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Australia and England are all set to battle it out in the fifth and final Ashes Test. Australia have already won the series. Their aspirations of completing a 5-0 whitewash came to an end with the previous Test ending in a gritty and thrilling draw. However, the urn has been retained and the hosts will look to inflict more misery on the visitors here.
Home side Australia have been head and shoulders clear of England in the widely-anticipated and followed Ashes series so far. Following the highs of the innings victory in the Boxing Day Test, Australia were just one wicket away from winning the SCG Test. The match proved to be an extremely thrilling contest but, in the end, England managed to survive with just one wicket remaining.
Usman Khawaja made a statement with two centuries across both innings of the match. Steve Smith and Cameron Green also managed half-centuries. Scott Boland and Pat Cummins were instrumental with the ball once again while it was Steve Smith who picked up the penultimate wicket towards the closing stages of the match and threatened to secure the win for the home side. Despite the draw, Australia are the favourites to end the series on a winning note.
England have chased the shadows of their arch rivals throughout the Ashes series. They have been second best in almost every department and their performances haven’t exactly been noteworthy. It’s quite clear that England will be desperate to avoid further humiliation here.
Managing to save the Test in the previous match was a pretty big deal for this lacklustre English side. Jonny Bairstow was at his absolute best and played two pivotal knocks including a century in the first innings. Ben Stokes also mounted significant resistance by adding 126 runs in the game. Stuart Broad’s five-wicket-haul in the first innings was a big plus for the team and they will be relying on him heavily again.
The first Ashes series was held in the year 1882 and it has continued ever since. Australia has won more Tests and series than England while six series have ended in draws.
Wins: Australia 139 matches, England 108 matches
Last 5 matches: Australia 3, England 1
Australia have been better than England in all three departments. They have the wind blowing in their tails and will be the favourites to end the series with yet another win.
Underperforming opening batter Marcus Harris is set to face the axe with Usman Khawaja taking his spot instead. Meanwhile, Travis Head who scored a wonderful century at the Gabba is all set to return following his Covid-enforced absence. Scott Boland is also expected to be fit to start after passing a fitness test.
Reports suggest that England might go with Ollie Robinson in place of James Anderson while Stuart Broad is set to retain his place. Rory Burns, who had been dropped after the second Test might also replace Haseeb Hameed as an opener. Jos Buttler has returned to England after injuring his finger at the SCG Test and Sam Billings might make his Test debut here. Jonny Bairstow is also suffering from a right thumb injury after being struck by Pat Cummins in the previous match and if he cannot play, Ollie Pope might be included in the starting XI.
Australia’s squad has performed brilliantly in the Ashes so far. They’ve been easily superior and there will be no shortage of morale in the camp. England, meanwhile, will have to shuffle their cards for the final Test and it brings with it a further sense of uncertainty.
Usman Khawaja, Marnus Labuschagne and Steve Smith are expected to do the majority of the talking with the bat in the third Test in Melbourne. With the ball, Pat Cummins, Nathan Lyon and Scott Boland hold significant influence.
For England, most of the hopes will rely on Joe Root and Ben Stokes. Root is yet to score a century in Australia. Ben Stokes played two fine knocks in the last match.
Scott Boland has burst into limelight with a series of stellar performances in the Ashes. In just two matches, he has picked up 14 wickets which includes the seven scalps he picked up in the previous Test. Boland has an outrageous bowling average of 8.64 in this year’s Ashes.
Steve Smith and Marnus Labuschagne are extremely difficult to stop once they get going with the bat. Usman Khawaja is also arriving into this match with two centuries in his belt from the previous Test. Scott Boland and Pat Cummins are capable of wreaking havoc with the ball.
Usman Khawaja made his comeback into the Australian side and immediately made a statement. He scored 238 runs across two innings and has more centuries in one match than any other batter across the entire Ashes series.
