Ashes series finally poised ahead of third Test
Australia’s 405 run win at Lord’s squared the Ashes series and the two teams head to Edgbaston this week with everything to play for. England have made a change for the third Test while Australia are full of confidence after an excellent win.
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England hoping recent history is on their side
After their 169 run win in Cardiff, defeat at Lord’s brought England back to earth with a bump. Their 405 run defeat was emphatic and Alistair Cook’s side will have to perform better in all areas if they are going to run the tourists close at Edgbaston this week.
In recent Ashes series England have shown that they can bounce back from big defeats in the next game. At Headingley in 2009 England lost to Australia by an innings and 80 runs before heading to the Oval and regaining the Ashes with a victory by 197 runs. And, in 2005 Michael Vaughan’s side won at Edgbaston by two runs after losing the Lord’s Test by 239 runs.
The selectors have refused to throw the baby out with the bathwater and have made just one change. As expected, Jonny Bairstow will come into the batting line up with Ian Bell and Joe Root shuffling up the order to accommodate the Yorkshire batsman.
Bell was one of the men whose place was under threat having scored just 1, 60, 1 and 11 in his four innings in the series so far but he believes he can score ‘big runs’ on his home ground. The Warwickshire batsman, who was the leading scorer on either side in the 2013 Ashes in England with 562 runs at 62, is aware that his place is under threat. He said: “I’m realistic. I also know that I haven’t performed how I’d expect an England player to perform, certainly over the last six weeks, so it’s an important Test match there’s no doubt.
“I still believe that when I’m playing at my best I’m a world-class player and I’m desperate for the kind of runs that come with being a top-order player for England, but I’ve known over a long time with England that your job is to score runs,” he added.
Tourists looking to take 2-1 lead in Ashes series
A pitch that perfectly suited their pace bowlers helped Australia to recover from their opening Test defeat and inflict an emphatic defeat on their hosts at Lord’s. A superb 173 from Chris Rogers and Steve Smith’s 213 saw the tourists post a huge first innings total of 566 before they bowled England out for 312 and 103 to win by 405 runs.
Peter Nevill made seven catches and dismissals – a record for a wicketkeeper making his Ashes debut – while all-rounder Mitchell Marsh took three wickets. Nevill is set to keep his place despite veteran Brad Haddin’s return to the squad ahead of the third Test.
Rogers is Australia’s only injury worry after suffering dizzy spells during the second Test although the 37 year-old is winning his battle to be fit. If Rogers is unable to take his place in the side, Shaun Marsh will open alongside David Warner and the 32 year-old is in impressive form, having scored centuries against Kent and Derbyshire in the tourists’ two warm-up games.
Cricket betting verdict
After their huge win in the second Test it is Australia that come into the third Test full of confidence. Their bowlers look to be in good form, their debutants integrated well at Lord’s while some of their star batsmen scored heavily.
England have bounced back from a big defeat before and their inconsistency must be a concern for coach Trevor Bayliss. They really need their top order batsmen to perform at Edgbaston and another failure from opener Adam Lyth could cost the Yorkshireman his place in the side.
The pitch is likely to suit England’s bowlers better than the flat track at Lord’s and this could be a closer match than we have seen so far this summer. England desperately need a win but the smart money looks to be on Australia at 4/11.