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January 25, 2014
Match factsJanuary 26, 2014, Adelaide
Ehantharajah: Can England console themselves by gatecrashing Australia day?
The Big picture
Witnesses to the celebrations that followed the 1987 World Cup Final tell of their delight at watching years of worry and wrinkles disappear from the glowing face of Australia's captain Allan Border as he was hoisted on the shoulders of Craig McDermott and Dean Jones in the aftermath of victory. While a lone ODI win is nothing by comparison, the effect the Perth result had on England seemed similarly transformative. Certainly Alastair Cook was suddenly speaking a lot more positively about the team, cricket and life itself having finally led his men to a win, albeit over a weakened Australian side.
Now, having spent most of the summer toying with England, the hosts have a far chirpier and enthusiastic opponent for the final match of the series at Adelaide Oval, played on Australia Day. They will be fortified by the returns of the captain Michael Clarke and the allrounder Shane Watson, a pair of inclusions that will also add some incentive to England's quest for a promising end to a wretched tour. Having beaten Australia at the WACA Ground, they would dearly like to repeat the trick against a stronger home line-up in Adelaide, on a pitch that will offer little in the way of pace or lateral movement.
For the first time this summer, the Australia must find a way to regain the momentum they had previously ridden across all eight previous encounters, a tidal wave of confidence and accomplishment that was hinted at during the ODIs in England and India but which truly began during the first Test in Brisbane. There was a profligacy about Australia's bowling in Perth that suggested a slight loss of focus, and it is the most pressing concern for the coach Darren Lehmann ahead of this fixture.
Form guide(Completed matches, most recent first)
Watch out for
The only member of Australia's bowling attack to excel at the WACA Ground, Glenn Maxwell is developing his offspin in a handy and timely manner. But it is his livewire batting that has brought Maxwell most of his career advancement to date, and he continues to wrestle with the competing instincts to attack or build. His overeager dismissal in Perth drew sharp criticism from Lehmann, who made the rare step of deliberately criticising his player in public. Given the array of strokes he possesses, and the power with which he can play them, it will take only the merest hint of better "course management" to have Maxwell frightening the life out of England's bowlers in Adelaide, and those in the series beyond.
Not unlike Darren Gough on the 1994-95 Ashes tour, Ben Stokes has been the ebullient centre of what little good cricket England have played this summer. So it was altogether fitting that he dominated the match that finally brought victory for Cook's team, his improvement in the No. 3 position after a halting first attempt in Sydney proving just as vital as his four wickets. As England's "find of the tour", Stokes will keenly want to finish off on a note of foreboding for any Australians thinking of crossing him again in 2015.
Michael Clarke and Shane Watson are back in Australia's squad for Adelaide, meaning Steve Smith and Daniel Christian are the two men expected to make way. Clint McKay is a likely inclusion in place of Mitchell Johnson, who has stayed home in Perth, while Xavier Doherty can also expect a recall.
Australia 1 Aaron Finch, 2 Shaun Marsh, 3 Shane Watson, 4 Michael Clarke (capt), 5 George Bailey, 6 Glenn Maxwell, 7 Matthew Wade (wk), 8 James Faulkner, 9 Clint McKay, 10 Nathan Coulter-Nile, 11 Xavier Doherty.
Having finally won an international match on tour, England can be expected to try to maintain their new-found confidence with an unchanged team.
England (possible) 1 Alastair Cook (capt), 2 Ian Bell, 3 Ben Stokes, 4 Gary Ballance, 5 Eoin Morgan, 6 Ravi Bopara, 7 Jos Buttler (wk), 8 Tim Bresnan, 9 Stuart Broad, 10 Chris Jordan, 11 James Tredwell.
Pitch and conditions
Adelaide's drop-in pitch should be brimful of runs though it will lack the pace of Perth. The forecast temperature for Australia Day is a dry, dusty 35 degrees.
Stats and trivia
"He (Maxwell) is a great young kid, and he realises his mistake last night. He owned up to that and he realises he's got to get better. He's an all-rounder but he's batting in the top six, so you'd say he's a batting all-rounder. But he's got to show the responsibility of that (role) at six. We know he's got that excitement and that flair and we love that about him, but we want him to understand the game better."
Darren Lehmann puts Glenn Maxwell on notice
"We always took the positive option, which in these conditions I think you have to do. There's always a bit of risk with that but you have to be good enough as a top-order batsman to make those shots."
Alastair Cook thinks aggression was key to his side's Perth win and hopes to see more of it in Adelaide
Daniel Brettig is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo. He tweets hereFeeds: Daniel Brettig
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