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England to hit comeback trail at SCG after dominant Australia take series opener
Jos Buttler’s men go into the 2nd ODI down 1-0 in the three-game series after an understandably off-key performance in Adelaide on Thursday.
England will need to come from a game down in the series if they are to beat hosts Australia after a disappointing performance in Adelaide on Thursday night.
The smart money suggested the hosts were always the more likely to look ready for this game with many of England’s white ball performers still coming back down to earth following their T20 World Cup victory last Sunday.
Much has been made about cricket’s relentless schedule in recent weeks and England have certainly felt the consequences of it with several key personnel missing through both injury and otherwise on Thursday.
Far from full strength, there were chances for a number of players to step up and stake their claim for a more regular place in Jos Buttler’s side, including for opener Jason Roy, whose white ball form already cost him a place in the T20 team earlier this year.
He struggled once again at the top of the order though, making only seven before copping a jaffa from Mitchell Starc.
However, his struggles were certainly not unique as the visitors were reduced to 31-3 to open the match before a magnificent 134 from Dawid Malan helped put England back on course for a respectable score.
It was a bittersweet moment for Malan, scoring his second ODI ton just days after failing a late race to be fit for the T20 World Cup final against Pakistan last weekend.
Reflecting on the last week, the in-form 35-year-old said: “To get to the T20 World Cup final and be ruled out was gutting, so to come here, prove my fitness and score a hundred was extremely satisfying.
"We were probably 30 or 40 runs short if we're being honest.
"Fifty overs is probably my strongest format but it's hard to get into the team with how guys have performed the last couple of years. But if I keep doing what I'm doing, I might be part of that squad."
It was a magnificent innings from Dawid Malan
- Pat Cummins
He will have done his chances absolutely no harm with a showing like that which even drew plaudits from the Aussie skipper Pat Cummins.
"It was a magnificent innings from Dawid Malan, he just kept ticking over and targeted the short boundary, he was class,” Cummins added.
England’s bowlers toiled to keep Australia under a par score in response to their first innings but the hosts got off to a blistering start by openers David Warner and Travis Head.
Head, stepping in to replace the injured Glenn Maxwell, put it on England’s strike bowlers as the Aussies raced to 147 before the first wicket fell.
From there the match felt like a formality – but Buttler will be hoping he can call upon the likes of Chris Woakes, Adil Rashid and Moeen Ali to give his bowling attack a much-needed upgrade in Sydney this weekend.
All three were rested following their exploits at the T20 World Cup but with the series now on the line at the SCG, it would be a shock if all three were not instantly recalled on Saturday.
Can Buttler’s boys turn it around and take the game to a decider in Melbourne? Find out exclusively live on BT Sport this weekend.
Tune in to Australia vs England from 3am on Saturday morning for all the action.