England v Australia 2nd ODI International
Total wash-outs are always frustrating in cricket, but the loss of the first England v Australia ODI at Headingley last Friday was particularly exasperating for the visitors, who are desperate to salvage something concrete from their summer following their 3-0 defeat in the Ashes.
Whatever they may have said publicly, the Aussie camp feel they were hard done by to lose the Test series by such a decisive margin and are eager to extract at least some small measure of revenge in the 50-over format. Victory in itself would be pretty sweet and would also provide a welcome injection of confidence ahead of the return Ashes clash Down Under this winter.
Vice-Captain George Bailey has spoken this weekend of “giving all the boys a lift” and “putting things right” and there is no doubt that Australia will be well up for these matches, even though some home fans might now be suffering a little from ‘Ashes fatigue.’
Coral rate the Baggy Greens 4/5 favourites to win at Old Trafford tomorrow (evens England) and the same price they win a series now reduced from five matches to four (and possibly even less now that autumn has arrived).
And that’s a price that makes plenty of appeal. Australia’s one-day team bears little resemblance to the Test side with only captain Michael Clarke and Shane Watson regulars in both formats, but they are a better one-day side than they are a Test team at the moment.
They are especially strong at the top of the order; Aaron Finch’s incredible 156 from 63 balls in the first of the T20 games last week will live long in the memory and actually raised the bar for what can be achieved in cricket’s shortest form, while Watson and Shaun Marsh also have the talent and sheer power to demolish any bowling attack on their day.
England have a strong one-day pool, but are surely weakened by the absence of their four Test bowlers, James Anderson, Stuart Broad, Graeme Swann (all rested) and Tim Bresnan (injured).
The Aussies could get away to a real flyer in Manchester if England’s second-string attack aren’t on their game and Coral’s 4/5 Finch and co outscoring the home team in the first 15 overs looks a good bet, as does the 5/6 they smash the most sixes between them.
Finch and Watson are 100/30 joint favourites to top score for Australia, while Jonathan Trott (100/30) heads the English market with Kevin Pietersen, Joe Root and Michael Carberry all on 4/1.
Carberry has waited a long time for his chance in this arena and will be desperate to do better than he did in Ireland the other day when he flopped with bat, ball and in the field. Perhaps that was down to nerves; the Hampshire opener is a class act and it would be no surprise to see him get some big runs tomorrow.
Written by Jon Freeman