Steve Smith not playing: Australia have made a significant change to their ODI lineup ahead of the first ODI against England.

During the first ODI of the ongoing Australia’s tour of England in Manchester, England have won the toss and have invited the visitors in to bat. It is worth mentioning that this is the first time both these sides are locking horns in an ODI since the semi-final of the ICC Cricket World Cup 2019.

Speaking during the toss, England captain Eoin Morgan announced that they have left out the fast bowling duo of Tom Curran and Sam Curran and opening batsman Tom Banton from their Playing XI.

“It looks a good wicket, potentially a little bit tacky. Hopefully, we’ll restrict Australia to a gettable total. It is a little bit softer than the Pakistan games. The two Currans and Tom Banton miss out.

“The addition of Mark Wood helps that, and Old Trafford normally takes a bit of turn so having Adil [Rashid], Moeen [Ali] and Joe [Root] is helpful. Australia are a fantastic side, and a difficult side to beat,” Morgan was quoted as saying during the toss.

Why is Steve Smith not playing today’s first ODI?

As far as Australia are concerned, their captain Aaron Finch surprised one and all by revealing that they will be taking the field without star batsman Steve Smith.

The right-hand batsman, who has 85 runs in five ODIs at the Old Trafford at a paltry average of 17, had received a blow on his head and has been rested as a precautionary measure.

Smith, who would have batted at No. 3 in ideal circumstances, has been replaced by all-rounder Marcus Stoinis who will now bat at the same position. Having last played an ODI during the 2019 World Cup, Stoinis has a dismal batting record (167 runs at an average and strike rate of 13.91 and 79.90 respectively) in England.

As far as batting at No. 3 is concerned, Stoinis has batted at the given position thrice in his ODI career before – the last instance being against India in Hyderabad last year when he scored 37 (53) with the help of six fours.

The presence of Stoinis and Mitchell Marsh has also given the Australians a chance to play all-rounder Glenn Maxwell ahead of Ashton Agar.

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