Australia v England, 2nd T20, Melbourne January 30, 2014

Can Australia secure another series?

30

'Selection issues loom large for England'

Match Facts

January 31, 2014, Melbourne
Start time 1935 local (0835GMT)

Big Picture

Different format, different players, same result. That was the case in Hobart on Wednesday, when Australia's Twenty20 specialists continued England's miserable tour with a 13-run victory that was set up by a powerful batting performance. England now find themselves needing to win the second game in Melbourne to have any hope of flying home with a series win at the end of a long and arduous trip.

England's batting was reasonable enough to get them up to 200, albeit with the help of some late and futile striking from Ravi Bopara, but it was their bowling that caused the problems, unable as they were to contain Cameron White and Aaron Finch in the early stages of the match. England might also have another talented Victorian batsman to keep in check at the MCG with the recall of Brad Hodge to the side for the first time in nearly six years.

Form guide

(Completed matches, most recent first)

Australia WLLWL
England LWLLW

Watch out for

Last time Brad Hodge played a Twenty20 for his country the first season of the IPL had not even begun. Now, Hodge is the leading run-scorer of all time in Twenty20 cricket, but at 39 he believed his international career was long since finished. The cynical view of his recall would be that it might help ticket sales at his home ground, but he knows that with plenty of T20 experience in Bangladesh, he could be an attractive proposition for Australia's selectors with the World T20 to be held there in less than two months. A strong performance in this match would make him hard to ignore.

The scorecard for the first match would suggest that Ravi Bopara got England close to their target with his unbeaten 65 from 27 balls, but the reality is that his sixes came too late for England to have any hope of victory. That they came at all should be encouraging for England, though, given that Bopara struggled for batting impact during the ODI series. The question is, can he do it again?

Team news

The Melbourne fans would be disappointed if Hodge was included in the squad only to miss out, but apart from swapping him for Moises Henriques it is hard to imagine any other batting changes after the success in Hobart. Josh Hazlewood was expensive with the ball and might be under pressure from either Ben Cutting or Kane Richardson.

Australia (possible) 1 Aaron Finch, 2 Cameron White, 3 Brad Hodge, 4 Glenn Maxwell, 5 George Bailey (capt), 6 Chris Lynn, 7 Daniel Christian, 8 Matthew Wade (wk), 9 Ben Cutting, 10 Nathan Coulter-Nile, 11 James Muirhead.

Despite the fact that several key batsmen fell cheaply in Hobart, changes would appear more likely in England's attack than their top order. Danny Briggs was expensive and could be replaced by James Tredwell, while Jade Dernbach also leaked runs and could be under pressure from Ben Stokes.

England (possible) 1 Michael Lumb, 2 Alex Hales, 3 Luke Wright, 4 Joe Root, 5 Eoin Morgan, 6 Jos Buttler (wk), 7 Ravi Bopara, 8 Tim Bresnan, 9 Stuart Broad (capt), 10 Jade Dernbach/Ben Stokes, 11 James Tredwell.

Pitch and conditions

The MCG pitch should be good for batting and the forecast for Friday is clear with a top temperature of 29C.

Stats and trivia

  • Victory in Melbourne would push Australia up from eighth to sixth on the ICC rankings, meaning they would swap positions with England

  • The former Australia fast bowler Paul Wilson will make his international debut as an on-field umpire in this match

Quotes

"I don't need to call on anything else other than experience to know exactly what I can do."
Brad Hodge

Brydon Coverdale is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo. He tweets here

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • R_U_4_REAL_NICK on January 31, 2014, 12:09 GMT

    @JG2704 (post on January 30, 2014, 18:06 GMT): yes agree about Root - but if he's there England might as well use him for a few overs bowling as well. Several of the key players MUST step up and perform as you said earlier, and at the moment that just ain't happening.

    @jb633 (post on January 30, 2014, 17:08 GMT): yeah good points/observations. England just never seem to have clear bowling plans/strategies to opposing batsmen these days, and it's really costing them.

