A LITTLE HEADS-UP, MOEEN
AUSTRALIA will unleash a bouncer barrage on in-form England batsman Moeen Ali in the series-opening one-day international in Southampton tonight.
Ali was a consistent lower order contributor in England’s Ashes triumph and when he moved up to his favoured position at the top for Monday’s Twenty20 international, the left-hander cut loose with an unbeaten 72 off 46 balls.
However, during the Lord’s Ashes Test, Australia were convinced they had discovered Ali’s achilles heel when Mitchell Johnson exposed him with a brutal spell of shortpitched bowling.
Mitchell Starc, the world’s No.1 white ball bowler, did not mince words when outlining his plan for Ali and the rest of the England top order.
“Definitely I reckon we can bowl a lot more bouncers than we did in that Twenty20 game,’’ Starc said.
“Even in that (ODI) game against Ireland we probably didn’t bowl enough either.
“The boundaries here in Southampton are quite large, so without having that straight hit and with the square boundaries back even further, bouncers for both teams are probably going to come into play.”
Ali and Starc exchanged insults after the Lord’s Test but England now hold the ascendancy and have every reason to go into the one-day series with their tails up.
It is an extraordinary turnaround given England failed to make the group stage at the World Cup earlier this year.
Australia thrashed Eoin Morgan’s side in the Cup opener as well as the preceding one-day series in the summer, but Starc acknowledged England are now a different side.
“Obviously that series they had with New Zealand prior to the Ashes has kick-started their summer over here with the way they’ve played their cricket and the different makeup of their team,” said Starc.
“They’re playing good cricket. Before the Ashes … there was some aggressive cricket and it was a good series between England and New Zealand.
“We expect them to be pretty similar in the way they go about their cricket against us.
“For us, it’s about continuing on from that World Cup.
“We’ve got a bit of a different make-up in terms of our team but we’re still trying to play our brand of cricket, go out and entertain the crowd.”
Australia are likely to go in with a high-velocity attack of Starc, Pat Cummins and Nathan Coulter-Nile unless conditions warrant spinner Ashton Agar making an ODI debut.
Starc says he is buoyed by the chance to lead such a dynamic attack.
“I’m glad I don’t have to face it,” he said.