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England stronger for ODI action

England stronger for ODI action


England will hope that a raft of changes can help them rise to the challenge of defeating Australia in their five-match one-day international series.

A misfiring batting unit proved costly in the 4-0 Ashes drubbing, so the arrivals of Jason Roy, Alex Hales, Eoin Morgan and Jos Buttler are a sight for sore eyes.

They all add some much-needed firepower to the Three Lions limited-overs line-up, which has been much stronger comparatively than its Test counterpart in recent times.

Hales, cleared to play after an off-field incident, will be desperate to show what he can do and, having made quick runs in the only warm-up game, he is 3/1 to be leading England batsman in the first ODI in Melbourne on Sunday.

He may well have to make do with batting at three behind Jonny Bairstow and Roy, with the latter likely to enjoy the harder, faster surfaces on offer Down Under – look to him at 7/2 to be top team batsman at the MCG.

If England do stutter, the likes of skipper Morgan and the big-hitting Buttler will come into the equation, with the latter at 5/1 a decent prospect if early wickets are lost.

For the hosts Aaron Finch comes in to form an explosive opening partnership with David Warner, who made 156 against New Zealand in his last but one appearance in an ODI at the MCG.

Warner at 3/1 to be top team batsman could be an option, with Finch at 33/10 also decent enough value.

With the ball, England have some genuine pace in the form of Liam Plunkett and Mark Wood, with the former eager to impress after seemingly falling off the Test radar.

Plunkett is 7/2 to be top team bowler, while Wood – recently recalled to the Test set-up – is a tempting prospect at 4/1.

The Baggy Greens also have plenty of pace to utilise in the form of Mitchell Starc, Josh Hazlewood and Pat Cummins.

If anything, left-armer Starc is even more effective in limited-overs cricket than he is in Tests, so even at 5/2 to be top team bowler he is worth considering, especially if the white ball starts to swing.

On the overall front it is worth bearing in mind that England have lost only one of their last nine ODIs so, at 6/4, the tourists to triumph at the MCG is definitely something to consider, with the hosts of little value at 5/11 to win the series opener.

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Adrian Mills Adrian has enjoyed a journalistic career spanning over three decades, with cricket his specialised topic. He also has a wealth of knowledge on football, golf and tennis and has the stats to back up his betting advice.