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Australia vs England 2nd ODI predictions: Smith can seal the series in Sydney
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Simon Barlow
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Steve Smith will be hoping to put England to the sword once again on Saturday
Steve Smith will be hoping to put England to the sword once again on Saturday

England will attempt to hit back after going 1-0 down to Australia in their three-match ODI series when they face their oldest rivals again at Sydney Cricket Ground on Saturday.

Pat Cummins' side cruised to their victory target of 288 in Adelaide as openers David Warner and Travis Head put on 147 for the first wicket in under 20 overs.

Former captain Steve Smith then guided the Baggy Greens home with 3.1 overs to spare by striking a fluent unbeaten 80 off 78 balls.

Dawid Malan, one of only three ICC Men's T20 World Cup winners in the starting XI for England, top scored for the tourists just a few days after he had missed the victory over Pakistan in Melbourne with a groin strain.

The left-hander helped England recover from a disastrous power-play phase with 134 off 128 balls to post his highest international score in the format.

His success, and that of warner and Head, did nothing to dispel the belief that the Adelaide Oval is a ground that suits left-handers because of its short leg-side boundary square of the wicket.

Spinners should thrive at SCG

Adil Rashid has taken 166 wickets from 118 ODI matches for England
Adil Rashid has taken 166 wickets from 118 ODI matches for England

Match two at the SCG is likely to be played on a spinning wicket and the bigger boundaries will provide a greater test for the range hitters in both squads.

Team changes are to be expected on both sides, but Australian spin twins Adam Zampa and Ashton Agar, who returned figures of 3-55 and 0-62 on Thursday, are likely to be retained.

Josh Hazlewood and Mitchell Marsh could come into the reckoning, with Mitchell Starc possibly due a rest and Marnus Labuschagne the batter most likely to make way because of his poor form.

The South Africa-born right-hander has not made a score above 14 for Queensland since October 6 and was out for just four on Thursday.

Jos Buttler will want to include more of his T20 champions in Saturday's selection with white-ball magician Adil Rashid almost certain to feature.

The leg-spinner took 2-51 in his only previous ODI against Australia at the SCG back in 2018 and is coming off a match-turning performance against Pakistan.

Roy's low returns leave World Cup door open for duo

Chris Woakes and Sam Curran will also be back in the selection mix, although Buttler will probably want to see a bit more of Olly Stone after his spell of 0-50 off 10 overs in Adelaide included 37 dot balls.

Apart from Malan's heroics, England's top-order batting looked frail on Thursday and the most worrying aspect of it was again Jason Roy's lack of form.

The Surrey swashbuckler averaged 21 and 28.5 in last summer's two 50-over series against India and South Africa, but he has not had a white-ball score of more than 21 in his last 10 innings now.

These next two matches would seem to be his last chance to convince the selectors he is worth keeping on for England's defence of the World Cup next October.

Phil Salt and James Vince are jockeying for position to take over from Roy when England have all their big guns back.

Vince could go well back in Sydney, where he has enjoyed plenty of success for both the Thunder and Sixers in the Big Bash League.

Available at 5/1 with LiveScore Bet to be the Away Team Top Batter, he averages 39.3 at the SCG in the shorter format with a strike rate of almost 140.

Smith still has the magic touch

But given Australia's margin of success in Adelaide and the fact that England will again be putting an under-strength team out on the field, the hosts are worthy 1/2 favourites with LiveScore Bet to take the series with a second win in a row.

Warner was annoyed with himself after falling for 86 on Thursday and he still has not scored a century for Australia in any format since January 2020.

But Smith looked in great touch, displaying a poise and stillness at the crease not seen from him in some time.

Available at 3/1 with LiveScore Bet to be the Home Team Top Batter, he looks like being a potential matchwinner back at a ground where he has amassed four centuries in 14 ODI innings at an average of over 60.

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