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Twenty20: Australia vs England first T20I preview

England's preparations for this month's T20 World Cup step up a gear with a three-match series against tournament hosts Australia.

The opening match is in Perth on Sunday morning before both squads fly east to Canberra for games two and three.

It's all about fine-tuning now for the World Cup which for both these nations starts on October 22nd, with the Aussies taking on New Zealand in Sydney before England face Afghanistan in Perth.

WhatAustralia vs England, 1st T20 International
WhereOptus Stadium, Perth
When09:10, Sunday 9th October, 2022
How to watchBT Sport 1
OddsAustralia 11/10, England 8/11 

Buttler back as England aim for rare joy

England flew out to Australia with spirits high after coming from 3-2 down to beat Pakistan 4-3 in a keenly-contested series in Lahore and Karachi.

It was the high point of what has otherwise been a disappointing year for the Lions over the shortest format, having lost their previous three series - in the West Indies during the spring and back-to-back home showdowns with India and South Africa.

They also pulled off the win over Pakistan minus skipper Jos Buttler, who is back to lead his side in Perth, and Ben Stokes, who is also fit, firing and ready to stake his claim for the No.4 spot in England's World Cup XI.

England have a terrible history in T20 cricket in Australia. They have played the Aussies eight times on their soil and lost seven of those matches, though they haven't played them since 2018.

You have to go all the way back to 2011 for the only England win in Australia, when Paul Collingwood's tourists managed a last-ball, one-wicket success over Cameron White's hosts.

Australia are 10/11 to win this series, England are 10/11, while Buttler's men are 8/11 to strike first blood in Perth.

Australia gamble on new-look bowling attack

It's easy to see why England should fancy their chances in Perth.

Not only will they be upbeat after their come-from-behind success in Pakistan, but the Australian selectors have also omitted pretty much their entire first-choice bowling unit, preserving the likes of Pat Cummins, Mitchell Starc and Adam Zampa for the subsequent games in Canberra. Glenn Maxwell has also been given a break.

"We have a World Cup to win and that is what we have got to peak for," said Cummins. "There is no point in burning out in these games."

Cummins was speaking after the first T20 international against West Indies on Wednesday, which they won by three wickets off the penultimate ball. They won the second game against the Windies on Friday far more easily, David Warner starring with a 41-ball 75 in a 31-run victory.

Starc, Cummins and Zampa, incidentally, between them took seven of eight Windies' wickets to fall in Brisbane, so Buttler will be thrilled that the three of them won't be walking out to play in Perth.

Those successes made it nine wins from their last 14 T20s since the Baggy Greens lifted the T20 World Cup for the first time in Dubai last November.

Where Australia will be super strong is in the batting department with Warner, captain Aaron Finch, Cameron Green, Steve Smith and the explosive Tim David all in the squad, though Finch himself admitted that the Baggy Greens will keep tinkering right through the series.

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England also have big calls to make

Australia aren't alone in being in an experimental mode, with England also having some big decisions to make over the next week.

Who out of Phil Salt or Alex Hales will open in Perth and get the chance to stake the claim of fronting up with Buttler against Afghanistan in their World Cup opener?

Can Harry Brook do any more to get a top-six berth, while do the selectors risk Stokes and Chris Jordan back in the fray after lengthy lay-offs?

Mark Wood is also being nursed back to full health and looked sharp when he got opportunities in Pakistan.

There is a sense that because of the names missing from the Australian bowling attack that England have an outstanding claim in Perth, but there is so much daunting firepower in the Aussie top six and Pakistan were able to run up one or two huge totals against an attack which was hit-and-miss.

Warner, David and a back-to-form Finch showed up well against the Windies this week and perhaps the Aussies are a touch of value at 11/10 to take a 1-0 lead.

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