    @yorkshire-86 (post on January 30, 2014, 18:44 GMT): I disagree re. 'holding' bowlers: I think the shorter formats can allow one containing/holding bowler that seldom picks up the wickets, but consistently maintains a naggingly low economy that creates pressure and allows the other 'strike' bowlers to cash in. For a wee while Dernbach (of all bowlers) was actually quite economical and great at death bowling; I don't know what happened and why he can't seem to do that these days.

  • Living_It on January 31, 2014, 8:55 GMT

    Yep just quietly picked Australia exact team, including batting order. The previews published on this site predicting the teams for T20 matches are often very far off the mark.

    In saying that this is my favourite cricket site. Thats really one of the only flaws, as well as the general lack of knowledge for T20 matches.

  • yorkshire-86 on January 31, 2014, 7:02 GMT

    It's a 20 over game. If your top eight batsmen can't bat twenty overs, you have more than likely lost the game already.

  • on January 31, 2014, 3:02 GMT

    This is a decent team in the making. In the 1st T20 Joe Root did well but his scoring rate was too slow for what was required in the game at hand. Bopara should come up the order to see if he can reproduce that same rate and Root go down. Tredwell in for Briggs and Stokes for Dernbach and I think we have an excellent chance of winning this one. Good luck!

  • BradmanBestEver on January 31, 2014, 2:42 GMT

    Hazelwood has to be in at least one Aussie team - he is a class act but for some reason has not got the big bags of wickets.

    He will come good - i can feel it in my bones

  • CM1000 on January 31, 2014, 0:46 GMT

    @yorkshire-86. I agree they need better bowlers than Dernbach, but I don't agree that, in T20s, you can select three specialist bowlers who are all true tail-end batsmen. Imagine if they needed 25 or 30 off the last three overs and they only had Tremlett, Finn and Onions to get them? No chance.

  • Kolpak1989 on January 30, 2014, 22:34 GMT

    @Mitty2, get rid of Christian? He is a gun T20 player! Scores runs fast and bowls good tight lines that are hard to get away for more than 1. He's definitely not a test cricketer and he is borderline for ODI's, but in T20's I really rate him.

  • Digimont on January 30, 2014, 20:55 GMT

    @Mitty2, Christian is ONLY "the living embodiment of a bit-part nothing player" because that's how they use him when he's picked. He's better than Henriques in batting, bowling and fielding. Bat him at 4, give him 4 overs, then see.

  • yorkshire-86 on January 30, 2014, 18:44 GMT

    Batsmen need to learn to hit the ball where the boundary riders are not - almost all Englands runs came either as ones to the man on the fence, or sixes over him (Ever Bopara's sixes were all over fielders). They should know if they aim for six in a vacent area, if the ball dosnt go all the way they still pick up four rather than getting caught. As for the bowlers, they just arnt good enough. Root should have been given overs (he opens the bowling for Yorkshire in T20s when they got to the Champions League). Dernbach, Briggs and Bresnan arnt good enough to bowl in T20s - T20 is the game where you need the BEST bowlers you have, not 'holding' bowlers. Team should be Hales, Lumb, Wright (or KP), Root, Morgan, Buttler, Bopara, Broad, Tremlett, Finn, Onions.

  • JG2704 on January 30, 2014, 18:06 GMT

    R_U_4_REAL_NICK on (January 30, 2014, 9:43 GMT) I'd consider replacing Root (who despite looking ok surely is due a rest and they seem reluctant to bowl him right now) and Dernbach with Stokes and Tredwell. Batting top 7 might read Hales,Lumb,Wright,Morgan,Buttler,Stokes and Bopara. The latter 2 could be swapped around depending on whether Ravi is awake or not

  • R_U_4_REAL_NICK on January 31, 2014, 12:09 GMT

    @JG2704 (post on January 30, 2014, 18:06 GMT): yes agree about Root - but if he's there England might as well use him for a few overs bowling as well. Several of the key players MUST step up and perform as you said earlier, and at the moment that just ain't happening.

    @jb633 (post on January 30, 2014, 17:08 GMT): yeah good points/observations. England just never seem to have clear bowling plans/strategies to opposing batsmen these days, and it's really costing them.

