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Five talking points ahead of England’s ODI series in Australia

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Fortunately for England fans, The Ashes are over for another year.

After losing 4-0 in the series, Joe Root's men have had a tour to forget Down Under, making bigger headlines off the field than they did on it.

Issues with Ben Stokes was just the beginning for the tourists, who's best result came in the penultimate Test, when they managed to hold the hosts to a draw.

However, it's not time to fly home just yet. Oh no. They have a one-day series to get through first.

England’s five-match one-day series against Ashes conquerors Australia gets underway in Melbourne on Sunday.

Press Association Sport have assessed five key areas of debate.

Steve Smith Torment

Having found the red Kookaburra no more use than a bar of soap when it came to getting out the Australia captain during the Test series, England will be hoping the change of hue brings a change of fortunes.

Having averaged 137.40 in the Ashes, it can hardly get any worse, but England skipper Eoin Morgan has already suggested his opposite number is just one of many threats.

“I don’t think he is the key wicket,” he said. “He is an unbelievable player and his run of form has been freakish, but there are loads of other impact players in their side.”

Australia v England - Fifth Test: Day 5

Eyes on Mark Wood

Durham paceman Mark Wood is an alluring figure for English cricket fans starved of pace during recent years.

He is an effervescent presence in the middle, generating venomous deliveries off a short, staccato run and asking questions many of his compatriots simply cannot.

But, his international CV is a frustratingly slender one, hampered by a catalogue of injuries. Now fully fit, hopes are high he can leave his mark on the Aussies in their own back yard.

One-Day Specialist

England appear to have drawn a line under Adil Rashid’s Test career, with Liam Dawson and Mason Crane both selected to partner Moeen Ali since he last appeared.

CA XI v England - One Day Tour Match

Positioning the Yorkshire leg-spinner as a one-day specialist is fine, as long he understands and appreciates the decision. If he does not, England might soon find one of their most reliable performers in the shorter formats allows questions of confidence or technical doubts to slip in.

Fast Bowling Coach

The arrival of Chris Silverwood as fast bowling coach offers plenty of reason for interest and intrigue.

Not only do England’s seamers have a permanent specialist to bounce off after the vacancy was only partially filled during the Ashes – initially by Shane Bond and then, improbably, by Paul Collingwood – they also have a newly influential figure around the dressing room.

Having won the county title with Essex last year, he comes with considerable coaching pedigree and is being hotly tipped to take the top job when Trevor Bayliss leaves in September 2019.

England v West Indies - 3rd Royal London One Day International

It will be fascinating to see him work with the group.

Australia's Motivation

Marcus Stoinis created a vivid image when he said the aim was the keep Australia’s foot on England’s throat in the one-day series, but there is plenty of precedent for sides slacking off once the main business has been settled.

Australia have shown intent by keeping so many Test winners involved, but will they be able to keep their intensity up or will they go the way of their 2007 predecessors, who were upset by the likes of Paul Nixon and Mal Loye?

By resting Josh Hazlewood for the first ODI and Pat Cummins for the second, there are already signs the artillery will not be as intense this month.

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Topics:
Cricket
The Ashes
Australia cricket
England cricket
ODI

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