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Early glimpse of Ashes rivals at Lord's Published: 28 June 2012

A little over a year from the 2013 Ashes series, Australia and England meet in the first ODI of a five match series at Lord's with plenty to play for.

Australia remain the number one ranked side in the ODI arena, but with England on a winning run of six consecutive home ODI series wins, Alastair Cook's team will be confident coming into the opener at Lord's.

There is the carrot of England potentially replacing Australia at the top of the ODI rankings with an unlikely 5-0 clean sweep but the Aussies were the last team to beat England at home and won the last match at Lord's between the two sides in 2010. England won that series 3-2.

Balance

England have embraced the new ICC Playing Regulation which has introduced two new balls for ODIs - one at each end - by picking four front-line seamers to compliment Graeme Swann in their series win over the West Indies.

Cook has been afforded the luxury of adding quick bowler Steven Finn to the first-choice Test attack of Swann, James Anderson, Tim Bresnan and Stuart Broad to form a fiercely imposing unit.

It does however, leave Bresnan batting at number seven, and while England's openers excelled against the West Indies, Australia vice-captain Shane Watson believes his side could take advantage of the top-heavy line-up.

"For England to be able to go in with four frontline quick bowlers is a very good thing for them, against our batting line up. But it also means that if we're able to get into their batting line up early, they might be one batsmen short" said the all-rounder.

"For us to have success here we need to make early in-roads with the ball."

Lord's factor

The series might not be the most high-profile in the history of cricket's greatest rivalry, but Watson added that playing the first of five matches at Lord's would add to its gravitas.

"The Lord's factor is there. It's the ultimate for any cricketer, especially an Australian cricketer to play against England at Lord's," added Watson, who at 30 is on his fifth international tour of England.

"Everyone's really excited more than anything. It's a dream to be able to play a game against England at Lord's and having been luckier enough to play here before, I'm very excited to get out there."

New faces

It's barely 18 months since England returned home from Australia having regained the Ashes - but the tourists will unveil a new generation of players - led by seamers Pat Cummins and James Pattinson, the younger brother of England one-Test wonder Darren.

Cummins, just 19 years old, and Pattinson, 22, have impressed in all forms since coming into the Aussie set-up, and compliment the experience of veteran Brett Lee and the mercurial Mitchell Johnson.

Matthew Wade is also set for his first international appearance in England, after assuming the wicket-keeper batsman duties from Brad Haddin.


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