ODI series preview: England v Australia

The England versus Australia roller coaster shifts formats again this weekend, as the sides prepare for a five-match ODI series on the back of the drawn one-all T20 installment.

The England versus Australia roller coaster shifts formats again this weekend, as the sides prepare for a five-match ODI series on the back of the drawn one-all T20 installment.

The Aussies last won an ODI on English soil in 2010, and their past six games, one of which was abandoned, saw England emerge victorious. Their most recent clash, at the Champions Trophy, resulted in a 48-run win for the hosts in Birmingham.

This time though, England are without senior players Alastair Cook, James Anderson, Ian Bell, Graeme Swann and Stuart Broad, which caused a great deal of upset when the squad was announced shortly after the Ashes.

Former England captain Michael Vaughan went so far as to say fans should get refunds for being forced to watch a depleted side, filled as it is with debutants and players without double figure caps.

Two of those rookies made their debuts in the six-wicket win against Ireland this week, namely Michael Carberry and Boyd Rankin, with other debutant Gary Ballance not in this squad. Then there are Jamie Overton and Chris Jordan, neither of whom are capped.

But England insist the team will be competitive, with Eoin Morgan at the helm, and Joe Root, Kevin Pietersen and Jonathan Trott providing Test experience. Morgan comes into the series on the back of an unbeaten century against his former nation.

The pace bowling attack's most senior name is Steve Finn, who played only one Ashes Test after a poor performance at Trent Bridge. He took a wicket in each T20, but none against Ireland, and will be keen to show Jordan, Rankin and Overton the ropes.

For Australia's part, they have dropped batsman David Warner for the series, saying he lacked the 'weight of runs' to justify inclusion. Fortunately, Aaron Finch has found form at the right time, smashing two huge tons in the past three games.

Michael Clarke is back as captain, taking over from T20 boss George Bailey, while Shane Watson's presence adds heft to the batting and bowling line ups. All-rounder Glenn Maxwell will also hope to live up to his nickname, The Big Show.

The bowling department has veteran Mitchell Johnson in the leadership role, flush off his four wickets against Scotland on Tuesday. Clint McKay and James Faulkner will be his likely deputies, with spinner Fawad Ahmed in line for his second ODI cap.

<b>Key Men</b><br>For the hosts, we're going to go with <b>Kevin Pietersen</b>, as he is the most experienced ODI player against the Aussies of the current lot, and has the most runs against them. He will be eager to prove his worth as the senior player, and boost his 41.60 average.

Australia will look to <b>Aaron Finch</b>, who now has two huge centuries in two games leading into the series. In the absence of David Warner, he will be vital at the top of the knock if the Aussies are to build or chase big scores.

<b>Last Three Head-To-Head Results</b><br>2013 Champions Trophy: England won by 48 runs in Birmingham<br>2012 5th ODI: England won by seven wickets in Manchester<br>2012 4th ODI: England won by eight wickets in Durham

<b>Prediction</b><br>We're going to give England, depleted as they are, the benefit of the doubt and say they will win the series. It won't be a whitewash though, more like a roller coaster, as Australia take two of the five games.

<b>Squads</b><br><i>England:</i> Eoin Morgan (capt), Ravi Bopara, Jos Buttler, Michael Carberry, Steven Finn, Chris Jordan, Jamie Overton, Kevin Pietersen, Boyd Rankin, Joe Root, Ben Stokes, James Tredwell, Jonathan Trott, Luke Wright

<i>Austrlia:</i> Michael Clarke (capt), George Bailey, Fawad Ahmed, Nathan Coulter-Nile, James Faulkner, Aaron Finch, Josh Hazlewood, Phillip Hughes, Mitchell Johnson, Shaun Marsh, Glenn Maxwell, Clint McKay, Adam Voges, Matthew Wade (wk), Shane Watson

<b>Fixtures</b><br>First ODI: 6 September in Leeds<br>Second ODI: 8 September in Manchester<br>Third ODI: 11 September in Birmingham<br>Fourth ODI: 14 September in Cardiff<br>Fifth ODI: 16 September in Southampton