Faulkner set to star at 16/1 for powerful Australian ODI side
England attempt to erase the memory of a horrific 5-0 Ashes whitewash and can draw on a ODI win at the MCG in 2007 in the build-up to the first ODI of this series.
The visitors beat Australia by four wickets that February – unfortunately none of the current England squad were involved then.
Their most recent visit to Melbourne for the one-day format was in 2011 and that didn’t end as happily for England fans, with Australia winning by six wickets.
Eoin Morgan and Ian Bell are the only England survivors of that match.
Indeed the Aussies have won six of their last eight matches at the MCG, with Sri Lanka the only side to break their dominance.
Australia have won six of their last eight ODI’s at the MCG
The hosts are 4/9 to win again, with England priced at 7/4.
Australia should be too strong, but it may not be as straightforward as the Test series for Michael Clarke’s side.
England’s batting line-up has plenty of power about it, with Jos Buttler a key component.
The Somerset wicketkeeper/batsman only averages 24.83 in ODI’s but was in good form in a recent warm-up match and his aggressive style of play could help England put up a decent fight.
He’s 10/1 to top-score, and that looks too big, as does the 7/1 about Ravi Bopara to make the most England runs.
Bet on Jos Buttler to top-score for England at 10/1
England’s ODI Player of the Year in 2013, Bopara has made a fine comeback.
He was snubbed in the IPL auction, but was recalled to England’s squad for the Champions Trophy and he both batted (118 runs at a strike rate of 137.20) and bowled well (six wickets at 5.5 runs per over) to establish himself in this side.
He went on to score a maiden ODI against Ireland and averaged 52.83 at the end of the summer.
With Eoin Morgan, Michael Carberry and an in-form Ben Stokes all there to support Alastair Cook, who should be feeling less pressure here with fewer expectations, England can score runs.
However their bowling attack, with Stuart Broad rested for two games, looks moderate at best.
Bet on James Faulkner to be Man of the Match at 16/1
Australia, led by an aggressive opening partnership of David Warner (top-scorer in the Ashes) and Aaron Finch, look guaranteed to score heavily.
The hosts have a strong batting line-up, and one man who shouldn’t be overlooked is their 12th man from the Ashes, James Faulkner.
The right-hand bat but left hand bowler averages 45.33 at the crease in ODI’s and he comes into this game after taking 3 wickets for 9 runs in a recent Big Bash game for Melbourne Stars.
He hit 116 off 73 balls in his last ODI innings against India, batting at number seven, and although likely to be one place lower down the order here, the all-rounder shouldn’t be 25/1 to top-score for Australia.
Similarly, if he both bats and bowls well, the 16/1 about being Man of the Match is a realistic scenario.
But with England also set to do well with the bat with no Mitchell Johnson to face, this game should at least be a high-scoring, entertaining match, rather than a one-sided drubbing like the Test series.
Jos Buttler to be top England batsman at 10/1
James Faulkner to be Man of the Match at 16/1