London – Australia captain Tim Paine won the toss and elected to bat against England in the first one-day international at The Oval on Wednesday – the tourists’ first international match since their ‘ball-tampering’ series in South Africa.
England, the world’s number one-ranked ODI side, made one change to the team that suffered a shock six-run defeat by Scotland on Sunday, with rested Jos Buttler replacing Sam Billings after the wicket-keeper was rested from the loss in Edinburgh.
Australia gave a debut to South Africa-born Michael Neser after the Queensland medium-pacer impressed in warm-up victories over Sussex and Middlesex.
Travis Head, fresh from a hundred against Middlesex at Lord’s last weekend, was selected to open alongside Aaron Finch, with D’Arcy Short left out of the XI.
Marcus Stoinis, who made a hundred against Sussex in the tour opener, returned after being rested against Middlesex.
Australia were without their injured Ashes-winning fast-bowling trio of Mitchell Starc, Pat Cummins and Josh Hazlewood, with Andrew Tye, Kane Richardson and Billy Stanklake selected by the tourists on Wednesday.
This was Australia’s first international series since their tour of South Africa saw former captain Steve Smith and his deputy David Warner – two of the world’s leading batsmen – given year-long bans by Cricket
Australia for their roles in the ball-tampering scandal during the third Test in Cape Town in March.
Top-order batsman Cameron Bancroft, who applied sandpaper to the ball, was given a nine-month ban.
“We’re going to bat first,” said Paine at the toss. “We’re excited to be here in London. There’s a lot of water which has gone under the bridge and the lads are pumped to get out there and play now.”
England skipper Eoin Morgan added: “I would have bowled first. The wicket looks good and probably won’t change a great deal.
“We’ve spoken about the Scotland loss and about the importance of going back to basics. Hopefully we can rectify it today.”
Sandpaper boundary cards were handed out to spectators outside The Oval by some ‘entrepreneurs’ outside the card but security staff tried to confiscate them on the grounds the their logo constituted ‘ambush marketing’.
Wednesday’s day/night fixture was Justin Langer’s first international match as Australia coach after he succeeded Darren Lehmann following his fellow former Test batsman’s resignation in South Africa.
It was also the first of a five-match series between 2019 World Cup hosts England and reigning champions Australia.
In a sign that Australia intended to be more respectful towards their opponents after accepting some of their previous ‘sledging’ had become verbal abuse, the teams shook hands before the start of play at Paine’s request.
Jason Roy, Jonny Bairstow, Alex Hales, Joe Root, Eoin Morgan (captain), Jos Buttler (wkt), Moeen Ali, David Willey, Liam Plunkett, Adil Rashid, Mark Wood
Aaron Finch, Travis Head, Shaun Marsh, Marcus Stoinis, Glenn Maxwell, Tim Paine (captain/wkt), Ashton Agar, Michael Neser, Andrew Tye, Kane Richardson, Billy Stanlake
Umpires: Kumar Dharmasena (SRI), Rob Bailey (ENG)
TV umpire: Marais Erasmus (RSA)
Match referee: Ranjan Madugalle (SRI)