Australia and England meet at the 'Gabba in Brisbane on Friday for the second match of their ongoing One Day International series.
Venue: 'Gabba, Brisbane
Commences: Friday, Jan. 17, 2014
Start time: 3:20 a.m. GMT (1:20 p.m. local)
Live on: Sky Sports 2
Weather: The Weather Channel is forecasting a mostly sunny day, with the top temperature expected to hit 28 degrees Celsius.
If England had hoped that a change of format and clothing would alter their fortunes on this tour, they would have been vastly disappointed with what occurred in Melbourne on Sunday.
Altered sides, same outcome. That was essentially the theme of the first ODI in this series.
Stuck between their own diffidence and the bubbling confidence of their opponents, the visitors played like a side trying not to lose, rather than one eyeing a reassuring victory.
Even in the absence of the Australian pace trio that had tormented them in the Ashes, England's top-order pushed and poked their way around the MCG, posting a total of 269 that rarely forced the home side out of third gear in their second-innings chase.
Whereas Joe Root ate up deliveries, Aaron Finch and David Warner ate up England's bowlers, putting on a 163-run opening stand to effectively end the contest inside 28 overs.
Now, the tourists face the daunting prospect of facing Mitchell Johnson at the 'Gabba again—the very location where this Australian summer of torture began for Alastair Cook's side.
Having been rested for the first match, the left-armer is back—albeit without the handlebar moustache—and ready to resume his assault on a battered touring party.
Australia: Aaron Finch, David Warner, Shaun Marsh, Michael Clarke (c), George Bailey, Glenn Maxwell, Brad Haddin (wk), James Faulkner, Mitchell Johnson, Nathan Coulter-Nile, Clint McKay
England: Alastair Cook (c), Ian Bell, Michael Carberry, Gary Ballance, Eoin Morgan, Ravi Bopara, Ben Stokes, Jos Buttler (wk), Tim Bresnan, Chris Jordan, Boyd Rankin
Mitchell Johnson versus England's Top-Order
Copy, paste. Copy, paste. What was relevant for England's top-order against Johnson more than a month ago is just as relevant now.
Perhaps the visitors' only hope is that the departure of the speedster's throwback moustache has taken the left-armer's powers with it. Or that the capture of the urn has somewhat lessened Johnson's thirst for English blood.
Although some of the faces in this England limited-overs team are yet to receive some Johnson savagery, the top-order will be all too aware of the threat the rapid slinger poses, even if he's only got 10 overs up his sleeve this time around.
Australia's Openers versus Boyd Rankin
England's Boyd Rankin has looked like a man out of sorts from the minute he bowled his first over in his debut Test at Sydney.
At the MCG on Sunday, David Warner and Aaron Finch took to the tall right-armer, cashing in on his susceptibility to bowl both too short and too full when the rhythm isn't there.
Of course, it's not easy to bowl to two dashing and combative Australian openers, but if England are to have any chance to restrict the home side, Rankin must find a consistently good length and let his release height and steep bounce trouble Warner, Finch and Co.
Predicted Selection Changes
Australia: As stated, Mitchell Johnson returns and could likely replace Xavier Doherty to provide Australia with a pace-oriented attack on what is expected to be a fast and bouncy 'Gabba wicket.
All-rounder Shane Watson will also be missing for Australia, with team management giving the 32-year-old the next three matches off to rest his injury-prone body.
Shaun Marsh is the man likely to come into the side and occupy the No. 3 position in the batting order.
England: After forgetting what format he was playing in at the MCG, Joe Root looks likely to be dropped from the England side to face Australia in Brisbane. Certainly, scoring just three from 23 balls is enough to put even the finest players under pressure.
The man expected to replace the 23-year-old is Michael Carberry, who will undoubtedly bring a more attacking mindset to the visitors' top-order.
However, whether Carberry can overcome his lingering failure to convert starts into meaningful scores remains an issue.
When you evaluate both the lineups and psyches of these two sides, it's mightily difficult to picture England coming away with anything other than another comprehensive defeat in this match.
Whereas the England side is littered with players out of form and down on confidence, Australia are set to field another imposing lineup; their collection of impressive, hard-hitting batsmen only rivaled by India's stockpile of similar talent.
With Johnson back and the team riding a wave of previously unforeseen confidence, this match looks likely to be another lopsided affair.
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