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Aussies pondering lessons from big-hitting England


Steve Smith says Australia could learn a thing or two from England’s freewheeling one-day international style after the visitors blazed their way to a series-opening victory.

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England have taken a 1-0 lead in the five-match series after Jason Roy’s superb 180 propelled them to a five-wicket win at the MCG.

Set an imposing 305 to win on Sunday, the visitors chased down their target with seven balls to spare after Roy belted the highest ODI score by an England batsman.

He and Test skipper Joe Root (91 not out) combined for a 221-run third-wicket partnership to restore some English pride after their 4-0 Ashes series defeat.

It is the highest ODI run chase ever at the MCG, exceeding the 296 made by Australia against India in 2016.

And Smith believes it could be cause for a rethink of Australia’s strategies as they look ahead to their 2019 World Cup defence.

The Australian skipper noted that England had a wealth of attacking options with Roy, Jonny Bairstow, Alex Hales, Eoin Morgan and Jos Buttler all inclined to bat aggressively.

“It just looks like the way that they play is everyone just goes really hard and Joe Root is sort of the rock in the middle,” Smith said.

“He just plays good cricket and guys bat around him.

“That works for them and that’s something that we might have to think about as well, having guys that are going really hard and having someone – it might be me – that just bats normally.”

Returning to the ODI summit is one of Smith’s key goals after Australia went winless in last year’s Champions Trophy and suffered series losses in New Zealand and India.

Describing England as one of the best ODI teams in the world, Smith said the rewards of their style may outweigh the risk.

“I guess if you do that, perhaps you’re going to have days where you get bowled out for not many but you back your players to come off maybe more often than not and get those big totals,” Smith said.

“That’s what the English players are doing at the moment. They’re just playing with such freedom and have pretty good game plans.”

Smith’s comments come less than a fortnight after Glenn Maxwell, who boasts an ODI strike rate of 123.93, was controversially omitted from Australia’s 14-man squad.

The dynamic allrounder has been in excellent touch in domestic cricket and his absence is likely to remain a talking point if England maintain the upper hand in the series.


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