England will take on Australia in the first ODI of the five-match series at the Ageas Bowl in Southampton on Thursday.
This will be a huge task for the Australia captain Steve Smith, as he has to lead this side, which are in transition, from the front. The Aussies rely way too much on Smith when it comes to batting across all three formats.
Six months ago, the world saw England crashing out from the group stages of the ICC World Cup 2015, after suffering a humiliating loss at the hands of Bangladesh. The latter qualified for the quarterfinals at the expense of England. Since then, Eoin Morgan's men have undergone a massive transformation.
Their change in mindset helped them score 400 runs for the first time in ODIs, in a match against New Zealand. Their attack-at-all-costs mentality has been the key to their form reversal in the limited over format.
"The development of the side in that one-day series [against New Zealand] has been brilliant. Even in the game the other day [T20 against Australia in Cardiff], we managed to continue the aggressive nature in which we played - both with ball and bat," Morgan told reporters ahead of the first ODI.
"We're at a completely different phase in our development with our team and our squad compared to Australia so it's certainly going to be a good test."
Australia, on paper, do not lack punch in their batting order, which has names like David Warner, Shane Watson, Glenn Maxwell and the skipper Smith himself. If any one of these batsmen manage to stay at the crease for a long period of time, the ball will start to disappear to all parts of the ground, while leaving the bowlers frustrated.
Smith is also wary of the England batting lineup and their abilities with the willow. He is hopeful that Australia have enough firewpower to outplay the English at the Ageas Bowl on Thursday.
"They've got a couple of new players in and the way they played against New Zealand was really good," Smith said. "They took the game on. I think Moeen Ali said the other day they're trying to play quite similarly to the way we play, so we know what they're going to do. We just need to be on from ball one and make sure we can counter-attack what they come at us with.
"I think they've come a long way in the last little bit. We're a very good one-day side. We're No.1 in the world at the moment and we're certainly going to be hunted. Hopefully we can continue to play well in one-day cricket and continue to have a lot of success."
Weather forecast suggest that it is likely to remain dry throughout the day and the wicket can produce a run feast keeping in mind the history of the Ageas Bowl.
England: Alex Hales, Jason Roy, Moeen Ali, Eoin Morgan (capt), Ben Stokes, Jos Buttler (wk), Sam Billings, Adil Rashid, David Willey, Liam Plunkett, Steven Finn.
Australia: David Warner, Joe Burns, Steven Smith (capt), George Bailey, Shane Watson, Glenn Maxwell, Mitchell Marsh, Matthew Wade (wk), Nathan Coulter-Nile, Mitchell Starc, Pat Cummins.
Where to Watch Live
The 1st ODI between England and Australia is scheduled for a 2:30 pm local time (7 pm IST, 9:30 am EST and 11:30 pm Australian Time) start and the live coverage in India will be available in Star Sports 1 and Star Sports HD1. The match can be streamed live on StarSports.com and Hotstar.com.
Viewers in the UK can tune into Sky Sports 2 and Sky Sports HD 2. The live streaming option will be available on SkyGo.
Viewers in Australia can watch the 1st ODI between England and Australia on the Nine Network and stream the same on Cricket.com.au.
Cricket fans in US can switch to ESPN 3 and live stream the match on WatchEspn.