Venue – Adelaide Oval, Adelaide
Date: Thursday, November 17
The English players must feel like they have been in Australia forever. This tour started on October 9, with England playing three T20Is against the Aussies as both countries warmed up for the T20 World Cup. England then played every possible game in that competition as they beat Pakistan in the final, while Australia went out in the group stage in disappointing fashion. Now, England and Australia face off in three ODIs over the next week to conclude the tour.
This isn’t even part of the ongoing ODI Super League – something that makes the placement even crazier – but with the ODI World Cup 11 months out, it is still a series that both teams will be looking at to start their preparations for that event.
It will be interesting to see how much the Australian public cares about this series. There have been various reports that ticket sales are way down on what would be expected for a series between these two old rivals, but given the amount of cricket that has been played in Australia over the past month or so – and the way Australia underwhelmed in the World Cup – it makes sense.
It is up to the Aussies to get the crowd back on their side here. It will be their first ODI series since the retirement of Aaron Finch, and we should get a feel for how Pat Cummins handles the leadership of his country in the 50-over format. The Aussies are basically at full strength, with the only player missing out being all-rounder Glenn Maxwell. Maxwell’s injury – he broke his fibula after crashing into a friend while running across a tennis court at a 50th birthday party – is beyond bizarre, but it will give Sean Abbot a chance to deputize.
How switched on will England be for this series? The English are now the T20 and ODI World Cup holders, but with just four days between that win over Pakistan and this game, there is just no way that the players will be at their peak. The global cricketing calendar is (rightly) under fire this week, as there is simply no reason that this series should be taking place so soon after a major tournament. Getting back up for this and giving 100% will be extremely challenging for the tourists here.
England has named eight members of the successful T20 World Cup squad for this series, including Player of the Tournament Sam Curran and captain Jos Buttler. There is a smattering of freshness, with Jason Roy, Sam Billings, and James Vince all brought in as potential playing options. This is also a big chance for bowlers like Olly Stone and Luke Wood to show what they can do at this level.
If both teams were coming at this from the same point – and with their best potential teams – I think England could win. There is just no way England can switch on for this as it is, given their recent exploits. The home side wins this.