine that the DiblyDobly mitch Marsh is playing and his brother Shaun Marsh isnt a part of the side. One can replace shaun Marsh with everyone in the top 7 apart minus Watson. The current lot of Aussie selectors will quit after a beating in champions trophy and Ashes.

  • dummy4fb on June 8, 2013, 7:27 GMT

    Come on you Aussies pick your game up! If the top order gets it right and Johnson clicks we still have a very good team, if not, well.... Really looking forward to watching Starc bowl here, get into them mate!

  • Wealwayslosethecricket on June 8, 2013, 7:25 GMT

    With such bowling talent in the squad, I'm hoping that Starc, Faulkner and Mckay finally fire collectively and perhaps take a bit of pressure of the batsmen. That said, it is paramount to Australia's tournament chances that the batsmen stand up against Jimmy Anderson and Graeme Swann in their home conditions. With Clarke out, I'm predicting Voges to be the dark horse who holds Australia's innings together- He's probably the least talked about member of the Aussie squad, but he's always there, and he has a good chance of being the difference between a collapse and a defendable score.

  • jackiethepen on June 8, 2013, 7:22 GMT

    Note: Jamshed got 50 with his captain, not Hafeez. My mistake.

  • jackiethepen on June 8, 2013, 7:16 GMT

    A lot of nonsense is being written about opening as if nothing has changed in ODIs with the new regs. The low scoring thriller between Pakistan and West Indies yesterday was a case in point. I didn't notice any fan saying that Gayle should have taken the Pakistan bowlers apart in the first few overs and get 170 runs all by himself? Gayle is the most destructive batsmen in t20 cricket and he was pinned down. Now let's move on. Jmcilhinney thinks Hales should open for England with Cook. Hales opens in t20. I think t20 cricket has addled a few brains when it comes to team selection for ODIs. You only have to have one good t20 innings and you are god's gift. There is a lot more cricket in 50 overs. A lot of early wickets fell yesterday by batsmen attacking the ball too early. Try to bear that in mind. Pakistan captain must have been groaning while he played with concentration and dedication needed. Other than his partner Hafeez (50) the next highest score was 6.

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