Ashes rivals to open 2015 World Cup in Melbourne

Ian Bell hits out in the second Test. England now have their eyes on a clean sweep. Picture: Getty
Ian Bell hits out in the second Test. England now have their eyes on a clean sweep. Picture: Getty
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England have been drawn in the same group as Australia for the 2015 Cricket World Cup.

New Zealand, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh and two qualifying nations will join the Ashes rivals in Pool A of the 14-team tournament. South Africa, defending champions India, Pakistan, the West Indies, Zimbabwe, Ireland and a qualifier will compete in Pool B.

England and Australia will meet on the opening day of the competition at Melbourne on 14 February.

England’s next fixture is six days later against New Zealand in Wellington, with a match against one of the qualifiers following on 23 February in the city of Christchurch – still rebuilding from an earthquake two years ago.

Sri Lanka are England’s next opponents in Wellington on 1 March, before a return to Australia for games against Bangladesh on 9 March at Adelaide and the other qualifier in their group on 13 March at Sydney.

Adelaide, Auckland, Brisbane, Canberra, Christchurch, Dunedin, Napier, Nelson, Hamilton, Hobart, Melbourne, Perth, Sydney and Wellington were confirmed as host cities at yesterday’s official launch.

Meanwhile, England seamer James Anderson insists the squad are not entertaining thoughts of a 5-0 whitewash over Australia ahead of the third Ashes Test.

Having dominated the series so far with victories at Trent Bridge and Lord’s, the talk now is of a clean sweep over the
tourists.

But, as Old Trafford prepares to host its first Ashes clash since the memorable draw of 2005 – when tenth-wicket pair Brett Lee and Glen McGrath survived the final four overs – Anderson stressed the hosts were concentrating only on the job in hand.

“It [5-0] is not something we are really focusing on,” said the series’ joint leading wicket taker, celebrating his 31st birthday yesterday. “We played really well in the first two games and our job is to improve on that. It has gone well for us so far.

“We are very conscious of not getting ahead of ourselves. We have to concentrate on winning this game and not looking too far ahead in the series.”

There is a chance Australia batsman David Warner will be handed a recall with the top order struggling for runs.

The 26-year-old, who last month was suspended for punching England’s Joe Root in a bar after a Champions Trophy game, scored 193 for Australia A against their South African counterparts in Pretoria last week.

Warner has now rejoined the senior squad and he could
line-up against England at Old Trafford.