Gillette ODI Series 2018

Aussies' 50-over funk has Smith stumped

Australia's form slump in ODI cricket has left the skipper scratching his head for answers

Adam Burnett at the Gabba

19 January 2018, 11:19 PM AEST

Second ODI wrap: Root guides England to 2-0

Australia must create history if they're to triumph in this Gillette ODI Series against England but at present captain Steve Smith is at a loss to explain his team's run of disappointing results. 

The Australians have won just one of their past 10 one-day matches – the worst 10-match span in their history – and are staring down the barrel of a series defeat to England after they went 0-2 down to Eoin Morgan's side in a comprehensive four-wicket loss at the Gabba. 

The five-time World Cup winners have never come back from that deficit to claim a five-match series, and Smith said post-match in Brisbane that the solution to the team's ongoing funk was presently beyond him. 

"I don't know the answer to that – I wish I did," the skipper said when asked to explain the form dip the reigning world champions have experienced across the past 12 months. 

"I think in probably the last 10 games we've actually got ourselves into some reasonable positions – we just haven't been able to take advantage of them. 

"Like today, at 3-209, we were probably set to get 310-320 and then it's a completely different ball game. So making better decisions, or executing our skills better in those key moments – I'd never have a go at someone like Aaron Finch for trying to go over mid-on with the full ball because he plays it so well, but he just executed it poorly, that's all it is. 

"So we've just got to execute our skills better in those moments to ensure we get the scores we need to (compete) against quality oppositions like England and India.

"So 270 isn't good enough; and scoring 60 off the last 11 overs isn't good enough against a quality batting line-up like England."

Fantastic Finch makes it back-to-back tons

Eight of those past 10 matches have been against those two sides, with the other two away to New Zealand in a series in which Smith and David Warner were rested, however despite various changes in personnel through that time, finding a suitable team balance remains an unsolved issue. 

Australia dropped leg-spinner Adam Zampa in Brisbane and replaced him with veteran batsman Cameron White, who batted at seven, meaning debutant Alex Carey slotted in at No.8, just two days after hammering a century for Adelaide Strikers as an opener in the KFC Big Bash. 

Carey crunches rapid century for the Strikers

It was an XI that appeared particularly lopsided in favour of batsmen, and as a consequence, defending 270 always appeared a Herculean challenge for a team boasting just three frontline bowlers, backed up by a couple of allrounders in Mitchell Marsh and Marcus Stoinis (who bowled 5.2 overs between them) and part-timers. 

"We went in without the spinner on this occasion and tried to make our batting a little bit deeper, and that obviously didn't work as well as we would have liked," Smith said. 

"We're still trying to find the right balance. 

"Obviously the two other quicks (Pat Cummins and Josh Hazlewood) aren't here at the moment either, (Tim) Paine's not well … no excuse, we didn't play well enough and England outplayed us in every facet of the game. 

"In Sydney it's a do-or-die clash for us, and we've got to come out and start playing some better one-day cricket."

2017-18 International Fixtures

Gillette ODI Series v England

Australia ODI squad: Steve Smith (c), David Warner (vc), Pat Cummins, Aaron Finch, Josh Hazlewood, Travis Head, Mitchell Marsh, Tim Paine, Jhye Richardson, Mitchell Starc, Marcus Stoinis, Andrew Tye, Cameron White, Adam Zampa.

England ODI squad: Eoin Morgan (c), Moeen Ali, Jonny Bairstow, Jake Ball, Sam Billings, Jos Buttler, Tom Curran, Alex Hales, Dawid Malan, Liam Plunkett, Adil Rashid, Joe Root, Jason Roy, David Willey, Chris Woakes, Mark Wood.

First ODI England won by five wickets at the MCG.

Second ODI England won by four wickets at the Gabba

Third ODI SCG, January 21. Tickets

Fourth ODI Adelaide Oval, January 26. Tickets

Fifth ODI Perth Stadium, January 28. Tickets

Prime Minister's XI

PM's XI v England Manuka Oval, February 2. Tickets

Gillette T20 trans-Tasman Tri-Series

England T20 squad: Eoin Morgan (c), Sam Billings, Jos Buttler, Tom Curran, Liam Dawson, Alex Hales, Chris Jordan, Dawid Malan, Liam Plunkett, Adil Rashid, Joe Root, Jason Roy, Ben Stokes, James Vince, David Willey, Mark Wood.

First T20I Australia v NZ, SCG, February 3. Tickets

Second T20I Australia v England, Blundstone Arena, February 7. Tickets

Third T20I Australia v England, MCG, February 10. Tickets

Fourth T20I NZ v England, Wellington, February 14

Fifth T20I NZ v Australia, Eden Park, February 16

Sixth T20I NZ v England, Seddon Park, February 18

Final TBC, Eden Park, February 21