#CWC15: Australia v England Preview - Pool A

The old Ashes enemies, England and Australia, get their respective Cricket World Cup campaigns underway on Valentine’s Day with no love lost and everything to play for…

England have only won one of twelve One-Day Internationals played in Australia in the last four years. In World Cups, Australia have won four of six meetings between the two countries.

The stats are one-sided, but with the pressure of being hot tournament favourites in front of a 90,000 capacity crowd at the MCG, the Australians will be nervous and wary of the English.

Only India in 2011 has ever won a World Cup final on home turf, but George Bailey, who leads the Australian’s in the absence of injured Michael Clarke, probably just for this game, has said that his team are ready to respond to the opportunities of playing at home.

England have happy memories of World Cups down under after making the final of the event in 1992.

“It’s a big game for both sides, something we’re really looking to,” said Jimmy Anderson, England’s senior paceman. ““I’ve played here a few times before and I know all about the atmosphere 90,000 people can create.

“As a cricketer, you want to play in games like this, you want to play in front of big crowds and show off your skill and talent in front of them - hopefully we can do that tomorrow,” said the cricketer preparing to play in his fourth World Cup. “We’re guessing the majority will be against us and that’s something we’re prepared for.

“But we’ve played here in a Test in front of 90,000 on Boxing Day and, if we start well, we know we can quieten most of them. It’s all about starting well and enjoying the occasion. It’s something we’ve got to try and soak up and really enjoy.”

Australia has dominated the rivalry since Mitchell Johnson’s pace broke the Ashes open in late 2013.

Australia have a bowling attack to be feared with Mitchell Johnson leading the line and Mitchell Starc, Josh Hazlewood (main photo) and Pat Cummins more than capable of doing the damage.

We wonder if Josh Hazlewood’s comments could come back to bite him - England haven’t got a clue against the Aussies

Likely teams

Australia: David Warner, Aaron Finch, Shane Watson, Steve Smith, George Bailey (capt), Mitchell Marsh, Glenn Maxwell, Brad Haddin (wk), Mitchell Johnson, Mitchell Starc, Josh Hazlewood.

England: Ian Bell, Moeen Ali, James Taylor, Joe Root, Eoin Morgan (capt), Gary Ballance, Jos Buttler (wk), Chris Woakes, Stuart Broad, James Anderson, Steven Finn.

Badger Predicts

Australia should be too strong, but it remains to be seen how they will respond to the pressures of playing at home. It is far easier to be interviewed on the issue and say the right thing than perform.

The match will be played on a drop-in pitch and with rain forecast the nature of the surface could provide a low scoring contest. Local knowledge could be important.

We think that Australia will get off to a winning start.

James Buttler

James has been working as a journalist and broadcaster in cricket since 2006 and was an avid fan for many years before that.
As the editor of World Cricket Badger he is intent on building the website to give quality coverage of the domestic game around the world.
He is also the presenter of the Cricket Badger Radio Show on Radio Yorkshire every Tuesday evening between 7-9pm UK time.
James was the full-time Media Manager at Yorkshire County Cricket Club between 2007 and 2010.
James is a published author, a writer/video contributor to many cricket publications and a complete cricket badger!

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