Betfair Cricket Informer Chris Cairns envisages both sides having a minor attack of the nerves going into the first ODI between Australian and England before settling into a competitive five-match series
I always enjoy the first match of any series as it plays a huge part in the shape of how things will unfold.
What is interesting is that both sides have had an excellent lead up to this series.
What will count against each of them is that they have not had quality opposition to really test them.
First, the English.
Their convincing displays against a lacklustre West Indies side means there will be confidence in the camp. The English top order has played well, but against this Aussie line-up expect there to be between one and three wickets down each time the opening bowlers have finished their spell.
This is where the Australians are difficult to beat. They go very hard at the beginning of their fielding innings and put the opposition on the back foot.
There is a distinct lack of a quality forceful player in the English line-up. I believe the English batsmen will not be able to consistently put together a series of big enough team totals to test the Aussies.
The English strength will be in their bowling and their good attack. However, when you are defending modest totals it's always tough.
With the Australians, it's great to see them have an excellent warm-up to this series with some first-class games. Too often these days players are thrown straight in to international matches with little preparation.
The downside for the Aussies is they will have to go up a gear against a good English bowling attack, but there is significant depth in this Aussie side to see off any top order collapses.
My top wicket pick for Australia is Clint Mackay. He is a smart bowler, and with the others being quicker the English may look to attack him. With his change of pace and ability to pick up death over wickets, I feel he is a good bet.
On the batting front, Shane Watson @Betfair odds of (4.3) is the man. In England you don't often get pinch-hitters like Warner doing consistently well: the ball moves around too much. You need a sound technique to get through the first twenty overs and then you can flourish.
Watson is also my pick for Australian Top Series Batsman @ Betfair odds of (3.3) of the series, and for the Series Score, I think the first game will be tight, with England possibly pinching one match, but this Aussie side will run away with the series 4-1 (available @ Betfair odds of (5.9)) being my call.
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Top Australian Batsmen for First ODI: Shane Watson @Betfair odds of (4.3).