England’s tormentor set to sit out first ODI in Melbourne

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For English batsmen, the sight of the moustachioed Mitchell Johnson mechanically running towards them, ball bobbing up and down as he moves ready to be slung with fearsome pace and alarming accuracy has caused them much distress during the Ashes.

But Cricket Australia, in either an act of pity or bid to even the contest up, have decided enough torment is enough as far as the Queenslander is concerned by resting the left-armer for the first One Day International in Melbourne.

The news makes England’s 6/4 price to win the match a far more juicier prospect without Johnson lining up in green and gold and one that Ladbrokes customers should consider seriously.

Australia have won 85 of the 134 one-dayers that Johnson has played in, an impressive win percentage of 63.

Given the hair-raising form the quick is currently in – he snared the most ever wickets by an Aussie seamer in a five-match series during the Ashes – and the impact he clearly has in winning his side ODIs, Johnson’s absence could be the first sign that England’s luck is about to change on this tour.

What’s more, Aussie coach Darren Lehmann stated that he and the remaining selectors will actively seek to rest the other Test-playing squad members during this coloured-kit series.

That means England, who have no fewer than 10 scarred Ashes losers in their ODI squad, will also get respite from other scourges like David Warner, Shane Watson and chief-thorn Brad Haddin as the hosts look to manage the workloads ahead of their South Africa clash.

With that policy in mind, the 9/4 on England winning the five-match ODI series should also be taken with Australia’s 4/11 price curiously short considering they’ll be without their Ashes heroes for at least one match at a time.

All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.

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Matt Wiggins

No idyllic sound comes close to leather on willow for Matt, whose previous experience includes stints with Spin Magazine and Surrey County Cricket Club. It's not just cricket that interests him though, with football, golf, tennis and any American sport not played on ice all high on his list of favourites.