Date: December 26-30, 2021
Time: 5:00 AM (IST)
Venue: Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG)
After taking a 2-0 lead in the Ashes series, Australia will enter the Melbourne Cricket Ground for the Boxing Day Test with the hope to win the series and have a chance of going for the clean sweep. England have looked down and out in the series so far and in a desperate attempt to make a comeback have made as many as four changes to their Playing XI for the third Test match. While the English batters have disappointed big time, their bowlers haven’t been particularly impressive either. All in all, the stage is set for a superb Ashes game and if a determined England team turns up, every result is still possible in the series.
Head to head:
The wicket at the iconic MCG is likely to be a sporting one implying that both batters and bowlers will have something in it to please them. However, the initial passage of play could be more helpful for the pace bowlers but if they manage to get through the difficult phase, there is value for your shots on this venue and plenty of two and three’s to be run apart from the boundaries.
The Aussie bowlers have been a treat to watch in the Ashes series so far. They have got their plans right and bowled in great areas which has not allowed the English batters to dominate. Only two of the visiting teams’ batters have looked in some form and they are Joe Root and Dawid Malan. While Mitchell Starc alone has scalped nine wickets, Nathan Lyon too has taken nine across the two Tests. Even Jhye Richardson scalped a fifer in the second Test after Pat Cummins achieved that on his captaincy debut in Brisbane.
Their batters too have done good enough to end up on the winning side and still have not batted as per their full potential. This leaves them with fewer boxes to tick than otherwise heading into this Test.
England, meanwhile, looked out of place. Other than the team’s poor performance, even skipper Joe Root’s leadership credibility is being questioned especially after he made a remark saying that his bowlers did not bowl full enough. It is repeatedly being emphasised by various commentators and pundits that he was the leader of the men and should have set fields as per the fuller lengths to prompt the bowlers to bowl accordingly. However, Root along with Malan have pretty much been the side’s lone warriors with the bat.
More is expected from their batters including Zak Crawley and Jonny Bairstow who are all set to make a comeback in this match. The bowling too needs to be better and perhaps they might have been forced into finding what could be the perfect bowling combo after losing the first two matches with them going with Mark Wood and adding a specialist spinner in Jack Leach.
Australia: David Warner, Marcus Harris, Marnus Labuschagne, Steven Smith, Travis Head, Cameron Green, Alex Carey, Pat Cummins (c), Mitchell Starc, Scott Boland, Nathan Lyon
England: Haseeb Hameed, Zak Crawley, Dawid Malan, Joe Root (c), Ben Stokes, Jonny Bairstow, Jos Buttler (wk), Mark Wood, Ollie Robinson, Jack Leach, James Anderson
The current England team seems to lack the firepower to beat Australia. Until and unless they do something extraordinary, they can’t make a comeback in this series. Predicting an Aussie win for the third Ashes Test.
Disclaimer: The opinions expressed within this article are the author’s personal point of view. They neither reflect the opinion of SportsTiger nor advise anyone to make any prediction based on this. SportsTiger does not assume any responsibility or liability for the same.