England vs Australia 2nd ODI Preview: Smith and Starc doubtful starters as Australia aim to clinch series
The absence of Mitchell Starc and Steve Smith will weaken the Australian unit, but with Josh Hazlewood, Adam Zampa, Marcus Stoinis, Mitchell Marsh and Glenn Maxwell stepping up in the last match, the visitors might still have enough players firing to bag the series.
Venue - Old Trafford, Manchester
Start time - 12:00 PM GMT/1:00 PM LOCAL
Head to Head - England: 62 Australia: 83 No Result: 3
Weather - Mostly sunny, 11-23°C, Precipitation: 10%, Humidity: 68%, Wind: 19 km/h
England have won 11 of their last 14 matches against Australia, but the Aaron Finch-led side has the opportunity to buck the trend with a chance of winning the series against the arch-rivals on Sunday in Manchester.
Maxwell-Marsh steady Australia despite Archer & Wood's brilliance
The opening match of the ODI series was almost a perfect game. There was sufficient assistance for the pace bowlers, both from the pitch and overhead conditions, to make the batsmen uncomfortable.
David Warner was the first to depart and was bowled off a snorter from Jofra Archer. Aaron Finch followed soon. Marcus Stoinis and Marnus Labuschagne then steadied the ship before both were dismissed in quick succession.
A 100+ partnership between Mitchell Marsh and Glenn Maxwell then set the base for some fireworks towards the end. With a six from Mitchell Starc off the last delivery, Australia posted 294 runs on the board.
Mark Wood and Jofra Archer were the best bowlers for England, picking up three wickets each. Adil Rashid was the key for England in the middle overs as he made two crucial breakthroughs, dismissing Marnus Labuschagne and Alex Carey.
Billings impresses with maiden ODI ton
Josh Hazlewood was a handful for the England batters as he moved the ball around. Jason Roy and Joe Root departed early while Eoin Morgan was dismissed off an unforced error off Adam Zampa, hitting the ball straight to Maxwell in the circle.
With England's main man Jos Buttler dismissed for just one and the team reeling at 57 for 4, Sam Billings took charge. He did not receive any support from his fellow batsmen but waged a lone battle, finally getting dismissed on the last delivery on 118 of 110 deliveries with 14 fours and 2 sixes to keep England in the game.
Jonny Bairstow also played a fine hand of 84 off 107 deliveries and did up the ante, but perished in the process.
Josh Hazlewood was the standout bowler for Australia and took three wickets while conceding just 26 runs from his 10 overs. Adam Zampa was also on-point with figures of 10-0-55-4.
Sporting pitch in Manchester
The pitch in Manchester is a sporting one with something in it for everyone. If the batsmen apply themselves, they can go big. The pacers are able to move the ball off the surface and the spinners shared six wickets in the first ODI.
Scores of under 300 are expected in this match as well, with the surface not a very flat one. However, the weather on Sunday will be much better, with the sun out for longer, which will go in favour of the batsmen.
A key stat at Manchester is that no team has ever chased more than 250 runs at this venue. Although the teams generally prefer chasing after winning the toss, the record suggests that batting first here is not that bad an option after all.
Australia sweat over Smith and Starc's fitness
While England will not make any changes to their playing XI, Australia are sweating over the injury concerns to Steve Smith and Mitchell Starc. Smith was hit on the head during practice before the 1st ODI and was ruled out of the playing XI at the last moment.
He is scheduled to undergo another concussion test before the 2nd ODI on Sunday after which the final decision will be taken. However, given his history with concussion and Marcus Stoinis doing a fine job at number 3 in the last match, Australia are not likely to risk it.
Similarly, Mitchell Stark was in some discomfort in the first ODI after he slipped on the ground. Starc completed his 10 overs, finishing wicketless while conceding 47 runs but was not at his 100 percent due to his groin.
With him being Australia's leading bowler and a full Australian summer lined up, Australia will be wise enough to not take a chance with him. Kane Richardson will join the XI in case of Starc's unavailability.
Here's the probable playing XI of both teams:
England - Jason Roy, Jonny Bairstow, Joe Root, Eoin Morgan (c), Jos Buttler (wk), Sam Billings, Moeen Ali, Chris Woakes, Adil Rashid, Jofra Archer, Mark Wood
Australia - Aaron Finch (c), David Warner, Marcus Stoinis, Marnus Labuschagne, Mitchell Marsh, Alex Carey (wk), Glenn Maxwell, Pat Cummins, Adam Zampa, Josh Hazlewood, Kane Richardson
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