Patto resting stumps England

Australians have been keeping Alastair Cook on the hop all summer but this time it was the home team's selectors who took the England captain by surprise.

Fresh from its five-nil Ashes sweep, Australia will host England for a series of five one-day international matches.

Ashes player of the series Mitchell Johnson has been rested from the first two ODI matches and the home side made the surprising move yesterday to hold fire on fit-again paceman James Pattinson.

The three members of Australia's 14-man squad not selected for today's first game at the MCG are Johnson, Pattinson and opener Shaun Marsh.

Cook described 155km/h quick Johnson as a standout player in the Ashes series.

''I think James Pattinson has come in to replace him,'' Cook said, before being told by a reporter Pattinson wasn't playing either. ''Not playing?'' Cook quickly regained composure and said Australia boasted a strong pace attack.

''Whoever we play against they are going to be a different challenge to Mitch but they are outstanding bowlers in their own right,'' Cook said.

Australia captain Michael Clarke said he was expecting the MCG pitch to be two-paced and has backed seamer Clint McKay to dominate despite being dropped by his BBL side Melbourne Stars for Thursday's clash with Adelaide Strikers.

Clarke also admitted he had no answers on why 23-year-old Pattinson, who has claimed seven wickets in three BBL games for Melbourne Renegades, was not selected.

Pattinson was sent home from the 2013 Ashes tour with a back injury.

While Australia's ODI series with England is a crucial warm-up for the 2015 World Cup to be hosted by Australia and New Zealand, it's also a chance for players like Pattinson to audition for a spot in the Test squad to tour South Africa in late January.

''That's probably a question for the selectors,'' Clarke said.

He said Australia would take winning momentum into the ODI series, but that would come from Australia's 2-1 ODI series victory in England in September rather than its five-nil Ashes sweep this month.

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