    @yorkshire-86 (post on January 30, 2014, 18:44 GMT): I disagree re. 'holding' bowlers: I think the shorter formats can allow one containing/holding bowler that seldom picks up the wickets, but consistently maintains a naggingly low economy that creates pressure and allows the other 'strike' bowlers to cash in. For a wee while Dernbach (of all bowlers) was actually quite economical and great at death bowling; I don't know what happened and why he can't seem to do that these days.

  • Living_It on January 31, 2014, 8:55 GMT

    Yep just quietly picked Australia exact team, including batting order. The previews published on this site predicting the teams for T20 matches are often very far off the mark.

    In saying that this is my favourite cricket site. Thats really one of the only flaws, as well as the general lack of knowledge for T20 matches.

  • yorkshire-86 on January 31, 2014, 7:02 GMT

    It's a 20 over game. If your top eight batsmen can't bat twenty overs, you have more than likely lost the game already.

  • on January 31, 2014, 3:02 GMT

    This is a decent team in the making. In the 1st T20 Joe Root did well but his scoring rate was too slow for what was required in the game at hand. Bopara should come up the order to see if he can reproduce that same rate and Root go down. Tredwell in for Briggs and Stokes for Dernbach and I think we have an excellent chance of winning this one. Good luck!

  • BradmanBestEver on January 31, 2014, 2:42 GMT

    Hazelwood has to be in at least one Aussie team - he is a class act but for some reason has not got the big bags of wickets.

    He will come good - i can feel it in my bones

  • CM1000 on January 31, 2014, 0:46 GMT

    @yorkshire-86. I agree they need better bowlers than Dernbach, but I don't agree that, in T20s, you can select three specialist bowlers who are all true tail-end batsmen. Imagine if they needed 25 or 30 off the last three overs and they only had Tremlett, Finn and Onions to get them? No chance.

  • Kolpak1989 on January 30, 2014, 22:34 GMT

    @Mitty2, get rid of Christian? He is a gun T20 player! Scores runs fast and bowls good tight lines that are hard to get away for more than 1. He's definitely not a test cricketer and he is borderline for ODI's, but in T20's I really rate him.

  • Digimont on January 30, 2014, 20:55 GMT

    @Mitty2, Christian is ONLY "the living embodiment of a bit-part nothing player" because that's how they use him when he's picked. He's better than Henriques in batting, bowling and fielding. Bat him at 4, give him 4 overs, then see.

  • yorkshire-86 on January 30, 2014, 18:44 GMT

    Batsmen need to learn to hit the ball where the boundary riders are not - almost all Englands runs came either as ones to the man on the fence, or sixes over him (Ever Bopara's sixes were all over fielders). They should know if they aim for six in a vacent area, if the ball dosnt go all the way they still pick up four rather than getting caught. As for the bowlers, they just arnt good enough. Root should have been given overs (he opens the bowling for Yorkshire in T20s when they got to the Champions League). Dernbach, Briggs and Bresnan arnt good enough to bowl in T20s - T20 is the game where you need the BEST bowlers you have, not 'holding' bowlers. Team should be Hales, Lumb, Wright (or KP), Root, Morgan, Buttler, Bopara, Broad, Tremlett, Finn, Onions.

  • JG2704 on January 30, 2014, 18:06 GMT

    R_U_4_REAL_NICK on (January 30, 2014, 9:43 GMT) I'd consider replacing Root (who despite looking ok surely is due a rest and they seem reluctant to bowl him right now) and Dernbach with Stokes and Tredwell. Batting top 7 might read Hales,Lumb,Wright,Morgan,Buttler,Stokes and Bopara. The latter 2 could be swapped around depending on whether Ravi is awake or not

  • RoBoBobster on January 30, 2014, 17:49 GMT

    Agree Stokes for Dernbach, think Jordan for Briggs would be good, if a spinner's needed Tredwell for Bresnan. Bopara's earnt the rest of the series at least. Wright, Hales pushing for ODIs (unsure about Hales ODI skills but worth a go)

  • CodandChips on January 30, 2014, 17:31 GMT

    Ravi Bopara scoring runs last match could be a huge problem. It means he'll stay in the side for a long time, despite the fact he is not an international batsman. Still not convinced on Luke Wright either. Certainly not worthy of batting above Pietersen when he returns.

