England v Australia, T20, Cardiff August 30, 2015

World T20 gives one-off clash a focus

Match facts

August 31, 2015
Start time 3.00pm local (1400GMT)

Play 00:57
The fresh faces have helped - Smith

Big Picture

A one-off T20, sandwiched between the end of an Ashes and the start of a one-day series, struggles for context. England have played one T20 in the last 12 months - beating New Zealand earlier this season - while Australia have not played the format since last November.

The sparse nature of international T20s - and often rapid turnover of players - is highlighted by the fact that Cameron White was Man of the Match in that previous match against South Africa and now does not feature while Ben Dunk was opener and keeper.

Meanwhile, Aaron Finch, Australia's T20 captain, misses this match due to his injury problems this season which have hampered his Yorkshire spell meaning Steven Smith - now installed as Test and ODI captain - will take the reigns for the day. But while single T20 matches in bilateral tours can appear somewhat haphazard, there is now a significant focal point: the next World T20 takes place in India during March 2016.

England won the tournament in 2010 but have largely flunked since while Australia - apart from reaching the final in the same year - have never found their mojo in the showpiece T20 event. The planning needs to start here and now, even if for the short term it will involve a couple of days in Cardiff before a switch to the 50-over format.

Australia's squad has had a significant refresh after the Tests which should offer a decent chance of avoiding Ashes hangovers. England, too, have a very different look in white-ball cricket since their vibrant relaunch earlier this season against New Zealand. They will be keen to show that was not a flash in the pan.

Form guide

(last five completed matches, most recent first)
England WWLLL
Australia WWLWW

In the spotlight

David Willey - along with Jos Buttler, Chris Woakes and James Vince - have had a quick turnaround from T20 finals day. Willey starred in the semi-final against Birmingham, especially with the ball, and is clearly a cricketer who savours the big stage. He has ambitions, as he should, to reach Test level - one reason he is moving to Yorkshire - but for the foreseeable future the limited-overs game will have to sate him. The sight of Australia could get the juices flowing.

Pat Cummins was close to a Test recall at The Oval before Peter Siddle pipped him and fully justified the decision. This is the format that has had to largely satisfy Cummins during his lengthy battle with his body - letting rip for four overs has often been his limit during a carefully managed early career. He will hope for a greater workload once the ODIs begin, but this is a good chance to shake off the shackles.

Teams news

Joe Root has been rested which creates a top-order vacancy likely filled by Moeen Ali although James Vince has a strong case. Buttler missed the previous T20 against New Zealand due to injury so will slot back in at the expense of the discarded Jonny Bairstow. Chris Woakes should be the favourite to replace the rested Mark Wood but, as with Vince, there will be a temptation to have a look at Reece Topley who was also in the squad against New Zealand.

England (probable) 1 Alex Hales, 2 Jason Roy, 3 Moeen Ali, 4 Eoin Morgan (capt), 5 Ben Stokes, 6 Jos Buttler (wk), 7 Sam Billings, 8 Adil Rashid, 9 Chris Woakes, 10 David Willey, 11 Steven Finn

Australia confirmed their XI on Sunday. Cameron Boyce, the legspinner, has travelled a long way for one match - he is not in the one-day squad - but playing him is not purely a case of justifying the air miles: he has taken six wickets in four T20s against Pakistan and South Africa. Marcus Stoinis, the allrounder, will make his debut while Shane Watson will open in place of the absent Finch. There is no rest for Mitchell Starc just yet.

Australia 1 David Warner, 2 Shane Watson, 3 Steven Smith (capt), 4 Glenn Maxwell, 5 Mitchell Marsh, 6 Marcus Stoinis, 7 Matthew Wade (wk), 8 Nathan Coulter-Nile, 9 Mitchell Starc, 10 Cameron Boyce, 11 Pat Cummins

Pitch and conditions

Glamorgan have had a tough time with pitches of late after the abandonment of a Royal London Cup match due to a dangerous surface. The groundsman, Keith Exton, has since left the club and the pitch for this match left in the hands of his assistants. However, the club has no concerns over the standard of its international pitches.

Stats and trivia

  • The two teams have met 13 times in T20s with Australia winning seven, England four and two no results

  • England and Australia have both used 73 players in T20 - the most by any teams.

Quotes

"Now our priority turns to the T20 World Cup and driving our one-day cricket forward."
Eoin Morgan maintains the new mantra that limited-overs cricket is as important as Tests for England

"I think we've got some pretty experienced T20 players. A lot of the guys that are probably going to be in the squad for that World Cup have played a lot of IPL cricket and cricket in India and adapted to those conditions, so there's no reason why we can't win that tournament."
Steven Smith expects the IPL experience of many of the Australians will help them at the World T20

Andrew McGlashan is a deputy editor at ESPNcricinfo

Comments