England captain Joe Root has had a phenomenal 2021. He is also the second-highest scorer in the ongoing Ashes behind Australia’s Marnus Labuschagne. Root has amassed 277 runs in four matches at an average of 34.62.
|David Warner||c Zak Crawley b Ollie Robinson||0||22||0||0||0|
|Usman Khawaja||c Joe Root b Stuart Broad||6||26||0||0||23.08|
|Marnus Labuschagne||b Stuart Broad||44||53||9||0||83.02|
|Steven Smith||c Zak Crawley b Ollie Robinson||0||2||0||0||0|
|Travis Head||c Ollie Robinson b Chris Woakes||101||113||12||0||89.38|
|Cameron Green||c Zak Crawley b Mark Wood||74||109||8||0||67.89|
|Alex Carey||b Chris Woakes||24||60||2||0||40|
|Mitchell Starc||c Rory Burns b Mark Wood||3||17||0||0||17.65|
|Pat Cummins||c Zak Crawley b Mark Wood||2||12||0||0||16.67|
|Nathan Lyon||b Stuart Broad||31||27||1||3||114.81|
|Scott Boland||not out||10||13||2||0||76.92|
|Total||(75.4 Ov, RR: 4.01)||303/10|
|Rory Burns||run out (Marnus Labuschagne)||0||6||0||0||0|
|Zak Crawley||c Travis Head b Pat Cummins||18||21||3||0||85.71|
|Dawid Malan||c Alex Carey b Pat Cummins||25||64||5||0||39.06|
|Joe Root||lbw Pat Cummins||34||46||3||0||73.91|
|Ben Stokes||c Nathan Lyon b Mitchell Starc||4||11||1||0||36.36|
|Ollie Pope||c Alex Carey b Scott Boland||14||23||3||0||60.87|
|Sam Billings||c Scott Boland b Cameron Green||29||48||6||0||60.42|
|Chris Woakes||c Alex Carey b Mitchell Starc||36||48||5||1||75|
|Mark Wood||b Pat Cummins||16||15||2||0||106.67|
|Stuart Broad||b Mitchell Starc||0||4||0||0||0|
|Total||(47.4 Ov, RR: 3.96)||188/10|
|David Warner||c Ollie Pope b Stuart Broad||0||3||0||0||0|
|Usman Khawaja||c Sam Billings b Mark Wood||11||38||2||0||28.95|
|Marnus Labuschagne||c Sam Billings b Chris Woakes||5||11||0||0||45.45|
|Steven Smith||c Dawid Malan b Mark Wood||27||62||4||0||43.55|
|Scott Boland||c Sam Billings b Mark Wood||8||33||0||0||24.24|
|Travis Head||c Sam Billings b Mark Wood||8||16||1||0||50|
|Cameron Green||lbw Stuart Broad||23||47||3||0||48.94|
|Alex Carey||c Sam Billings b Stuart Broad||49||88||4||0||55.68|
|Mitchell Starc||c Ollie Pope b Mark Wood||1||4||0||0||25|
|Pat Cummins||b Mark Wood||13||33||1||0||39.39|
|Nathan Lyon||not out||4||5||0||0||80|
|Total||(56.29 Ov, RR: 2.75)||155/10|
|Rory Burns||b Cameron Green||26||46||4||0||56.52|
|Zak Crawley||c Alex Carey b Cameron Green||36||66||7||0||54.55|
|Dawid Malan||b Cameron Green||10||20||2||0||50|
|Joe Root||b Scott Boland||11||31||1||0||35.48|
|Ben Stokes||c Nathan Lyon b Mitchell Starc||5||15||0||0||33.33|
|Ollie Pope||b Pat Cummins||5||26||0||0||19.23|
|Sam Billings||c Pat Cummins b Scott Boland||1||9||0||0||11.11|
|Chris Woakes||c Alex Carey b Scott Boland||5||11||1||0||45.45|
|Mark Wood||b Pat Cummins||11||7||2||0||157.14|
|Ollie Robinson||b Pat Cummins||0||1||0||0||0|
|Stuart Broad||not out||1||1||0||0||100|
|Total||(38.5 Ov, RR: 3.22)||124/10|