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A new-look Australia had their moments in the first ODI, but it's England who head into the Cardiff clash with a 1-0 lead. Australia’s new beginning got off to a largely poor start, in fact, with their batsmen collapsing to 90/5 at The Oval. Glenn Maxwell and Ashton Agar added 84 thereafter to help boost the total to 214, but despite their bowlers putting up a fight, England got to a three-wicket win quite comfortably.
The England innings brought to light what Australia were missing, particularly in the absence of Steve Smith. Joe Root and Eoin Morgan put on a 115-run stand for the fourth wicket, converting defence into attack in a stand that stemmed the rot after England were reduced to 33/3.
Nothing of the sort was evident in the Australia innings, and that steel is something they will hope to add to their repertoire in the second ODI.
Ricky Ponting, assisting head coach Justin Langer for the tour, called on the Australian batsmen to be more responsible, saying, “It highlighted again the importance of our top-order batsman taking responsibility and getting some big runs. These players need to be hard on themselves and work out how they can improve on a daily basis.”
There is talk that Australia could consider bringing in an extra batsman to bolster things, with one of D’Arcy Short or Alex Carey likely to step in. How that will affect the balance of the side – their bowling attack is settled and could do without the tampering – remains to be seen.
That said, Australia need to do something. England, the No.1-ranked ODI side, seem to have their mojo back after that dispiriting loss to Scotland on Sunday.
And, over the last couple of years, it’s become increasingly evident that the England ODI side don’t let a lead slip without a fight.
Squads: England: Eoin Morgan (c), Moeen Ali, Jonny Bairstow, Jake Ball, Sam Billings, Jos Buttler (wk), Tom Curran, Alex Hales, Liam Plunkett, Adil Rashid, Joe Root, Jason Roy, David Willey, Mark Wood, Ben Stokes, Chris Woakes
Australia: Tim Paine (c, wk), Aaron Finch, Ashton Agar, Alex Carey, Travis Head, Nathan Lyon, Glenn Maxwell, Shaun Marsh, Michael Neser, Jhye Richardson, Kane Richardson, D’Arcy Short, Billy Stanlake, Marcus Stoinis, Andrew Tye
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