    I still feel Bresnan should have played his last match for England in any format. Briggs was once again expensive, but unlike any of the above, has played less than 10 matches. Perhaps I am biased here.

    Hopefully we'll select more than 2 bowlers tomorrow.

    From the squad- 1.Lumb 2.Hales 3.Root 4.Morgan 5.Buttler 6.Stokes 7.Bopara 8.Broad 9.Jordan 10.Briggs 11.Dernbach

    But if could select anybody (bar Willey who is injured) 1.Lumb 2.Hales 3.KP 4.Morgan 5.Buttler 6.Stokes 7.Ali 8.Broad 9.Napier 10.Jordan 11.Briggs

  • jb633 on January 30, 2014, 17:08 GMT

    @R-U-4_REAL_NICK, the problem with playing the Aussies in the shorter formats is we keep feeding their strengths. Finch has been batting brilliantly but he feasts on anything full. The guys need to keep bowling back of a length to him and stop floating two balls an over up there that he can plant over long off for 6. Get at him and White with short balls. They both comitt forward early and are excellent on the front foot. We need to set the field for back of a length and stick to it. No free balls for them to launch off the front foot.

  • on January 30, 2014, 17:03 GMT

    My xi for the world cup.watson.finch white bailey hodge lynn haddin coulternail johnson bird hogg

  • jonesy2 on January 30, 2014, 15:09 GMT

    hazlewood was expensive? are you kidding he was awesome, he set up the win with his bowling pretty much.

  • DylanBrah on January 30, 2014, 14:52 GMT

    Full strength side for World Cup: 1. Finch 2. Warner 3. Watson 4. Hodge 5. White (C) 6. Maxwell 7. Haddin 8. Faulkner 9. Starc 10. Johnson 11. Lyon - Other squad members: Coulter-Nile, Gannon, Bird, Lynn, Smith, Dunk - White is better than Bailey, so he takes over the captaincy. Deadly XI, can beat any team in the world with that top 3 + Maxy, White etc.

  • Mitty2 on January 30, 2014, 13:05 GMT

    Get rid of Christian, he's the living embodiment of a bit-part nothing player. The day he has a significant impact on a game is the day Shaun Marsh becomes consistent. Bring in Cutting, only because I like the bloke, and because Hazlewood's always expensive - Cutting is usually in white ball cricket, but at least not with the red ball! The real tipping point is cuttings batting. Glad to see Hodgey back, no comment needed as a vic fan on his selection history, but at 39 if ever there was someone more deserving it would be him. Him winning a world cup would give him some solace! Although our chances in Bangladesh are very slim.

    @living it, Cutting would be livid to be termed an all rounder, but I guess in this format with his unreliable bowling he probably would have to deal with it. Not so long ago when I was seething he wasn't selected for the Brisbane test. Still better than Richardson and Hazlewood - and not sure about Starc's fitness.

  • disco_bob on January 30, 2014, 11:31 GMT

    @AussiePhoenix, I gotta agree with you about Broad, he gets my grudging respect as well. The worst thing that could happen for Australia would be to win both of the coming T20's because that will make the pain of losing the single ODI and thus missing the triple grand slam whitewash even harder to bear. On the other hand losing the T20 series, 3 love will also let the England T20 team know that, like the Test team, they aren't as good as they like to pretend. Good luck to Hodge.

  • Big_Brother_of_Cricket on January 30, 2014, 11:28 GMT

    Great respect for always-performing Bard Hodge. However, I doubt whether Aus go with the possible eleven given here. Because, they are lacking fire power in bowling. Will they go with five bowlers Coulter-Nile, Cutting, Muirhead, Maxwell and Christian. Maxwell and Christian to me are not full qouta bowlers in T20. I would drop a batsman and go with Kane Richardson to improve the bowling attack. My eleven: Finch, White, Hodge, Maxwell, Bailey, Lynn, Wade, Cutting, Coulter-Nile, Richardson/Hazlewood, Muirhead.

