England will aim to shrug off the disappointment of surrendering the Ashes when they begin a five-match ODI series Down Under on Sunday. There has been little to cheer for England’s Barmy Army of late as their team lost four and drew one of the five tests. But several fresh faces will inject a new dynamic into the team for five upcoming ODIs, allowing for a reinvigorated bid for glory.
England have a far better recent record than Australia when it comes to ODI, but they are still underdogs as their hosts are exceptional on home soil. Either way, the matches should be tight and thrilling, and there are plenty of betting options for fans.
England have been strong in warm-ups, with Liam Plunkett and Mark Wood producing the sort of pace and seam that was sadly lacking from England’s Test attack. Joe Root will be freed of the responsibility of captaincy as Eoin Morgan leads the ODI team, and fans will hope to see Root in rejuvenated form. He is the 5/2 favourite with Sun Bets to be the top England batsman in the first ODI (first innings) and looks a really interesting option, although openers Johnny Bairstow and Alex Hales (both 3/1) will provide fierce competition. The absence of suspended all-rounder Ben Stokes will still be felt keenly, but Jos Buttler has the power to step up to number five. Adil Rashid will also be given plenty of chances to show what he can do, and it might provide an opportunity for redemption for Moeen Ali, who had an Ashes to forget.
England were in dire straights three years ago, but have been excellent since Trevor Bayliss took the reins. Since he began his role, they have the best ODI win-loss ratio in the world, 2.384, placing them well ahead of India in second. Australia’s win-loss ratio in that time is barely better than 1, so they should be the underdogs. But that does not take into account the remarkable depth of talent in the Australian first XI, and their wonderful home record.
In the last five years, Australia have not lost a home series and have only lost six individual matches. Mitchell Starc, Pat Cummins and Josh Hazlewood terrorised England’s batsmen in the Ashes with their ferocious pace and aggression, and will continue to do so in the ODIs. Then you have Steve Smith, captain extraordinaire, the world’s No. 1 batsman, who is probably the greatest since the legendary Don Bradman. Australia have a frighteningly talented top three of Smith, David Warner and Aaron Finch, and they are also blessed with some heavy hitting all-rounders, including Mitchell Marsh.
They are the favourites for the first ODI, best priced at 4/7 with Stan James, while England are 7/4 underdogs with Ladbrokes and Coral. Virtually all the action is going on the hosts for the first of five ODIs, but there is hope yet for England. They have a seriously talented group of players, and it is also worth bearing in mind that Australia lost their last ODI series 4-1. England should never be written off on limited-overs cricket due to the talent available for Morgan to call upon.
Various special bets look intriguing for the first match. Smith will want to begin the series with a big knock, but Warner will relish the opportunity to let his hair down after the attritional Ashes, and will be a real danger man, so he looks good at 5/2 with Sun Bets to be the top Australian batsman. Ditto Root for England, who is also 5/2. Australia’s opening duo should outperform England’s, so the 8/11 on offer at Betfred for Australia to have the highest opening partnership looks great. Plunkett is also an excellent option at 3/1 to record England’s best numbers with the ball as he is in fine form and playing with real confidence.