Australia’s attention will now turn to the red ball after a gruelling three months of limited-overs cricket finally came to an end on Tuesday night.
So are there any Test learnings to come out of Australia’s 3-0 ODI series win over England — and what about next year’s World Cup?
These are the Talking Points to come out of Australia’s ODI series against England.
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‘SCARY’ SMITH WARNING FOR WEST INDIES
From a gruelling World Cup lead-in, to the World Cup itself, and then to a three-ODI series against England.
A bunch of Australia’s Test cricketers haven’t even seen a red ball in months but will come up against one from next Wednesday in Perth.
With no time for even a tour match, Smith is among those short of Test practice heading into the first showdown against the West Indies.
Prior to the ODI series against England, Smith had little time at the crease altogether having been overlooked for all but one game at the T20 World Cup.
As such, the ODI series came as a blessing for the right-hander who was afforded some crucial opportunities to gather time at the crease, and find some form.
And he might’ve just done more than that in a worrying sign for the West Indies.
Smith spoke about feeling as good as he has at the crease in six years after he made 80 not out at the Adelaide Oval. That was followed by 94 at the SCG, while Smith finished the series with an average of 97.50.
He’s back! Smith stars in sublime knock | 02:13
Crucially, it was a chance for Smith to put technical changes — changes that have him no longer covering a fifth-stump line and standing more square — into practice.
Everything seemingly fell into place during the series, and just in time for the Test summer.
West Indies legend Brian Lara named Smith as the Australian that impressed him most in the ODI series.
“That’s the scary part for the West Indies,” Lara said on Fox Cricket.
“He’s finding form in the white ball version of the game and he’s waiting for the Test matches — a game that he loves a lot.”
Speaking after the first ODI, Smith spoke of the importance of earning some time at the crease having worked on changes to his technique.
“I feel like I’m staying a bit more side-on now and I’ve got my feet and hands in sync together,” Smith said.
“(The first ODI) was probably the first time I’ve actually had extended time in the middle with that change.
“It’s hard to base something on one innings but it felt as though things clicked for me like they did at the WACA in 2013.
“Hopefully it’s the start of a big summer.”
HEAD’S TIMELY RETURN
Steve Smith wasn’t the only Aussie that used the ODI series to play themselves into some serious form.
Travis Head will be thanking his lucky stars for the hit-out that has seen him gain plenty of time at the crease — and a healthy stockpile of runs before the first Test.
Facing the red ball in Perth, and the pink ball in Adelaide, will be different challenges for Head, but there is plenty of reason for Australia to be excited about the left-hander heading into the Test summer.
After a lean run in 2022, Head began to play himself back into form in the first ODI with 69 runs off 57 balls at the Adelaide Oval.
A middling 19 came in game two, but Head finished the series with a bang, producing a swashbuckling 152-run innings at the MCG.
Head HAMMERS classy century! | 03:24
Head rode his luck early when the ball was hooping around, but he settled in and started crunching boundaries in trademark fashion.
By the end of the innings, Head had pommeled 20 boundaries and looked back to his fearless self at the crease.
These were timely runs that will alleviate some pressure after two poor away Test series, and a disappointing start to the domestic summer.
Across five Tests in Pakistan and Sri Lanka, Head averaged just 15.16, while he’s averaging 21.40 after six innings in the Sheffield Shield.
Head’s player-of-the-series performance at last summer’s Ashes meant he was still a lock for the first Test.
Confidence remained that Head could turn things around on home soil, but only now with some big scores in international cricket can selectors breathe a proper sigh of relief.
In terms of ODI cricket, Head has ensured that he will remain alongside David Warner as the replacement for Aaron Finch long term.
“Indeed (he has). We’re gelling well together,” Warner told Fox Cricket after the innings.
“Finch exited and Head is fitting in beautifully. It’s a great rhythm when we’re out there.”
ZAMPA A FORGOTTEN TEST OPTION
Australia will soon be on the lookout for a second spinner to go to India for next year’s blockbuster Test series after Mitchell Swepson failed to make the most of trips to Pakistan and Sri Lanka in 2022.
Adam Zampa is hoping to prove that the best option to partner Nathan Lyon has been under the selectors’ noses all along.
In the coming days, Zampa will play in his first first-class game in three years, and his first for New South Wales since 2013.
In those three years, Zampa has gone from a leg-spinner that was dropped midway through Australia’s 2019 World Cup campaign, to a member it simply cannot do without in white ball cricket.
Zampa’s skills have sharpened, particularly his variations, while his ability to outhink batters has become a trademark of his game.
Now at 30 years of age, and with nearly 150 games of international experience, Zampa feels like it’s time for him to cross the final frontier into Test cricket.
Zampa haunts England with 4 HUGE wickets | 01:17
Asked if his imminent return to the Sheffield Shield was about him making a play for the India tour, Zampa said: “Well, yeah. My dream is still to play Test cricket.
“I feel like my game has evolved enough in the last few years. It’s just about seeing the workloads and how my body will cope really.
“I’d love to throw my hat in the ring.”
Zampa is fresh off another strong performance in the green and gold, taking 11 wickets at 11.90 in the ODI series, including a matchwinning 4-45 in the second game.
His attention will now briefly turn to producing the same brilliance with the red ball, although he could be in the mix to go to India regardless.
Experience counts for plenty in the subcontinent, where Zampa has played plenty of white ball cricket.
He’s played in Pakistan, Sri Lanka and the UAE, while in India, he’s played 22 international matches and 14 in the IPL.
In those internationals, he took 31 wickets at 27.54 with an economy rate of 6.10.
Zampa has previously said that he doesn’t believe putting up numbers in the Shield is his only path into the Test team.
“I don’t think playing Shield cricket is necessarily the be-all and end-all to getting in the Test squad,” he said last year.
“If I’m bowling well at the time when those tours get selected then hopefully I’ll be on them.”
Steve Smith’s changed stance on display | 00:44
FAST FORWARD ON WORLD CUP PREP
The 50-over World Cup will be here before you know it.
With this series in the books, the focus turns to Test cricket for most of the next four months with series against West Indies, South Africa and India, while there’s the little matter of an Ashes in the middle of the year.
Several ODI fixtures are on the schedule but, needless to say, there’s not much time for Australia to get its World Cup plans into place.
As such, a successful series like this has helped massively by fast-tracking certain decisions.
For example, Head will be locked in at the top of the order now alongside Warner, while Smith and Labuschagne will remain the first choice No.3 and No.4, especially given their ability against spin.
Some questions will remain over the make-up of the middle-order with a shootout looming between Marcus Stoinis, Mitch Marsh and Cameron Green, while there might only be one spot available between Josh Hazlewood and Mitchell Starc with two spinners expected.
But all things considered, Australia’s selections are already in a well-advanced stage, which will help planning from limited opportunities moving forward.