Chris Tremlett: England and Australia both have points to prove in one-day series

 
Chris Tremlett
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Scotland v England ODI
England suffered their first ever defeat to Scotland on Sunday (Source: Getty)

The first game of a series is always a big one, so it will be interesting to see how England start against Australia at the Oval in the first of their five one-day matches.

As hosts, England are certainly favourites to win the series. But they are two evenly-matched teams and I expect it to be close. A whitewash either way would be a surprise.

England play well at home and, with Trevor Bayliss and Eoin Morgan at the helm, have been a fantastic white-ball side since the last World Cup.

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Australia have had problems and distractions off the pitch so they’ll want to change a lot of people’s perceptions of their country.

They’re under new leadership with Justin Langer so will want to prove a point and that can be very dangerous for England, who are coming off a disappointing defeat by Scotland.

Scotland played really well and deserved their surprise win on Sunday. They got off to a flier and carried their momentum on a good pitch with the crowd behind them.

But even though they put 371 on the board, England should have chased that down, with small boundaries and a flat pitch. They lost wickets at the wrong times, got it down to the wire and Scotland held their nerve.

Scotland v England - ODI
England fell six runs short in their chase of 371 in Edinburgh (Source: Getty)

In friendly games against lesser nations a little bit of complacency can sneak in. It’s embarrassing to lose those types of games.

England have lost to the Netherlands and Ireland on bigger stages before so they know that they can’t take these games for granted.

They didn’t look quite at the races, but going into the series with Australia I don’t think they’ll be too concerned. Over a long period England have shown themselves to be a very good one-day side, so I think they’ll put that result behind them and come out firing.

Despite the changes in leadership I don’t think Australia will alter how they play their cricket. They have always played aggressively and they’re not going to stop sledging and start shying away from competition. That would go away from what they’re about.

It’s about having a bit more class about how they go about things. Some of their players have taken things a bit far over the past few years. They’ve overstepped the mark and taken the game into disrepute.

Langer and new coach Ricky Ponting have got to the top of the game and played in one of the best sides ever. They’re fantastic people to have around and the players should learn from them.

They’re two very good appointments for Australia and I think they should take it back to basics, how they used to play, without that arrogance to gain respect back.

Cricket Australia Arrival Press Conference
Justin Langer replaced Darren Lehmann as Australia's head coach in May (Source: Getty)

Australia are a bit of a laughing stock at the moment so they’re sure to get some stick from English fans. They’ll have to take that on the chin and let their performances do the talking.

New captain Tim Paine has decided to make the two sides shake hands before the series and I think that is good for the spirit of the game. Hopefully they can put what happened behind them, set a precedent and move on. They have a new skipper and new coaches so they are trying to start afresh.

The ball normally comes on at the Oval in one-day cricket and the big square means it’s a quick-scoring ground.

I hope we see a competitive game with scores beyond 350 so we can start the series with a bang and get a positive vibe around the sport again.

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