Australia, who secured one-day international series 4-1 and preceding Ashes series 5-0, are leading the T20 series 1-0 after registering a nerve-racking 13-run victory in Hobart.
The change of format couldn’t change England’s fortune as the batting and bowling woes continued to haunt them in the opening T20.
After Cameron White and Aaron Finch bashed English bowlers all the way and cracked whirlwind half-centuries to power Australia to a gigantic 213-4, England witnessed yet another top-order collapse and slumped to 4-51 before Ravi Bopara single-handedly turned a lop-sided contest into a tense finish with a whirlwind 27-ball 65. However, despite Bopara’s blitz, England ultimately fell short by 13 runs.
Bowlers were main culprit of England’s loss. Barring Stuart Broad and Bopara, all the English bowlers were tremendously expensive and they all had their economy rates above 10.
An Australian in victory in Friday’s game will push them from eighth to sixth on the ICC rankings, meaning they will exchange positions with England.
In the spotlight:
39-year-old Brad Hodge has earned a recall to the national T20 squad after nearly six years. He last represented Australia in a T20 in February, 2008. Since he has consistently played domestic leagues across the globe and is leading run-scorer of all time in unofficial Twenty20. It is a chance for him to fortify his place in team before World T20, scheduled to be held in Bangladesh in March.
Eoin Morgan was one of a few consistent performers for England in the ODI series but was dismissed cheaply in first T20. If Morgan can wangle a knock in the centre, he could single-handedly turn the complexion of game.
Australia are expected to sit Moises Henriques to make way for Hodge. No other changes are expected in the batting-order but in bowling, seamer Josh Hazlewood, who was very expensive in the first game, could be replaced with Kane Richardson.
Despite defeat, England are unlikely to tinker their batting-order. However, reshuffle in bowling-line is on cards. Spinner Danny Briggs, who was England’s most expensive bowler in Hobart, could be replaced by James Tredwell while Ben Stokes could replace Jade Dernbach.
George Bailey (Captain), Aaron Finch (vice-capt), Nathan Coulter-Nile, Daniel Christian, James Faulkner, Josh Hazlewood, Moises Henriques, Ben Cutting, Chris Lynn, James Muirhead, Mitchell Starc, Matthew Wade (wk), Glenn Maxwell, Cameron White.
Stuart Broad (captain), Tim Bresnan, Ravi Bopara, , Jos Buttler, Jade Dernbach, James Tredwell, Alex Hales, Chris Jordan, Michael Lumb, Joe Root, Eoin Morgan, Boyd Rankin, Danny Briggs, Ben Stokes, Luke Wright.