After slumping to a 3-0 defeat in the Ashes series, Australia wants to salvage something from a wretched tour by beating England in the five-match one-day international series starting on Friday.
"It would be good to leave the U.K. with a couple of wins under our belt," Australia captain Michael Clarke said on Thursday, ahead of the first ODI at Headingly in Leeds. Australia can at least count on a better record in one-dayers lately than tests. The Aussies have won six of their last nine major ODI series, drawing two others and losing only one, in England last year, 4-0.
But in that period they have also lost their World Cup and Champions Trophy titles, and Clarke insisted he remained the man to lead the test and ODI teams. "I have no intention of giving up on ODIs," Clarke said, despite his chronic back problems.
"When you're captain, you are accountable, especially when you aren't performing well and your team is losing," he admitted on the pressures he feels as captain of a struggling outfit. When it was suggested his job was in doubt after a gloomy English summer, he responded: "Winning this series has nothing to do with my captaincy."
England captain Eoin Morgan says his team is using the series to build for the 2015 Cricket World Cup in Australia and New Zealand. While the introduction of the likes of Ben Stokes, Boyd Rankin, and teenager Jamie Overton make England understrength, they could be part of the 2015 team.
"The series is a stepping stone for a young, talented and exciting team" Morgan said. He didn't fear an Ashes hangover because the newcomers brought excitement, but added, "We really need to turn up. "I've never had a dull series against Australia. I think everybody is aware of the responsibility on their shoulders."
The teams warmed up with wins on Tuesday, England beating Ireland and Australia defeating Scotland.