Australia will be looking to start taking their revenege for the Ashes defeat in the first of two T20 matches at Old Trafford today. Both sides are virtually unrecognisable from the two teams that competed in the 5 macth test series which finished last Sunday at The Oval.
England will give a start to opener Joe Denly who made his debut against Ireland in Belfast last week. With an openers spot up for grabs in one day cricket this is an ideal opportunity for Denly to show he has the temperament and ability to handle international cricket and in doing so stake a claim on an opening test spot with Alastair Cook always seeming to struggle these days.
Also returning at the top of the order will be Ravi Bopara. After been dropped he went back to Essex and scored a double hundred – just what the selectors would have wanted him to do. He then followed that up with a duck in Belfast, though the real issue is how he comes back against the Aussies. Although this is not test cricket it is a welcome chance for Bopara to prove to the selectors that he has plenty of character and can bounce back from his disappointing Ashes series.
Owais Shah, Eoin Morgan Luke Wright, Adil Rashid, Tim Bresnan and Ryan Sidebottom all come into contention for places, while behind the stumps England have opted to stick with Matt Prior after his impressive performances in the Ashes rather than reverting back to James Foster who did a decent job with the gloves (not bat) during the recent World Twenty20.
Australia are without the services of captain Ricky Ponting – who along with the test specialists – flew back to Australia last week for a rest, Michael Clarke will captain the side in his absence.
They also are expected to play Dirk Nannes who has already defeated England in a T20 international when he played for Netherlands in their World T20 victory over England at the start of the summer. Such was the quality of Nannes’ performances during that tournament that the Australian selectors decided to call him up for the country of his birth.
T20 specialist David Warner comes back in as well as David Hussey who after been omitted from the 50 over squad (for England series) scored a hundred in the warm up match against Scotland last week, no doubt he will be further looking to prove his point to the selectors in these two T20 matches. Further one day specialists Nathan Bracken, Cameron White and Adam Voges also join up with the Aussie squad.
Behind the stumps Tim Paine fills in for the injured Brad Haddin who also returned home during the week. In the bowling department Brett Lee will be hoping to finally have a go at England’s batsmen after a frustrating tour to date, while Nathan Hauritz will also be hoping for a recall.
Neither of these two sides have exactly excelled at Twenty20 with Australia not even getting past the group stages of the World T20, England didn’t manage much better themselves losing to West Indies in the last 8. With both sides still finding their way in this form of cricket it is a tough call betting wise with Australia just edging favouritsm at a best price of 4/5. With rain in the air Duckworth Lewis could come into play so winning the toss could be a massive advantage.