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Chance for England to complete a treble

LONDON: England and Australia meet in a five-match one-day international series starting at Hampshire's Rose Bowl ground on Tuesday knowing their every move will be scrutinised for its Ashes relevance.

For England, which will defend the Ashes in Australia starting in November, this series allows it the chance to complete a notable treble over its oldest cricket rival.

Having won last year's Test series in England, it beat Australia in last month's World Twenty20 final in Barbados to claim its first major global limited overs trophy.

Victory in the one-day series would give England bragging rights over Australia in all three international formats.

Trying to construct form lines from one-day cricket to Test cricket is an often unsatisfactory business and the teams that take the field on Tuesday are likely to be different to those that walk out at Brisbane in November.

Back in charge

England captain Andrew Strauss and Australia counterpart Ricky Ponting will both be back in charge after each missed the World Twenty20 because they have each opted out of the format.

But England is currently resting Ashes pace prospect Steven Finn in order for the lanky Middlesex quick to undergo strength work.

Injured quicks

Meanwhile Australia has arrived in England without several injured quicks in Mitchell Johnson, Peter Siddle, Brett Lee and Ben Hilfenhaus. First choice wicketkeeper Brad Haddin is also sidelined, with Tim Paine now behind the stumps.

However, star batsman Ponting is well aware of the context now facing an Australia side which is still the reigning world champion in the 50-over game and beat England 6-1 in a one-day campaign last year after losing the Ashes.

“Whenever there is a big series coming up the build-up starts a fair way out — and for the Ashes it's already started,” said Ponting.

“Pretty much from now until the Ashes are over and done with in the middle of January, everything we do will have some sort of focus on the Ashes series.

“There will be no excuses for us come late November.

‘X-factor missing'

Discarded England batsman Owais Shah said Australia's pace attack lacked the “X-factor” after scoring 92 for Middlesex against the tourists in their final warm-up match at Lord's on Saturday.

Left-arm quick Doug Bollinger was the stand out Aussie quick at Lord's while Clint McKay and Ryan Harris struggled.

The teams:

England: Andrew Strauss (capt), Craig Kieswetter (wkt), Kevin Pietersen, Ian Bell, Paul Collingwood, Eoin Morgan, Luke Wright, Tim Bresnan, Stuart Broad, Graeme Swann, Ryan Sidebottom, James Anderson, Michael Yardy

Australia: Shane Watson, Tim Paine (wkt), Ricky Ponting (capt), Michael Clarke, Cameron White, Michael Hussey, Steven Smith, Nathan Hauritz, Ryan Harris, Clint McKay, Doug Bollinger, James Hopes, Shaun Marsh, Josh Hazlewood

Fixtures June 22: 1st ODI, Rose Bowl (d/n) June 24: 2nd ODI, Sophia Gardens, Cardiff (d/n) June 27: 3rd ODI, Old Trafford June 30: 4th ODI, The Oval (d/n) July 03: 5th ODI, Lord's . — AFP

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