Liam Plunkett insists England’s one-day specialists have no reason to be cowed by Australia’s Ashes success.
After surrendering the urn in a 4-0 series defeat, the tourists are hoping for a measure of revenge in the five-match Gillette series.
While the likes of Joe Root, Moeen Ali, Jonny Bairstow and Chris Woakes all head into Sunday’s first one-day international in Melbourne bearing the bruises of the Test reverse, others are bringing a fresh dynamic.
Thursday’s warm-up win over a Cricket Australia XI showed Alex Hales (52) and captain Eoin Morgan (81no) in particularly eye-catching form, while Plunkett joined Mark Wood in delivering the kind of rapid seam bowling that was conspicuous by its absence at key times during the Ashes.
The Yorkshire paceman took two wickets in his nine overs, including CA skipper Matt Renshaw with only his third delivery on tour, and he has no intention of taking a backward step at the MCG.
“Australia are a good team and they’re confident from the Ashes but it is a different squad and a different unit here,” he said.
“A lot of our guys didn’t play in the Ashes, so we’re full of energy and full of beans. Some of the guys have been out here playing in the Big Bash, lads have been all over the world playing, so we’re full of confidence and looking forward to that first game.
“It’s a massive challenge against one of the best teams in the world, we’re looking forward to doing battle with them and trying to take this series. It’s always a test when you come to somebody else’s back yard. To get a win out here is pretty big.”
England had a day off training as they swapped Sydney for a rainy Melbourne and will hope they can dodge inclement weather long enough to have a full practice session at the MCG on Saturday.
Root will be expected to play a full part in whatever drills are possible after finally shaking off the effects of viral gastroenteritis and take his place in England’s top order.
With Bairstow guaranteed one of the opening slots that means former partners Jason Roy and Hales going head to head. The pair made 40 and 52 respectively against CA, with Hales hoping his slightly larger contribution is enough to earn him a first international outing since his involvement in a late night incident with Ben Stokes in September.
Both men were suspended by England pending police investigations and, while Hales was cleared in December, Stokes is still waiting to hear if he will be charged by the Crown Prosecution Service.
Speaking after Thursday’s match in Sydney, Morgan said Hales has “learned his lesson”.