Aaron Finch scores his nine ton against England in the first ODI

MELBOURNE AUSTRALIA — JANUARY 14 Steven Smith captain of Australia sleads his side onto the field during game one of the One Day International Series between Australia and England at Melbourne Cricket Ground

Aaron Finch scores his nine ton against England in the first ODI

But just days after sickness cruelly knocked him out of the last Test in Sydney, England's skipper delivered a defiant message to his tormentors.

Although he retains the support of the players and the England and Wales Cricket Board, which has ruled out the sort of witch-hunt that followed the 2013-14 Ashes whitewash, there are those who believe that he should go now, or, at the very least, could yet go soon. On one hand, the hosts will be hoping to continue their dream stint and on the other, the visitors, whose tryst with batting experiment nearly blew up in their faces, will be looking to shrug aside their struggles and approach the ODIs like they have been doing from a year ago and a half.

Morgan stopped short of stating what England's line-up will be in Melbourne, but indicated Jonny Bairstow, Jason Roy and Alex Hales could all play.

Steve Smith shakes hands with Joe Root after England defeated Australia in their ODI played at the MCG
Steve Smith shakes hands with Joe Root after England defeated Australia in their ODI played at the MCG

Ahead of a busy global schedule, including home Test matches against India and Pakistan, England coach Trevor Bayliss has urged Root to skip the 2018 Indian Premier League. "TB has been brilliant", England's limited-overs captain said. Australia 199 for 4 after 36 overs. Chris Woakes has been Mr Reliable.

Hales could be involved for the first time since being suspended for his involvement in an incident in Bristol in September, which saw team-mate Ben Stokes arrested on suspicion of causing actual bodily harm.

Such is the dramatic impact it has had, Smith was asked on the eve of Sunday's first ODI in Melbourne whether the global side felt overshadowed by their own domestic tournament. After the Test series, this will be a big test for England. They will prey on an unsettled Australian batting order and should feel confident of making the necessary inroads. "He signed a contract until 2019 and has always said the same thing". "It's not often you get free rein and ambition to be adventurous as you like". Like most nations, they have also been strong at home and suffered few losses while playing against India.

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"I think we made big strides". "It is astonishing - he would be my first player on the team sheet".

Steve Smith is the main one.

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Finch's century was backed by fifties from Mitchell Marsh and Marcus Stoinis as Australia recovered from a shaky start in which the tourists finally managed to get bogeyman Steve Smith cheaply.

They had been rocked early on when for the first time this winter England confronted them with genuine pace.

Since the World Cup, Australia have bowled sides out in 21 of their 50 matches, compared to 17 in 53 for Morgan's side. Australia may go into the opener at the MCG as favourites but Morgan has vowed to stick to the approach Bayliss has cultivated.

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