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Ian Botham
Cricket Expert and Columnist

Aus v Eng 1st ODI: Stuart Broad must play in Brisbane even if it's a gamble

If England go 2-0 down in Brisbane it will be almost mission impossible...

England must risk Stuart Broad and rest Joe Root in Friday's second one-dayer against Australia, says Sir Ian Botham.

Eng v Aus 1st ODI - Beefy's blog

Root, dropped for the final Ashes Test, made just three off 23 balls as the tourists struggled to make early runs in the first ODI in Melbourne, which Australia won by six wickets.

The selectors had already decided to rest Broad for the first two matches of the series but even though skipper Alastair Cook revealed that the all-rounder is carrying a slight knee injury, Botham told Sky Sports that the tourists can't afford to molly-coddle him.

"A couple of things have got to change for Brisbane - another bowler has to come in, a spinner, and I think Joe Root will definitely have to miss out because you've only got four more games," said the former England all-rounder.

"If England go 2-0 down it is almost mission impossible. They've got to try and get their strongest team out there and if that means Broad playing with a sore knee, then he plays."

Play

Difficult day for England

Cook, who won the toss and chose to bat, fared little better than Root, scoring just four off as many balls before snicking Clint McKay (3-44) behind.

After averaging only 24.60 as his side lost the Ashes 5-0, Cook's form remains a concern and Botham says the skipper might benefit from throwing caution to the wind when at the crease.

"It's a dismissal that we've seen a lot this summer. The first couple of balls swung into him. The next one is pushed across him and he's feeling for it.

"I think he's feeling for it because he's out of nick and that's what happens. You want to try and hit the ball and you start playing at balls that you would never play at.

"I know it sounds a bit ridiculous but I would actually tell him to go out there and try to play his shots in the next game to try and get himself going."

Balance

Clarke praises batting prowess

Yorkshire's Gary Ballance (79 off 96) helped to drag England up to 269-7 off their 50 overs by sharing a fourth-wicket stand of 83 in 14.1 overs and Botham was impressed with the 24-year-old's composure.

"I thought he did well," he said. "I think there's a strong case for moving him up one because the order isn't quite looking right. He's one guy you'd have a bit of confidence in at the moment."

Fellow Sky Sports commentator Nasser Hussain agreed, saying: "Ballance looked very, very composed in the Test match and he looked very composed today.

"I thought he got the balance right between attack and manoeuvring the ball. It wasn't just block or slog. When he wasn't hitting boundaries, he was manoeuvring the ball around - a little like the Aussies did during the day - getting ones and twos.

"He played really well against a good Australian attack that bowled well at him and he was one of the lads who looked in very decent nick.

"Andy Flower said at the end of the Ashes series that it feels like a change of era. So for a young lad to go out and smash 70 in the first game after the coach says that, means he's going to be part of that era if he continues like that."

The former England skipper added: "Morgan is a superb player, he really is. At times he looks like he's batting on a different surface from everyone else.

"If you are hyper-critical, as I think Alastair Cook was, then these guys have got to go on and get big scores. Virat Kohli, or someone like that, will go on and get a hundred - that's where Eoin has to take more responsibility, especially with new guys coming in.

"Just after reaching fifty he chipped it to extra cover and he realised his error. You could tell that he wasn't finished."

Watch the second one-day international between Australia and England from 3am on Sky Sports 2.