  • izzidole on January 30, 2014, 11:10 GMT

    Brad Hodge's selection for the second T20 clash in Melbourne is a mystery as much as his non selection for six years despite his excellent form in all forms of the game. He is the leading run scorer in the world in T20 cricket I reckon since the appointment of Darren Lehmann as coach there's bound to be several changes which has had detrimental effect on Australian cricket for several years. Brad Hodge's selection is a typical example. Several other cricketers who have missed out will be hoping that they too can make it into the aussie cricket team now which would only enhance the quality of cricket in this country. Selections should be strictly on form and age doesn't matter. If only Lehmann came on board little earlier I guess Michael Hussey may have extended his playing future in the Australian cricket team.

  • on January 30, 2014, 11:01 GMT

    'England have never successfully chased 200 or more in T20, though they came close last year against New Zealand at The Oval.' Was written at the start of England's innings Wednesday. Well on Wednesday they did successfully chase 200, they just didn't get the or more.

  • AussiePhoenix on January 30, 2014, 10:08 GMT

    Gotta feel for Broad. Other senior players go home after a squashing summer, he needs to front up to captain. Personally I don't like praising the opposition, but Broad hs been a stand out on this tour. Bowled well most of the time, exceptional for many spells, always trying, nothing less than a 100%. Full credit to him. Even after beng injured he fronted up next game and went for it, unlike Swann. A true leader. I want to see Australia test his character further with another series white wash.

  • Manxmuppet on January 30, 2014, 9:56 GMT

    To be honest, I think Aus could pluck names out of a hat and still beat England on this tour, such is their psychological dominance. Eng may as well treat it as a bit of batting and bowling practice and stop trying to over-analyse things or try too hard. The sooner they come home the better. They need to start thinking about preparing for the next ashes series 18 weeks from now.........or is it months?

  • R_U_4_REAL_NICK on January 30, 2014, 9:43 GMT

    @Musix Nepal (post on January 30, 2014, 7:37 GMT): you've answered your own question there; if still recovering, why on Earth risk everything for a T20?

    Stokes coming in I suppose was a no-brainer; yes Briggs was expensive last game, but I still think he'd perform better operating in tandem with another spinner - even it was Root. "Pigs might fly" springs to mind, so Tredwell it will no doubt be.

    Hard task to stop this juggernaut Australian bunch. England's opening bowlers really need to concentrate on getting the Aus. openers out quicker and put more pressure on their middle order. Conversely, England's opening batsmen/top order need to hang in there for longer and stop leaving everything to the middle/lower-middle order.

  • PrasPunter on January 30, 2014, 9:38 GMT

    @HaaRiKhanal, what's the real point in a copy+paste operation ?

  • Living_It on January 30, 2014, 8:57 GMT

    i would be suprised if the Aus team was even similar to this...this would mean they would be playing 1 bowler (in his second game), a bowling allrounder in this format (coulter-nile), 2 all rounders in cutting (in this format) and chrstian and a batting allrounder in maxwell.

    Team will look more like this: 1 Finch 2 White 3 Maxwell 4 Bailey 5 Hodge 6 Lynn 7 Wade 8 Coulter-nile 9 richardson/starc 10 Hazlewood 11 Muirhead

    dropping 2 allrounders for a batter and a bolwer makes alot of sence

  • on January 30, 2014, 8:14 GMT

    Last time Brad Hodge played a Twenty20 for his country the first season of the IPL had not even begun. Now, Hodge is the leading run scorer of all time in Twenty20 cricket, but at 39 he believed his international career was long since finished. The cynical view of his recall would be that it might help ticket sales at his home ground, but he knows that with plenty of T20 experience in Bangladesh, he could be an attractive proposition for Australia's selectors with the World T20 to be held there later this year. A strong performance in this match would make him hard to ignore.

    The scorecard for the first match would suggest that Ravi Bopara got England close to their target with his unbeaten 65 from 27 balls, but the reality is that his sixes came too late for England to have any hope of victory. That they came at all should be encouraging for England, though, given that Bopara struggled for batting impact during the ODI series. The question is, can he do it again?

  • on January 30, 2014, 8:13 GMT

    Any idea why the Australian T20 team are wearing "Black Caps" colours?

