Grandstand commentator Jim Maxwell says Australia are the number one ODI side by default at present and 5% below England.
England secured two comfortable victories in the opening matches of the five-match series leading some in the UK to reverse Glenn McGrath’s famous Ashes prediction of “5-0, unless it rains.”
As it happened, relentless rain at Edgbaston did force the third match to be abandoned, meaning Australia will retain its number one one-day status ahead of Saturday’s fourth match in the series at Durham’s Chester-le-Street.
ABC’s voice of cricket says nobody should be fooled that the team currently deserves to be in this position though.
“If you look back to February we’ve had 20 matches in one-day cricket, we’ve lost nine and won eight, with a tie and two wash-outs,” Maxwell told ABC’s .
“That’s not the record of a top team and we’re certainly not top dogs at the moment.
“They’re five percent better than us at the moment (with) the quality of their batting and especially their bowling - we just can’t rotate the strike.
“Australia is struggling to get momentum in their batting. They’re really missing Michael Hussey the most.
“We need to get a lot out of (David) Warner, (Shane) Watson and (Michael) Clarke because I’m not sure we’re going to get many runs from (George) Bailey, (Peter) Forrest and even David Hussey at the moment - though he has a magnificent record in one-day cricket.
“Matthew Wade looks wasted at seven the way he’s batting. Bailey and Forrest don’t have the creativity and versatility to score runs against this very good attack.”
The trouble does not just lie with the batting however with Mitchell Johnson on his return to the first XI at the Oval looking as erratic as he did when he left the Australia side.
“They went for Mitchell Johnson and he looked very rusty the other day, he bowled four no balls and a couple of wides,” Maxwell added. “It makes you wonder about (James) Pattinson and (Ben) Hilfenhaus.
“The view seems to be as good as Pattinson is going to be ... he’s a little one-dimensional in one-day cricket. But surely we’re at a point where he’s got to play.
“It gets to a point where we’ve got to do something with the attack even though Brett Lee and (Clint) McKay have looked pretty good.
“McKay has been the best one-day bowler this year and Lee at 35 is probably right behind him.”