T20 series preview: Australia v England

Reports & previews

Australia lead England nine-one going into the Twenty20 series this week, with that lone tour win for the Three Lions coming in the fourth ODI in Perth, and while both sides look rather different for the shortest format, one imagines the form guide will stay consistent.

Australia lead England nine-one going into the Twenty20 series this week, with that lone tour win for the Three Lions coming in the fourth ODI in Perth, and while both sides look rather different for the shortest format, one imagines the form guide will stay consistent.

After losing the Tests five-nil, England managed to break their tour drought with a win at the WACA thanks to Ben Stokes' efforts, as he continued to be the single bright light for England on this seemingly endless tour.

He is in the T20 squad, joined by a number of T20 specialists like Luke Wright, Alex Hales and Michael Lumb, all of whom have been playing in the Big Bash in recent weeks. Ashley Giles will need these batsmen to use their local knowledge effectively.

The middle order also sees some impressive form in Eoin Morgan, who did superbly on an individual level during the ODIs, while his two fifties and a century went to waste as the others failed to back him up.

On the bowling front, England have Chris Jordan in the mix in place of Steve Finn. While he was expensive in the ODIs, nearly always going at more than five to the over, his pace ensured a few wickets. Whether his poor economy will prove too risky remains to be seen.

Speaking of risky picks, death overs specialist Jade Dernbach is in the squad but has not played an international match since August last year, and hasn't played any first class cricket in nearly six months.

As for the Aussies, they will be led by George Bailey once again, and have also made a number of changes to their squad. While England have sent many of their players home demoralised, the Aussies are confidently resting their big guns for the trip to South Africa.

David Warner, Shane Watson and Michael Clarke are on a break, while James Faulkner's knee injury has been a devastating blow for both him and the side, as he will not be on the plane to Johannesburg after all.

But this series gives guys like Cameron White, the Domestic player of the year, a chance to show his worth again as he has not played for Oz since the last World Twenty20. He's been in good for form the Stars in the BBL though, and is likely to open with Aaron Finch.

The hosts have two uncapped players in the squad, namely paceman Chris Lynn and leg spinner James Muirhead, so they might make their debuts as early as Hobart, given Mitchell Starc is not quite ready to make his return from injury.

<b>Key Men</b><br>For the hosts, all eyes will be on the opening star <b>Aaron Finch</b>. The vice-captain scored two centuries in the ODI series, and a string of fifties in the BBL before that, and smashed his famous 156 off 63 balls against England the last time they faced each other in a T20 series.

England will look to all-rounder <b>Ben Stokes</b> for inspiration, as he has been a consistently good performer in a group of yo-yos. His efforts in Perth were captivating, and his endless passion and aggression will do well to fire up a mentally tired unit.

<b>Last Five Head-To-Head Results</b><br>2013, Second T20: England won by 27 runs at Chester-le-Street<br>2013, First T20: Australia won by 39 runs in Southampton<br>2011, Second T20: Australia won by four runs in Melbourne<br>2011, First T20: England won by one wicket in Adelaide<br>2010 WT20 final: England won by seven wickets in Bridgetown

<b>Prediction</b><br>Both sides are ranked quite low on the T20 list, with England at six and Oz at eight, so there's not much to pick between them. We're going to give the Aussies the series win, but two-one, with England winning the second to make the third all to play for at the SCG.

<b>Squads</b><br><i>Australia:</i> George Bailey, Aaron Finch, Daniel Christian, Nathan Coulter-Nile, Ben Cutting, Josh Hazlewood, Moises Henriques, Chris Lynn, Glenn Maxwell, James Muirhead, Mitchell Starc, Matthew Wade, Cameron White.

<i>England:</i> Stuart Broad, Ravi Bopara, Tim Bresnan, Danny Briggs, Jos Buttler, Jade Dernbach, Alex Hales, Chris Jordan, Michael Lumb, Eoin Morgan, Boyd Rankin, Joe Root, Ben Stokes, James Tredwell, Luke Wright.

<b>Fixtures</b><br>First T20: 29 January in Hobart<br>Second T20: 31 January in Melbourne<br>Third T20: 2 February in Sydney

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