Daijiworld Media Network
Birmingham, Jun 8 : A warm welcome to one and all for the first Group A match between England and Australia from Edgbaston. This is the mini-battle before the mother of all battles in July. Australia head into this game with problems galore. Michael Clarke has been ruled out of this match with a back sprain while the Australian batting will still be reeling from their poor show in the warm-up match against India where they folded up for 65.
England, on the other hand, are coming on the back of a 1-2 series loss to New Zealand. However, they have had a good record against Australia in the recent past, having won their previous bilateral ODI series against the old enemy 4-0. They will look to continue their stranglehold in what will be a crucial first match for both teams.
England have won the toss and elected to bat
Bailey: 'Clarke is in London for a couple of days and getting some treatment. It'll be a great boost for us if we can win without him. Looks like a beautiful batting wicket. We have the same side that played the warm ups. We had a chat about the 65-all out game but we have left it behind.'
Cook: 'Swann injured himself while practice in the morning and he's out. We've left out Finn as well. This is going to be a tough game. Both sides will be looking to start well as we have just 3 games. '
Australia (Playing XI): David Warner, Shane Watson, Phillip Hughes, George Bailey(c), Adam Voges, Mitchell Marsh, Matthew Wade(w), James Faulkner, Mitchell Johnson, Mitchell Starc, Clint McKay
England (Playing XI): Alastair Cook(c), Ian Bell, Jonathan Trott, Joe Root, Eoin Morgan, Ravi Bopara, Jos Buttler(w), Tim Bresnan, Stuart Broad, James Tredwell, James Anderson
Match Preview :
England and Australia will have one eye on the upcoming Ashes as they get set to take on each other in a Group A encounter of the Champions Trophy in Edgbaston. The hosts will be eager to recover from the ODI series loss to New Zealand while the team from Down Under, bidding for a third straight Champions Trophy crown, will be keen to get off to a winning start.
While they have always been one of the top-placed teams in ODI competitions over the years, England have not been able to win a single title in world events in the 50 over format. With the Champions Trophy being played for the last time, and on their soil, England will be keen to break that jinx.
After back to back losses, which led to a series loss against New Zealand, England managed to salvage some pride when they won the third ODI. While the 1-2 loss is not the sort of preparation they would have hoped for ahead of their opening game against their arch-rivals, England would definitely have taken some positives and would have also identified the key areas they need to work on.
Alastair Cook's form will be a concern for the hosts as the England skipper has not been among the run-getters. While he did not convert his starts in the first two matches, the England captain got out for a nought in his last outing. Ian Bell too did not contribute much in the 1st and the 2nd ODIs but he regained his touch with a useful 82 in the final game, which is a positive sign for the English side. Jonathan Trott, with a century against his name in the 2nd ODI, will also be confident going up against Australia. Jos Buttler and Eoin Morgan also did well in the final match, which augers well for England's batting.
Among the bowlers, James Anderson has picked up a fair share of wickets recently, while Stuart Broad and Steven Finn, who were rested for the first two ODIs, got some valuable match practice in the final match. Graeme Swann and James Tredwell have also done a decent job with the ball so has Tim Bresnan, who will be the other key bowler in the English line-up.
Team News: Apart from the absence of Kevin Pietersen, England do not have any injury concerns at the present time.
Two time CT champions Australia, who begin their title defence at Birmingham, have suffered a big jolt ahead of the campaign opener as their skipper Michael Clarke is ruled out of the game due to a back injury. What will also be playing on Australia's mind is their previous outing in the United Kingdom when they suffered a overwhelming 0-4 loss to England.
There is no doubting the fact that the Australian team has been lacking in consistency for quite some time now and it was evident in their performance in the warm-up matches leading up to the Champions Trophy. While they eased past West Indies with 11.1 overs to spare in their opening practice game, Australia suffered a thumping 243 run defeat at the hands of India, being skittled out for a mere 65 in a chase of 309. The Aussies have to come up with consistent shows if they are to realise their hopes of becoming CT champions for the last time.
Shane Watson had a good run in the Indian Premier League and he extended his form with a terrific century in the practice game against West Indies. Then there is Mitchell Marsh, who scored a 19 ball-39 against the Caribbean side. However, the failure of the rest of the batsmen in both the practice games coupled with the absence of Clarke, is a warning signal for the team from Down Under to pull up their socks.
In the bowling department, Clint McKay and Mitchell Starc have been amongst the wickets while Watson has had a couple of useful outings with the ball. In both the warm-up games, Xavier Doherty and Glenn Maxwell did not play, while Australia opted for the part-time spin of Adam Voges in one of those matches - clearly suggesting that the Aussies are likely to field an all-pace attack in their tournament, unless the think-tank thinks otherwise.
Head to head in the Champions Trophy: England and Australia have faced each other three times so far over all the editions of the Champions Trophy. England managed one win while Australia have the upper hand with two victories.
I feel confident in my ability to contribute for the team and I feel backed by the management. Alastair Cook and the coaches are clear about what my role is- Jonathan Trott