Australia v England, 1st ODI, Melbourne January 15, 2011

World Cup places up for grabs


Match Facts

January 16, Melbourne
Start time 14.20 (03.20 GMT)

The Big Picture

This match is being used to mark the 40th anniversary of one-day cricket, which began back on January 5, 1971 when Australia faced England at the MCG after the scheduled Test was abandoned due to rain. How times have changed. Floodlights, coloured clothes (and colour TV), white balls, Powerplays, HawkEye, the switch hit and much more. What hasn't changed, though, is Australia's desire to win and they haven't been doing a lot of it lately.

The Twenty20 victory on Friday was a welcome change of fortune and now the one-day series is the last chance to prepare before heading to the World Cup next month. But with the squads having to be named by January 19 in reality there is one game before the players will know their fate. Judging by the Australia selectors there are a few spots still up for grabs so there's plenty riding on performances at the MCG for the likes of David Hussey, Xavier Doherty and Shaun Tait.

England are a pretty settled unit after an upturn in their one-day form over the last 18 months. They will welcome back Andrew Strauss, who wasn't part of the Twenty20 squad, but he's the only change. James Anderson isn't around until the fourth match in Adelaide having popped home for a rest but Chris Woakes has already shown his ticker on his Twenty20 debut.

England's World Cup record since 1992, when they lost in the final against Pakistan, has been dire yet they are more than an outside bet this time. They beat Australia 3-2 during the English summer, which gave them some valuable hints for the Ashes, although they were rattled by the pace of Shaun Tait in the latter part of that contest. They won't want to concede any ground to Australia.

Form guide

(completed matches, most recent first)
Australia WLLLW
England WLLWW

Watch out for...

David Hussey has only played 23 ODIs in his career, and he has one more chance now. A decade ago such batsmen were part and parcel of Australia cricket, the lost generation of Stuart Law, Jamie Cox, Martin Love and the like, but given their current problems it's amazing Hussey hasn't had more opportunities. With one match remaining before the World Cup, is it do or die, or are the selectors going to take him anyway? Runs on his home ground would certainly help.

It's easy to forget that Kevin Pietersen wasn't part of England's last one-day series after being dropped against Pakistan in August. He didn't take it well, as his Twitter outburst proved, but he'll come back in wanting to show that he's a central part of England's best 50-over side. In his absence, Eoin Morgan has cemented his standing as the matchwinner and both Jonathan Trott and Ian Bell have shown enough form to warrant an extended run, but Pietersen will be vital on the subcontinent.

Team news

Is this a World Cup shoot-out? The selectors want to have a look at a few players before naming their final squad but they won't learn much from one match. Mitchell Johnson and Peter Siddle have been rested, while Nathan Hauritz was never set to play this match according to Andrew Hilditch, the chairman of selectors. It might mean that Hauritz, who remains in Sydney for now, has already earned his World Cup place and the selectors want to have another look at Xavier Doherty.

Australia 1 Shane Watson, 2 Brad Haddin (wk), 3 Michael Clarke, 4 Cameron White, 5 David Hussey, 6 Michael Hussey, 7 Steven Smith, 8 Brett Lee, 9 Xavier Doherty, 10 Doug Bollinger, 11 Shaun Tait.

England know their best one-day team, but in the absence of James Anderson (rested) and Stuart Broad (injury) there will be a chance for a combination of Ajmal Shahzad, Chris Woakes and Chris Tremlett to enhance their claims. Andrew Strauss will be back to open and lead the side after his Twenty20 break and has been one England's most consistent one-day batsman recently. The in-form Ian Bell could slot in at No. 3 meaning Kevin Pietersen at four.

England (probable) 1 Andrew Strauss, 2 Steven Davies (wk), 3 Ian Bell, 4 Kevin Pietersen, 5 Paul Collingwood, 6 Eoin Morgan, 7 Michael Yardy, 8 Tim Bresnan, 9 Graeme Swann, 10 Chris Woakes, 11 Ajmal Shahzad.

Stats and trivia

  • England haven't lost a one-day series since being beaten 6-1 by Australia after the 2009 Ashes. In that time they've beaten South Africa, Bangladesh (twice), Australia and Pakistan.

  • The two teams have met 20 times at the MCG with Australia ahead 13-6 with one abandonment, although the most recent fixture was a win for England in 2007 when they took a 1-0 lead in CB Series finals.

  • Andrew Strauss scored 806 runs at 57.57 from 14 matches in 2010

  • In the last series between the two teams Shaun Tait returned for the last three matches and took eight wickets at 12.37.


"I see them as wicket-taking bowlers. It's not a bad problem to have when you have three strike bowlers in one squad."
Michael Clarke on juggling Brett Lee, Shaun Tait and Mitchell Johnson

"Momentum heading into the World Cup's crucial. Both sides will be very up for the series and to be thinking 'ah well, we won the Ashes' will take away from our intensity."
Andrew Strauss wants his side to start afresh for the one-dayers

Andrew McGlashan is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Andrew on January 17, 2011, 4:51 GMT

    @ Gilly4ever - Tait wasn't "dumped" for MJ - Tait had back soreness. @Okakaboka - totally bias crap. Clarke is a very good ODI captain, his record is excellant. White blundered badly in the opening T20 by going with pace too often, it was clear from the way the Poms used BOTH Yardy & Swann (except for 1 over), that spin was the way to go. So he bowled 4 overs between Hussey & O'Keefe - didn't use Smith (statistically good in T20s) or himself. Also White didn't plug cow corner for the cross batting lower order.

