England To Start ODI Series On Front Foot

Rashid has a point to prove

England have the opportunity to atone for their Ashes’ debacle in the first ODI match of their series against Australia in Sydney.

The majority of the Three Lions’ outfit that played in the Test series have returned home. Eoin Morgan now assumes the captaincy from Joe Root, allowing the 26-year-old to drop back into the ranks.

Root’s exertions during the series appeared to take their toll as he was suffering from a stomach bug in the final Test. The issue ruled him out of action for the closing stages of the match, resulting in his side’s defeat.

Revenge will be firmly on the mind of the Three Lions, although Australia will be determined to compound their woes. The Three Lions did win their last 50-over encounter in the ICC Champions Trophy by 40 runs on the Duckwork/Lewis Method.

The two sides are locked in third and fourth place respectively, with the Aussies ahead of their rivals, although they are level on points. A win for either side would break the tie and see them close in on South Africa and India in the top two spots.

We’ll now break down the betting odds for the first ODI in Melbourne.

Australia’s Top Batsman

Steve Smith was outstanding in the Ashes, grabbing the series by the scruff of the neck to guide his side over the line with centuries at Brisbane and Perth. However, his record in the ODI does not quite reach the impeccable standard of his Test performances. He still has an excellent average of 43.23, although it is inferior to that of Root and Virat Kohli.

The 28-year-old is in the form of his life and batting at number three he will have ample opportunity to rack up the runs. England have changed the majority of their attack, with Mark Wood, Adil Rashid and Liam Plunkett entering the fold. There will be an increase of pace to deal with, but on home soil it would not be a surprise to see Smith lead the way once again for his team.

Back Smith at odds of +250   with Betway, although Mitchell Marsh could also be an intriguing option down the order following his run of form in the Ashes.

England’s Top Batsman

Root can atone for his underwhelming Ashes

Although the series was a failure for England and Root was not able to notch his first century down under, the 26-year-old ended with the highest average. He appeared to be finding his best form at the SCG in the final Test, but his aggression cost him in the first innings clipping the ball straight to Marsh. Root fell 17 runs short of his century – an issue which has plagued him in the longest format.

However, his conversion record at ODI level is significantly better, scoring 10 hundreds and 24 half-centuries. Expect him to be firing on all cylinders in Melbourne after being forced to miss out on the final part of his side’s second innings in Sydney. Root had notched yet another fifty and was well poised to go on, only to suffer a stomach bug that forced him into hospital. He tried to get back on the field the next day, but it was clear that he was not right, despite reaching the milestone.

Root will be desperate to prove himself in Australian conditions and will be eyeing his 11th ODI century. Back him at odds of +300   with Betway to lead the way for Morgan’s men at the MCG.

Australia’s Top Bowler

Mitchell Starc was England’s primary tormenter during the Ashes, although Pat Cummins ended up as the series’ leading wicket-taker. His speed and bounced caused the Three Lions’ batting line-up a host of problems. Starc’s absence was felt in Melbourne when his replacement Jackson Bird went wicketless – the only match when Australia failed to claim victory over their rivals.

The 27-year-old boasts an even better record at ODI level, averaging 20.13 with 134 wickets to his name. He was not quite at his best in Sydney in the last match of the Ashes as he continued his recovery from a heel injury. Australia may opt to ease the burden on the left-arm quick as the series progresses to save him for their upcoming matches against South Africa.

As a result, Starc will be keen to get into action immediately and put the Three Lions under pressure. His ability to bowl deadly yorkers late in the innings will be crucial in holding in England’s attacking line-up in check. Therefore back him to lead the wicket column at odds of +250   with 888Sport.

England’s Top Bowler

Rashid has a point to prove

Rashid was dropped from Test consideration by England as they opted to move forward with Mason Crane behind Moeen Ali. The Three Lions could have used his leg-spin as Ali struggled immensely averaging over a hundred, taking just fivewickets in the Ashes.

Crane had a debut to forget as he was smashed around the SCG, striking just one in the process and having another chalked off for a no ball. Rashid has a point to prove and has performed well in the 50-over format, offering England a wicket-taking option in the middle overs.

The 29-year-old took three wickets in the warm-up match against a Cricket Australia XI, so he has a semblance of form under his belt last playing competitive cricket in September. Rashid is just outside the top 10 in the world rankings, while his average is a shade over 30. A good series will see those statistics tumble down, putting him in elite company. Back him to lead from the off for England at odds of +330   with 888Sport.

Winner

England displayed encouraging signs in their warm-up match, beating a decent outfit with relative ease. The absence of Ben Stokes – much like it did for the Test team – could provide an imbalance in the line-up. However, they have enough talent in their much-changed side to overcome that problem.

Jason Roy, Alex Hales and Jos Buttler along with Morgan add power and a fearless attitude to the batting ranks. They will welcome the pace of the Aussie attack to rack up a big score – therefore back England at +163   with Betway to win in Melbourne.

Tips Summary

England To Beat Australia 1st ODI
Sunday 14th January 2018 14:20 AEDT (03:20 GMT)
Odds: +163

Joe Root To Be England’s Top Batsman
Sunday 14th January 2018 14:20 AEDT (03:20 GMT)
Odds: +300

Steve Smith To Be Australia’s Top Batsman
Sunday 14th January 2018 14:20 AEDT (03:20 GMT)
Odds: +250

Adil Rashid To Be England’s Top Bowler
Sunday 14th January 2018 14:20 AEDT (03:20 GMT)
Odds: +330

Mitchell Starc To Be Australia’s Top Bowler
Sunday 14th January 2018 14:20 AEDT (03:20 GMT)
Odds: +250