Darren Gough: Here's hoping the Aussies live up to their nature

LOOKING at England's one-day side, they look ready for next year's World Cup now. But the big question mark for me is whether they have peaked too early.

GOT HIM: England's Mark Wood, right, celebrates the wicket of Australia's David Warner, left, during their ODI cricket match in Melbourne in January. Picture: AP/Andy Brownbill

We head into our latest series with Australia on the back of a 4-1 win against them Down Under. The Aussies were thrashed and because of bans, injuries and people being rested, they come here with an experimental squad.

Warner, Smith, Cummins, Hazelwood and Starc are missing; maybe their five best players.

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It is a massive loss, but sometimes these things are a blessing. Australia will get to look at players in all different positions where they would not normally get a go. Someone might just step up as a definite for the World Cup.

England, as a team, do not really have to look at too many players and it is kind of a settled team.

Come the tournament, others might be fresh and we are stuck in our plan. Don’t get me wrong, England have a fantastic side and it is why we are ranked No 1 in the world. We are playing some wonderful attacking, positive cricket. But do we actually know what we are up against yet? I wonder if we might get a surprise come tournament time.

South Africa are now planning without AB de Villiers. We know India are the best at T20; can they transform that to 50 overs? If so, it will be one hell of a team.

Australia coach Justin Langer made me laugh in saying that the ODI series will be about banter as opposed to abusive sledging.

MISSING IN ACTION: Australia's Mitchell Starc. Picture: Jason O'Brien/PA.

If you played against him, he was quite a strong personality who did not mind sledging. He would sledge you when he was batting. He was one of the worst!

But I enjoyed playing against Justin – and I hope that Australia are aggressive. I would be disappointed if they are not.

There is a difference between sledging and cheating. There is nothing wrong with sledging as long as it does not get personal.

I think the Aussies are getting slightly confused about what line to go down. Shaking hands before the game is going a bit too far. I do not want Australia to be nice; I want it to be a battle.

Coach Justin Langer: Could sledge with the best of them. Picture: Chris Hyde/Getty Images.

It is not nice when Liverpool play Everton or Arsenal play Tottenham. They are battles. When we play the Aussies, I want to see feistiness. I cannot see Ben Stokes or James Anderson being nice.

I want to see Australia being Australia.

England drew the Test series with Pakistan after smacking the visitors at Headingley. But to be fair, you would expect that, given where Pakistan are at and the team they brought over.

Yes, we came back well and drew the series. But let’s be honest, England should have won that series when you put the two teams together on paper.

But it was good for Joe Root to stop the rot of not winning in eight games and get some of the media off his back. He can now relax a bit in the one-dayers with Eoin Morgan now captain and hopefully he can hit a big score and get the monkey off his back.

Obviously, Stuart Broad and Anderson got criticised a bit before the second Test and for some reason, I got the impression that they did not like that.

I would have been the same. But it is about eradicating their mistakes and if they were really honest about their performances at Lord’s, they bowled too short.

At Headingley, the seaming ball was there for all to see. We have never questioned England’s bowlers when the ball is swinging around in English conditions. In these conditions, we are good.

Broad bowled wonderfully; as good as I have seen him in a long time on the first morning. Anderson was a bit wide with the new ball, but came back well.

Jos Buttler’s innings was fantastic but let’s not get carried away. He is doing exactly what Jonny Bairstow did at ‘seven’ when he played beautifully. Jos is just taking on Jonny’s role.

The issue now is have we solved the problem or just created another as now people will be concerned about Jonny getting runs at No 5. I don’t think it will be a problem, personally.

The other question mark is Dawid Malan at four who is struggling in English conditions. Keaton Jennings batted well and I think he will start against India.

India have got some dynamic batsmen and their fielding is becoming right up there with the best in the world.

They always used to have a poor fielding team, but now they are right up there. We will see their bowlers in English conditions this summer and their bowling unit right now is pretty solid.

They have the likes of Bumrah and Kumar and have some very quick bowlers and we know they have also got talented spinners too.

I did want to see Mark Wood play at Headingley on a pitch where he can pitch the ball up and make a difference. I want to see more of him in all conditions and not just on a flat pitch.

Sam Curran took some criticism for his bowling not being quick enough and being too short.

The kid was 20 on the third day of the Test and I thought he had a decent game; he picked up a couple of wickets and batted well.

For me, Root bowled him at the wrong end in his first spell, too.

I do not think he is fully ready for Test cricket yet, but the idea when you are playing teams you expect to beat is to give a couple of players a chance.

We also gave Dom Bess a go and he was fantastic in the second innings.

My argument is that we need to rest some senior players from early Tests against the likes of Pakistan, Zimbabwe or Bangladesh.

At the minute, Broad and Anderson are the opening bowlers and no-one else gets a look-in.