Back England to bounce back in MCG clash
David Willey eyeing more Australian scalps in Twenty20 tussle
BT Sport 2, 8.20am Saturday
The Trans-Tasman Tri-Series is something of a tongue-twister but fluent Australia can’t be accused of fluffing their lines in the first couple of acts.
The Aussies eased to victory over co-hosts New Zealand in a rain-affected opener and then a brilliant unbeaten century from Glenn Maxwell overhauled England’s target in Hobart but the outsiders can claim revenge in Melbourne.
Maxwell made a masterful 103 not out in an Aussie total of 161-5 although England thought they had him out for 53 before replays ruled out Jason Roy’s catch.
Roy had been the first man dismissed as England batted first in Tasmania but Alex Hales and Dawid Malan helped the tourists rack up 60-1 in the first six overs.
Hales was out to the first ball after the Powerplay, prompting a disappointing slide to 155-9, but there is plenty to like about a top five of Roy, Hales, Malan, Eoin Morgan and Jos Buttler.
David Willey, who took 3-28 in Hobart, and Mark Wood are a potent new-ball pair for England and leg-spinner Adil Rashid goes from strength to strength in this form of the game.
Rashid’s stock is high in Australia after a successful spell with Adelaide Strikers in the Big Bash two years ago and he played a major role in England’s ODI series win, claiming ten wickets in five matches.
Willey featured in this year’s Big Bash, taking the new ball for Perth Scorchers, and he looks overpriced to be England’s top wicket-taker in Melbourne.
He picked up two scalps in the first four balls of Australia’s innings on Wednesday, returning to clean up Travis Head with an inswinging yorker, and he also removed both openers (internationals Peter Nevill and Nic Maddinson) in the warm-up game against a Cricket Australia 11 in Canberra.
Australia’s spinners showed their quality in the Hobart clash, with Maxwell and Ashton Agar returning the sensational combined figures of 5-25 from five overs.
But the hosts have concerns over captain David Warner, whose limited-overs scores since the Ashes have been two, 35, eight, 13, 15, six and four, and they look short enough at 4-6.
2pts 7-5 Betfair
D Willey top England wicket-taker
1pt 15-4 Betway
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