England renew Johnson battle
January 17, 2014, Brisbane
Start time 1.20pm (0320GMT)
The Big Picture
A few late wickets made the final result appear a little more respectable, but the first ODI at the MCG was only one thing: another thrashing for England. In the intervening days they have at least managed a victory - their first since mid-November - but apart from avoiding further embarrassment (and the resilience of the middle order) it would be foolish to read too much into the win over the Prime Minister's XI.
Five-match series at least give a team the chance to fight back, but England can't afford to leave it any longer to start giving Australia a run for their money. A chase of 270 in Melbourne was a decent ask but the home side made it look like a cakewalk. Aaron Finch and David Warner, albeit given a life each, cantered along at a merry rate against a thin-looking England attack and Stuart Broad will again be missing for this match.
The contrast between how Australia begin their innings and how England, generally, go about their efforts at the crease in the first 10 to 20 overs is stark. Alastair Cook and Ashley Giles appear steadfast in their belief that there is still room for the building-blocks of a total to be steadily put in place over the first half of the innings, arguing, with some evidence, that the middle order is where the strength lies. Still, with a World Cup staged partly here in little over a year's time they are going to have to force themselves out of their comfort zone sooner or later.
Australia just want to keep the bandwagon rolling. Cricket is not quite dominating the back pages like it was a few weeks ago (now it's the turn of the tennis) but the team are determined to keep England down. Glenn Maxwell has spoken of wiping them out in all formats while Mitchell Johnson and George Bailey scoffed at suggestions of any sympathy. It won't be getting any easier for them.
Form guide(Completed matches, most recent first)
Watch out for
Chris Jordan has made as many headlines for the friendship with Rhianna as his exploits on the field, but on a desperate tour for England his 10 overs in Melbourne were a rare bright spot. On another day he would have bagged three or four wickets. Swing, at a lively pace, is an enticing combination and in Brisbane, with the greater humidity and what should be a pitch with more bounce, he could prove a handful.
Mitchell Johnson is back. But the moustache has gone. Will the powers remain? After a post-Ashes break to chill out after his urn-winning exploits it's time to renew acquaintances with the English batsmen on the ground where it all began at the end of November. Some are new to the one-day squad, but others such as Cook, Bell and possibly Carberry will have vivid memories of what unfolded on that second day. This time Johnson only has 10 overs, although that's still enough for some significant damage.
Shane Watson has now been given the next three matches off which means Shaun Marsh should get a chance at No. 3. Johnson's return is likely to be at the expense of Nathan Coulter-Nile although the absence of Watson may make the selectors consider if they need another pace option.
Australia (possible) 1 David Warner, 2 Aaron Finch, 3 Shaun Marsh, 4 Michael Clarke (capt), 5 George Bailey, 6 Glenn Maxwell, 7 Brad Haddin (wk), 8 James Faulkner, 9 Mitchell Johnson, 10 Nathan Coulter-Nile, 11 Clint McKay
England may freshen up their top order with the likeliest change being Michael Carberry, who made 47 against the PM's XI, replacing the struggling Joe Root. The absence of Root, though, would remove an extra bowling option.
England (possible) 1 Alastair Cook (capt), 2 Ian Bell, 3 Michael Carberry, 4 Gary Ballance, 5 Eoin Morgan, 6 Ravi Bopara, 7 Jos Buttler (wk), 8 Ben Stokes, 9 Tim Bresnan, 10 Chris Jordan, 11 Boyd Rankin
Pitch and conditions
Expect good pace and carry and some swing - so pretty much as normal for the Gabba. The forecast is set fair without a significant chance of the game being disrupted by large hailstone as it was during the Test.
Stats and trivia
- The last two one-day internationals on this ground (both involving Australia and Sri Lanka) could barely have been more contrasting: in 2012 Australia made 321 for 6 and won, although Sri Lanka reached 306, then in 2013 Australia were shattered for 74 although the visitors lost six in reaching the target.
- Before that loss against Sri Lanka, Australia had won six consecutive ODIs at the Gabba
- Since his second-innings half-century in the Boxing Day Test, Alastair Cook has made 7, 7, 4 and 1
Quotes"I feel good. I've spent a bit of time in the middle, got a decent score in the first game then to get another fifty was good. I've got a bit of confidence."
Gary Ballance is starting to feel at home at international level
Andrew McGlashan is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo