In-form Australia should prove too hot to handle for inconsistent England

Johnson set to rip into England once again
HARRY MADLEY PREVIEWS ENGLAND’S CRICKET WORLD CUP OPENER AND PATRICK CALLAGHAN LOOKS AT IRELAND V FRANCE

IT’S PROBABLY the longest, hardest and most engaging sporting rivalry that there has ever been. Covering numerous sports and exemplified by countless battles – England versus Australia always attracts the attention of fans across the globe.

Tomorrow morning, England will open up the 2015 ICC Cricket World Cup by taking on the hosts Australia at the Melbourne Cricket Ground.

The Australians have lifted the trophy more than any other nation and will bid to be the third host to win on home soil. Worryingly for England fans they have lost just two of their last 36 World Cup matches, and so it’s not surprising that they start as favourites on Sporting Index’s Outright 100 Index, trading at 58-62.

Recent history favours Darren Lehman’s team having won eight of the last nine ODI head-to-heads. If England are to seriously trouble the Aussies they will need to banish all memories of their ODI Tri Series Final against them earlier this month when Mitchell Johnson terrorised England’s batsmen. He finished with figures of 3-27, a vital contribution which saw his side win by 112 runs.

What’s more, there will be 90,000 expectant Australians who will be eager to see the ritual slaying of the old enemy once again. England’s top and middle order will have to ensure they are selective in the balls they attack as the pace and bounce of the wickets Down Under are suited far more to the likes of Johnson, Mitchell Starc and Josh Hazelwood.

To add further doubt to England’s chances, Morgan, who bats at five, notched up his third duck in four matches after his side lost to Pakistan, by four wickets, in their last ODI warm up game.

In stark contrast, Yorkshireman Joe Root has proved he is the real deal having been the only batsman to hold his own in Sri Lanka last year after the 5-2 series drubbing. Coming off the back of a well-worked 85, and averaging 40 in his ODI career, a small buy of Root Performance at 47 with Sporting Index is advised, (Run 1 point, Catch 10 points, Wicket 20 points, Stumping 25 points).

Despite Michael Clarke losing his race to be fit for the game, the Aussies still have superior batting, bowling and fielding talents. Sporting Index has Australia/England trading at 22-32 which is worth a buy when you take into consideration that England have beaten their opponents just twice in their last 15 attempts Down Under.

■ Pointers…
Buy Australia Supremacy at 32 with Sporting Index
Buy Root Performance at 47 with Sporting Index