After enduring a 1-2 loss to England in the T20I series, Australia got the ODI leg of their tour off to a fine start with a 19-run victory over the hosts. England's loss wasn't down to any particular folly on their part but more due to an exceptionally brilliant performance from the Aussies.
Based on our observations from the opening match, we give you two players from each side to keep an eye on for Sunday's second of three ODIs at Old Trafford.
The opening match of the series saw Sam Billings pick up his first ODI century as he gave it his all to chase down what would have been the highest ODI run chase at Old Trafford. Jos Buttler's dismissal left England reeling at 57-4 and that was when Billings stepped up and persevered, partnering Jonny Bairstow, Moeen Ali, Chris Woakes and Jofra Archer en route to a 110-ball 118 peppered with an incredible 14 boundaries and a pair of sixes.
"I'm disappointed I couldn't get the team over the line. It's mixed feelings," said Billings after the match, but he's surely one to keep an eye on in the next one after that performance.
Like Billings, Bairstow was another shining light for England whose contribution in the opening ODI nearly saw them through to a successful chase. The 30-year-old has struggled in the T20Is against Pakistan and Australia but was in fine fettle in the first ODI, racking up the runs at a consistent pace. However, as he tried to accelerate his steady knock, he fell prey to Adam Zampa at 84 for 107, which included four boundaries and sixes. Regardless, he looked like he'd found his bearings and will be someone the men in yellow will be wanting to send back to the dugout as early as possible in the next match.
Having performed admirably in the T20I finale, Mitchell Marsh put together a fine knock in the first ODI, with 73 off 100 balls. After Adil Rashid scalped both Marcus Labuschagne and Alex Carey, it was Marsh who began steering the Aussie ship back on course, and once he was joined by Glenn Maxwell, the two teamed up to contribute 126 of Australia's eventual 294-run winning tally.
It's only fair that Marsh's partner in crime feature as our second Aussie player to watch. Following Carey's dismissal, Maxwell stepped on to the pitch and backed up Marsh's efforts with a 59-ball 77 at a respectable strike rate of 130.51, pounding maximums and boundaries at a balanced outflow - four apiece. England's Jofra Archer eventually put a halt to Maxwell's productive partnership with Marsh but be sure to expect both men to display the same level-headed approach in the second ODI.
Feature image courtesy: AFP / Jon Super
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