Khawaja Dropped, Starc back in the mix for Aussies
They managed to get out of jail in the last test at Headingley, next time England might not be so lucky though. While it was blatantly-obvious that star all-rounder Ben Stokes was single-handedly creating a buffer between the Aussies and that precious little-urn called the Ashes late on day four, the lack of support he received from his fellow English batsmen is troubling. A batting collapse in the first innings certainly didn’t help, however the likes of Joe Root, Joe Denly and Ben Stokes were able to bounce back from average-showings with a considerable contribution to the scoreboard in the second innings. Both playing as specialist batsmen in the side, Jason Roy and Jos Buttler continue to struggle at the crease. Both are averaging below 10 with the bat in the series which is a damning-statistic, and as expected England have decided to mix things up. Flagged as a big possibility after the first two tests, Joe Denly is expected to open the innings alongside Rory Burns, meaning Jason Roy will drop down into the middle-order. England look as if they want to keep the changes to a minimum, Chris Woakes could possibly make way for all-rounder Sam Curran at Old Trafford which would strengthen the lower order.
England (possible) – 1. Rory Burns 2. Joe Denly 3. Joe Root (c) 4. Jason Roy 5. Ben Stokes 6. Jonny Bairstow (wk) 7. Jos Buttler 8. Chris Woakes/Sam Curran 9. Jofra Archer 10. Stuart Broad 11. Jack Leach.
It was a hugely-disappointing loss at Headingley, Australia should’ve had the game in the bag after bowling England out for just 67 in the first innings. Pressure ended up getting the better of the Aussies, and things started to go terribly wrong in the field as Ben Stokes continued to ride his luck. Dropped catches, a missed run out and a wasted review sealed the Aussies fate that day at Headingley. With the series level at 1-1 apiece now, Australia have decided to call on perhaps their biggest weapon in the series yet, Mitchell Starc. It’s been a bit bewildering as to why Starc hasn’t featured in the series yet, his pace is a serious asset and it’s about time they deployed it. The 29-year-old quick picked up 7 wickets in a tour match against Derbyshire last week which should have him primed for a return. Australia has also decided to drop the under-performing Usman Khawaja who hasn’t managed to make the most of his opportunities in the series. In the absence of Khawaja, in-form batsman Marnus Labuschagne is expected to bat at No. 3 while Steve Smith is set to return to his No. 4 position after overcoming delayed concussion. Fast bowler James Pattinson has also been rested for the visitors, Mitchell Starc looks the likeliest to take his place in the XI at Old Trafford.
Australia (possible) – 1. David Warner 2. Marcus Harris 3. Marnus Labuschagne 4. Steve Smith 5. Travis Head 6. Matthew Wade 7. Tim Paine (c & wk) 8. Pat Cummins 9. Mitchell Starc 10. Nathan Lyon 11. Josh Hazlewood.
Zak Varik is an Australian columnist/writer who specializes in the sports category cricket. With over four years of experience covering all sorts of cricket tournaments around the world, Zak has gained extensive knowledge in International cricket as well as domestic.
“I’ve loved watching cricket since I was about 7 years old, my childhood hero was none other than Andrew “Roy” Symonds who probably enhanced my love of the game through the years”.
Zak is now an established writer for FCN (Fantasy Cricket News) and has also previously represented other Blogs during his time as a writer.