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Australia vs England: Flat finishes, scheduling conflicts and five things we learned from the ODI series

The English achieved their mission in Australia by winning the T20 World Cup, but their time in Down Under came to a disheartening end after a clean 3-0 ODI victory by their Ashes rivals.

Here, the PA news agency looks at important issues arising from the three-match series, which Moeen Ali described as “awful” for the timing.

Does this result take away any luster from England’s T20 World Cup success?

Absolutely nothing. Just four days separated England’s victory over Pakistan in the T20 World Cup final and the opening of the ODI series against Australia. Many who helped England unify the ODI and T20 world titles stayed in Australia but were clearly tired. There have been some fresher faces such as James Vince and Sam Billings, players who are on the margins of the white ball setting but have had minimal preparation and no warm-up matches to adjust to the conditions. Australia, who were knocked out in the group stage of their home T20 World Cup, had an extra week of rest, and it honestly showed.

So why has this series moved forward?

Broadcasting commitments, mainly, but also as a gesture of thanks for Australia coming to England for the Covid 2020 summer white ball tour. While the matches in Adelaide and Sydney had satisfactory attendances, the 10,406-strong crowd at the MCG was the lowest in a venue with a capacity of 100 000 seats for men’s ODI featuring Australia. Even if it was a mid-week match and Melbourne’s weather was unusually cold for the time of year, fans can vote with their feet as the cricket schedule reaches its saturation point. Make no mistake, such a small audience for England-Australia matches should not go unnoticed.

How alarming should that be?

England suffered their heaviest ODI defeat in terms of runs on Tuesday, and the result was largely greeted with shrugs. If the paying audience can see the insignificance of these matches, then who can blame the players for doing anything else when the results don’t have time to oxygenate? Moeen’s comments were backed up by Billings, who said, “The schedule doesn’t allow players of all formats to move forward.” But it’s not just England’s problem, as Australia’s left-back Mitchell Starc believes it’s “impossible” to be a three-format player, adding: “They (country boards) see a break and start the series.”

Has England learned anything from this?

While there are mitigating circumstances for this result, it can be seen that apart from perhaps David Malan, no one who is on the periphery of the ODI setup has really taken their chance. Vince, Billings and David Willey flickered at times, but at this point in their careers, the trio have to grab more games by the neck if they want to fly to India to defend England’s 50s. for next year’s World Cup. Olly Stone rushed at a decent pace and scored a four in the dead rubber, but only after being hit by centurions Travis Head and David Warner.

So how are England preparing for the 2023 World Cup?

While England hope to lure Ben Stokes out of ODI retirement, the likes of Liam Livingstone, Mark Wood and Harry Brook have been unavailable for the final game in Australia as they prepare for a series of tests in Pakistan. Jonny Bairstow, Reece Topley and Jofra Archer also missed out with injuries, while an extended spell of Jason Roy’s formlessness could see T20 specialist Alex Hales back into the 50-over-fold. A lot can happen in the next 11 months and we have to wait and see.

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