  • Jimmyrob83 on January 30, 2014, 7:56 GMT

    The real question about Bopara is can he do it when he is under real pressure. I personally think he is as flaky as they come.

  • on January 30, 2014, 7:37 GMT

    What about Mitchel Starc is he playing as well?? I know he is recovering but i would be looking forward to see his performance.

  • No featured comments at the moment.

  • on January 30, 2014, 7:37 GMT

    What about Mitchel Starc is he playing as well?? I know he is recovering but i would be looking forward to see his performance.

  • Jimmyrob83 on January 30, 2014, 7:56 GMT

    The real question about Bopara is can he do it when he is under real pressure. I personally think he is as flaky as they come.

  • on January 30, 2014, 8:13 GMT

    Any idea why the Australian T20 team are wearing "Black Caps" colours?

  • on January 30, 2014, 8:14 GMT

    Last time Brad Hodge played a Twenty20 for his country the first season of the IPL had not even begun. Now, Hodge is the leading run scorer of all time in Twenty20 cricket, but at 39 he believed his international career was long since finished. The cynical view of his recall would be that it might help ticket sales at his home ground, but he knows that with plenty of T20 experience in Bangladesh, he could be an attractive proposition for Australia's selectors with the World T20 to be held there later this year. A strong performance in this match would make him hard to ignore.

    The scorecard for the first match would suggest that Ravi Bopara got England close to their target with his unbeaten 65 from 27 balls, but the reality is that his sixes came too late for England to have any hope of victory. That they came at all should be encouraging for England, though, given that Bopara struggled for batting impact during the ODI series. The question is, can he do it again?

  • Living_It on January 30, 2014, 8:57 GMT

    i would be suprised if the Aus team was even similar to this...this would mean they would be playing 1 bowler (in his second game), a bowling allrounder in this format (coulter-nile), 2 all rounders in cutting (in this format) and chrstian and a batting allrounder in maxwell.

    Team will look more like this: 1 Finch 2 White 3 Maxwell 4 Bailey 5 Hodge 6 Lynn 7 Wade 8 Coulter-nile 9 richardson/starc 10 Hazlewood 11 Muirhead

    dropping 2 allrounders for a batter and a bolwer makes alot of sence

  • PrasPunter on January 30, 2014, 9:38 GMT

    @HaaRiKhanal, what's the real point in a copy+paste operation ?

  • R_U_4_REAL_NICK on January 30, 2014, 9:43 GMT

    @Musix Nepal (post on January 30, 2014, 7:37 GMT): you've answered your own question there; if still recovering, why on Earth risk everything for a T20?

    Stokes coming in I suppose was a no-brainer; yes Briggs was expensive last game, but I still think he'd perform better operating in tandem with another spinner - even it was Root. "Pigs might fly" springs to mind, so Tredwell it will no doubt be.

    Hard task to stop this juggernaut Australian bunch. England's opening bowlers really need to concentrate on getting the Aus. openers out quicker and put more pressure on their middle order. Conversely, England's opening batsmen/top order need to hang in there for longer and stop leaving everything to the middle/lower-middle order.

  • Manxmuppet on January 30, 2014, 9:56 GMT

    To be honest, I think Aus could pluck names out of a hat and still beat England on this tour, such is their psychological dominance. Eng may as well treat it as a bit of batting and bowling practice and stop trying to over-analyse things or try too hard. The sooner they come home the better. They need to start thinking about preparing for the next ashes series 18 weeks from now.........or is it months?

  • AussiePhoenix on January 30, 2014, 10:08 GMT

    Gotta feel for Broad. Other senior players go home after a squashing summer, he needs to front up to captain. Personally I don't like praising the opposition, but Broad hs been a stand out on this tour. Bowled well most of the time, exceptional for many spells, always trying, nothing less than a 100%. Full credit to him. Even after beng injured he fronted up next game and went for it, unlike Swann. A true leader. I want to see Australia test his character further with another series white wash.

  • on January 30, 2014, 11:01 GMT

    'England have never successfully chased 200 or more in T20, though they came close last year against New Zealand at The Oval.' Was written at the start of England's innings Wednesday. Well on Wednesday they did successfully chase 200, they just didn't get the or more.