  • Dummy4 on January 16, 2011, 11:55 GMT

    Clarke showed some form tonight wouldnt rate D Hussey he was average in the 20/20's need to look to the future, Smith isnt in real good form either is Tait i say give them a go!! WC Squad should be 1.Watson, 2. S Marsh Or D Warner 3. M Clark(C) 4. C Fergason 5. C White ( wasnt sure but was better tonight) 6. M Hussey 7. B Haddin 8. M Johnson 9. X Doherty Or N Hauritz (both in Smith out)10. B Lee 11.D Bollinger 12. S Tait 13. T Paine ( Or Marsh/Warner)14. S Smith 15. P Siddle They must have some idea what they want to do but they need to give some of these guys a go get them used to it again

  • Adrian on January 16, 2011, 3:15 GMT

    Cameron White should be captain. Otherwise, at least now that Tait has been dumped in favour of Johnson, this is a pretty good side for Australia. I'd rather Hodge instead of Clarke though and White as captain but otherwise a good chance. Provided that Clarke's captaincy is decent and Haddin doesn't stare down Doherty again, Australia should win this one.

  • John on January 16, 2011, 3:07 GMT

    It seems playing two T20s, bowling 8 overs in total, was too much for Shaun Tait, because he's injured again. I just don't see how Australia can risk playing him in the WC.

  • Rajaram on January 16, 2011, 0:39 GMT

    Simply cannot understand why the Selectors do not axe Steve Smith. He has proven to be absolutely useless - bat and ball. Australia will win the ODI world Cup. Their track record since 1987 is awesome.Winners in 1987,1999,2003,2007, and finalists in 1996. silly of anyone to discount Australia.Remember, Australia won in 1987 in INDIA!!

  • Christopher on January 16, 2011, 0:36 GMT

    This really has become the,'Who Cares' competition. In 20 overs on a rain affected ground, anybody can win. The 20/20 is a thin cover for more than 2 years of lunatics in charge. CEO James Sutherland, has moved quickly to try and distance himself from his own administrative debacle, ironically claiming that everyone else should be accountable. He recently villified Clarke and Hughes for charity breakfasts on gameday as though that caused our Ashes debacle and years of bad results. Maybe he should see it as a strong sign of player dissent. Has he explained why he reappointed the worst coach in cricket history- a coach so bad, that players are afraid to attack and play their own style, often reduced to defensive statues. The team is a doubt wracked shambles. Doherty, Beer, the dropping of Hauritz and Hodge in 08, retaining of Ponting and Hussey and North despite years of low scores, Hughes ruined, the retention of Hilfenhaus and the Tasmanian(Boon,Cox,Ponting) stranglehold on selection.

  • Hector on January 16, 2011, 0:29 GMT

    What ever way you look at it our best team is not on the park. The selectors seem to go with the logic of.......?????.....sorry, no logic is ever used. Do they pull names from a hat....and they must put NSW players names in 3 times. This explains why some NSW players that actually deserve a run don't get selected. I thought Johnston bowled much more intelligently the other night...Now, Who was talking to him...who had set the field....WHITE! Johnston took a bit of pace off his deliveries...even varied his pace more...suddenly he was not 'Spraygun Johnston'! The Captain has such an important role in all of this....White MUST be made Captain...but he also needs to find form with the bat. At the end of the day, I would rather have a failing White than a failing Clarke because Clarke IS a crap captain....(mega crap)....and White is a better fielder anyway. I wouldn't make Clarke Captain of a hopscotch team!

  • Basil on January 16, 2011, 0:04 GMT

    This is a World Cup. You don't choose a team with an eye to the future, you choose a team for NOW to win the Cup. Christian is in awesome form and not injured and should not be cut from the squad to carry Smith. If D Hussey is selected there is no need for Smith. And please, please do not bat Clarke at 3.

  • Dummy4 on January 15, 2011, 23:42 GMT

    Good chance for clarke to find form here, he has to!

  • Nick on January 15, 2011, 22:56 GMT

    1 Watson 2 Marsh 3 Hodge 4 M Hussey 5 M Hussey 6 C White 7 T Paine 8 A Finch 9 B Lee 10 D Bollinger 11 S Tait

    This be my team, i pick it because there watson who can bowl white can bowl then the and hussey 3 quicks, and if needed aus would have white paine finch to finish in the last overs in batting if needed a to boost the runrate. and bollinger deserves a chance because his been in the squad for a while was leading wicket taker and then never gets picked. he is a great bowler he deserves a chance. and i believe hodge deserves a go his been the most unlucky batsman he been around long time and scored heaps of runs but doesnt seem to get a go for aus

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