An historic day for cricket in Western Australia. It is not to the WACA that the players will arrive for the final ODI. Over the Swan River, the gleaming new Perth Stadium will make its international debut with 55,000 set to fill a ground that could hardly be more removed from its now second-tier neighbour. It adds a level of intrigue and significance to the final match of a series which England had wrapped up with room to spare.
However, the whitewash is no longer on the cards after Australia were marginally the less rubbish side with the bat in Adelaide – although it threatened to be a close run thing, which was quite a feat given England were 5 for 8. Travis Head kept his while others around him lost theirs with 96, before Tim Paine finally put the chase to bed.
It was not the first time this power-packed, world-leading, England side has come a cropper with dramatic results: against South Africa at Lord’s last year, also with the series safe, they found themselves 20 for 6 with the ball nibbling around. If there remains a question around this side it is batting first when there is some help on offer, although to still recover to 196 again highlighted their depth.
Josh Hazlewood and Pat Cummins exploited conditions superbly and will hope to score a few more points in Perth. However, given Steven Smith’s comments after the faltering chase, the important issue for Australia is a more confident batting display. This is their last one-day international until they visit England for a series in June.
(last five completed matches, most recent first)
In the spotlight
Jason Roy and Alex Hales could well be facing off against each other when Ben Stokes is available again – which may be for the series in New Zealand. Roy started this series with a record-breaking bang, making 180 at the MCG, but has found the going tougher since then while Hales has only hit his straps once in four innings and has been disturbed by Australia’s pace bowling. Although both will have a string of T20s over the next few weeks, they would like to finish this series with a score of note so that the selectors do not feel a decision is made for them.
David Warner has had a lean series with 58 runs in four innings, kept quiet by some tight new-ball bowling and then the one time he did get set in Brisbane falling to Moeen Ali. Unlike a few other senior figures, Warner won’t be getting a rest after this series as he takes over the captaincy for the T20s which will mean a hurried lead-in to the South Africa tour. The Australia management will hope that fatigue is not becoming an issue.
Steven Smith has hinted that Glenn Maxwell, who was snubbed in the original squad, could find a place in the side having come in for the injured Aaron Finch. Cameron White would be the man under pressure given a lean run since his surprise recall. Mitchell Starc, rested in Adelaide, and home-town boy Jhye Richardson are the other pace options.
Australia (possible) 1 David Warner, 2 Travis Head, 3 Cameron White/Glenn Maxwell, 4 Steven Smith (capt), 5 Mitchell Marsh, 6 Marcus Stoinis, 7 Tim Paine (wk), 8 Pat Cummins, 9 Andrew Tye/Jhye Richardson, 10 Adam Zampa, 11 Josh Hazlewood
Sam Billings, David Willey, Dawid Malan and Jake Ball are England’s squad players yet to get a game in this series and they will struggle to find a spot in Perth unless the view is taken that it’s worth some rotation. The first three of that quartet are also in the T20 squad. For Jonny Bairstow, Moeen Ali and Joe Root this is their last outing of the tour – they have been rested from the T20 tri-series.
England (possible) 1 Jason Roy, 2 Jonny Bairstow, 3 Alex Hales, 4 Joe Root, 5 Eoin Morgan (capt), 6 Jos Buttler (wk), 7 Moeen Ali, 8 Chris Woakes, 9 Adil Rashid, 10 Tom Curran, 11 Mark Wood
Pitch and conditions
The pitch, a drop-in, will be largely an unknown for its first international. It may be expecting too much for it to be a Perth flyer. The forecast is for a hot day and this is the only day-game of the series so there won’t be much relief from the heat.
Stats and trivia
The Perth Stadium will be the 19th ground to host an ODI in Australia
Perth (the WACA) was the venue for England’s only victory on the ill-fated 2013-14 tour.
Chris Woakes needs one wicket for 100 in ODIs
“We don’t want to wipe 10 overs out of the game and say, they bowled well but we only got 15-20 runs. We still want to take the game forward. I’d rather probably be 40 for 2 than 20 for 0.”
Eoin Morgan said England need to be a bit smarter when the ball is moving without getting into a defensive mindset