• England v Australia, NatWest Series, Chester-le-Street

Bopara pushing for England Test place

The Preview by Alex Winter
July 6, 2012
Pressure is on David Hussey to guide Australia's lower order © PA Photos

Match facts

Saturday, July 7
Start time 1045 (0945 GMT)

Big Picture

The whitewash and the No. 1 ODI ranking may have disappeared from England's immediate targets due to the rain at Edgbaston but they are still looking to earn the respect of the wider cricketing world with their unique brand of one-day cricket - a 4-0 would go a long way to proving that their methods can bring them success.

This match is another opportunity for Ravi Bopara to cement his claims for a place in the Test XI against South Africa. He needed runs and got them in guiding England's chase at The Oval but again failed to close out the innings with a needless run out. It is important Bopara shows consistency of form; he has two further chances to demonstrate as such.

Australia have got problems because their batting has failed to cope with England's five-man attack - proving that specialists are most often the best men for the job. Australia's top order have to find a way of dealing with James Anderson's swing and Steve Finn's pace in particular. The middle order will at least have some respite with Graeme Swann not playing.

But the depth of England's bowling attack could work against them if Australia can find wickets with the new ball. England's recent excellent run has been built on runs at the top of the order. If they find themselves 30 for 3, suddenly Eoin Morgan and Craig Kieswetter have different games to play - it will probably need a Brett Lee burst for that to happen.

Form guide

England WWWWW
Australia LLWLT

Watch out for

Graeme Swann is one of the best spin bowlers in the world and has had a profound effect on the two completed matches in this series, particularly at The Oval where the Australians struggled to get him away. That he is missing from the final two games puts pressure on his replacement, James Tredwell. He is a very dependable bowler who has stepped in well for England in the past, including a match-winning four-wicket haul in a must-win game against West Indies at the World Cup last March.

Australia's middle order has been incredibly fragile but of the players at No. 5, 6 and 7 David Hussey is the most experienced and needs to be able to contribute and guide the lower-order. In both matches of this series, when England have got through the top four there has been very little resistance and it has been left to Brett Lee to try and slug a few more.

Team news

England: (possible) 1 Alastair Cook (capt), 2 Ian Bell, 3 Jonathan Trott, 4 Ravi Bopara, 5 Eoin Morgan, 6 Craig Kieswetter (wkt), 7 Tim Bresnan, 8 Stuart Broad, 9 James Tredwell, 10 James Anderson, 11 Steven Finn

Australia: (possible) 1 Shane Watson, 2 Dave Warner, 3 Peter Forrest, 4 Michael Clarke (capt), 5 George Bailey, 6 David Hussey, 7 Matthew Wade (wk), 8 Brett Lee, 9 Ben Hilfenhaus/James Pattinson, 10 Clint McKay, 11 Xavier Doherty

Stats and trivia

  • These teams have met twice before at Chester-le-Street with England winning by four wickets to prevent a 7-0 whitewash in 2009 the last meeting.
  • Australia won the other meeting on the ground by 57 runs in 2005
  • Of the Australian team that played in 2009, only three could reappear this year. Four of England's XI that day are also likely to play again
  • Despite the scepticism about overkill, just 200 tickets remain for this match

    Alex Winter is an editorial assistant at ESPNcricinfo

    © ESPN Sports Media Ltd.