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Saturday, 15 December, 2018

Australia may lack the experience to take one-day series

Batting depth is a huge asset for England

England batsman Jos Buttler
1 of 1

One-day series
Starts Sky Sports Cricket, 1pm Wednesday

England, ranked number one in the ICC's ODI rankings, take on an Australia side who are the reigning 50-over world champions, but neither team can afford to rest on their laurels.

An inexperienced Australia squad, missing the suspended Steve Smith and David Warner as well as injured fast-bowling stars Mitchell Starc, Pat Cummins and Josh Hazlewood, are outsiders to win the five-match series.

But punters may well be wary of piling into England at odds-on after they were beaten by 8-1 shots Scotland in Sunday's ODI at The Grange.

There was an air of complacency about England's defeat at odds of 1-10 in Edinburgh. Their bowlers were poor, allowing Scotland to rack up a total of 371-5, but Jonny Bairstow's blistering century reduced the required rate to little over a run a ball.

However, the middle-order folded tamely with Joe Root being avoidably run out and the well-set Alex Hales among those falling to loose shots.

England's batting depth still bails them out more often than not and number nine Liam Plunkett hit an unbeaten 47 to get them to within seven runs of victory against Scotland.

In-form Jos Buttler, rested for the Edinburgh epic, provides yet more batting firepower for the hosts and, while there are doubts over their bowling attack with Chris Woakes and Ben Stokes sidelined, the same can be said of Australia.

Kane Richardson, with 15 ODI caps, is the most experienced Australian fast bowler in the squad and spinner Nathan Lyon, a key part of the Aussie Test team, has played only 13 one-dayers.

Adil Rashid and Moeen Ali have been reliable performers with the ball for England, who won the post-Ashes ODI series 4-1 and could repeat that scoreline at home.

With Warner and Smith banned, there are opportunities for Australia's batsmen to nail down a place in the team but their middle-order still looks brittle.

Glenn Maxwell had a rotten IPL campaign and made one and three in the warm-up games against Sussex and Middlesex while the talented Travis Head and Marcus Stoinis have been tried in various positions in the batting order.

Aaron Finch opened against Sussex, scoring 78 against an attack including Jofra Archer and Chris Jordan, and dropped down to number five to plunder another half-century against Middlesex.

He scored two centuries and a fifty in three innings against England in January and has enjoyed success in English conditions, scoring a record 156 in a Twenty20 international at the Rose Bowl and starring for Surrey in the T20 Blast.

England to win 4-1
2pts 11-4 bet365
A Finch top Australia series runscorer
2pts 5-2 bet365, BoyleSports

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England's batting depth still bails them out more often than not
E.W. Terms
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