Eoin Morgan's century helped England put up a decent score in the first game. England would need a good team effort to beat Australia © Getty Images
Eoin Morgan’s century helped England put up a decent score in the first game. England would need a good team effort to beat Australia © Getty Images

By Shiamak Unwalla

Jan 22, 2015

Australia will take on England in the fourth One-Day International (ODI) of the tri-series at Hobart on Friday. With Australia winning both their encounters including one with a bonus point, they are at the top of the table, while England — having beaten India comprehensively with a bonus point — are ranked second.

Another win here will all but guarantee Australia a spot in the final, while an England win will possibly close the door on India’s chances. Both teams will try not to worry about India though, and focus instead on their own performances with less than 20 days to go for the ICC World Cup 2015.

Australia trounced England by three wickets with more than 10 overs to spare to kick-start the series in handsome fashion before floundering a bit in their chase against India in the second ODI. On both occasions, their bowlers — Mitchell Starc in particular — have been outstanding. Starc will be keen on bowling as much as possible before the World Cup given the outstanding form and rhythm he has been in.

On the other hand, England roared back after their defeat in the first match. Chris Woakes was the wrecker-in-chief against Australia before Steven Finn and James Anderson wrecked havoc against India. Anderson in particular was nigh unplayable, bowling quick and getting the ball to move both ways on his comeback match.

The batting for both teams remains a bit suspect, with certain batsmen shining, but others dithering in the face of pressure. One feels that the batting side manages to hold out for longer will come out on top. Both sides have an impressive pace bowling attack though a quality spinner remains elusive. Shane Watson has been ruled out of this game. George Bailey and David Warner are also missing in action. Cameron White and Shaun Marsh have been included in the side.

Hobart has seen its share of high-scoring matches in the past — who can forget Virat Kohli’s unbelievable assault against Sri Lanka in 2012? — but this will be a new day and a new pitch. On the face of it, Australia remain firm favourites, but England showed against India that they cannot be written off.

Squads:

Australia: Steven Smith (c), Brad Haddin (wk), Aaron Finch, Pat Cummins, Xavier Doherty, James Faulkner, Gurinder Sandhu, Mitchell Starc, Shaun Marsh, Glenn Maxwell, Cameron White.

England: Eoin Morgan (c), Jos Buttler (wk), Ian Bell, Moeen Ali, Stuart Broad, Steven Finn, James Anderson, Gary Ballance, Ravi Bopara, Alex Hales, Chris Jordan, Joe Root, James Taylor, James Tredwell, Chris Woakes.

Time: 3:20 GMT | 08:50 IST

(Shiamak Unwalla, a reporter with CricketCountry, is a self-confessed Sci-Fi geek and cricket fanatic. You can follow him on Twitter @ShiamakUnwalla)