The series against Australia will help both the teams in their preparations for the ICC Cricket World Cup 2019 that runs from May 30 to July 14 at 11 venues across England and Wales. Though Lord's, where the two sides are slated to meet in their World Cup league match on June 25 next year, is not a venue, the series will provide both sides an opportunity to gauge the conditions as the countdown begins to the 10-team event.
England, which overtook India to grab the top ODI spot after the annual update on May 2, is comfortably ahead of Australia and will remain at the top even if it loses the series by a 2-3 margin provided it wins the one-off match against Scotland.
However, in such a scenario, it will be tied with India on 122 points and ahead only on decimal points.
On the other hand, if England kicks off with a loss to Scotland, it will have to win the series against fifth-ranked Australia or else lose the top position to India, which is presently three points behind England at 122 points.
A 2-3 loss to Australia in such a scenario will see it slide to 120 points. If England loses to Scotland, it will start the Australia series with 123 points while Scotland, which last week made it to the expanded 16-team points table, will gain five points and moves up to 33 points.
Australia will not be able to overtake the opposition even if England loses all its six upcoming matches but Australia could go up to third position if it completes a 5-0 whitewash of England.