Australia and England lock horns again for the third Ashes Test in Perth, with the Aussies one win away from regaining the urn and England looking to claw their way back into the series.
As has been well documented, England have a very poor Test record at the WACA and the signs are that the run is unlikely to end as the famous old ground hosts one last Ashes contest. The pace of the wicket, the extreme heat and the hostile crowd have all been catalysts behind England’s failures at Perth and the Australians could hardly wish for a better place to turn the screw on England and seal the series.
Australia vs England: Third Test Preview
Despite Australia being 2-0 up, the series has hardly been as one-sided as it was back in 2013/14. England have had periods in both matches when one could say they were on top, yet the tourists have failed to capitalise on those situations and turn them into match-winning performances.
This has been down to several factors: The inability to convert starts with the bat and stay at the wicket for long enough periods, the lack of pace in the bowling attack, the poor form of spinner Moeen Ali and off-field incidents which have shed further light on the potential ‘drinking culture’ within the England squad.
For Australia, everything seems rosy. Batsmen are making big scores, the three-man seam attack is having an impact and not being overworked, Nathan Lyon is having an excellent series and, as expected, they have the whole nation behind them.
How England deal with a confident Australia side in conditions that are perhaps the least familiar to them will be key. The final Test at the WACA offers England’s last chance to keep this series alive.
Watch Out For:
Much was expected of Bairstow with the bat in this series, even if his form this year has been indifferent. And there have been signs that he has found some rhythm with good second innings knocks of 42 and 36 in Brisbane and Adelaide respectively.
However, much like the rest of his teammates, Bairstow has failed to convert a good start into a substantial score. In the absence of Ben Stokes, much depends on the wicketkeeper-batsman to drive England’s notoriously strong middle-order and make sure a big total is made to put Australia under pressure.
Such a key player for the Aussies for a number of years now, Warner remains a danger man that could determine the outcome of this match, and quickly. He has made starts in the series but only has one significant score so far (87 not out at Brisbane).
The explosive starts he offers at the top of the order are often invaluable to Australia and an in-form Warner could well take the game away from England. The tourists will desperately want to keep the left-hander quiet on a ground where he has a sublime record.
Australia have not named their XI quite yet but the expectations are that all-rounder Mitchell Marsh will come in for the out-of-form Peter Handscomb to add balance to the side.
England named their side on Tuesday, with there being no change in personnel from Adelaide. The only alteration comes in the middle order, with Bairstow moving up ahead of Moeen Ali to number six.
- Cameron Bancroft
- David Warner
- Usman Khawaja
- Steve Smith (c)
- Shaun Marsh
- Mitchell Marsh
- Tim Paine (wk)
- Mitchell Starc
- Pat Cummins
- Josh Hazlewood
- Nathan Lyon
- Alastair Cook
- Mark Stoneman
- James Vince
- Joe Root (c)
- Dawid Malan
- Jonny Bairstow (wk)
- Moeen Ali
- Chris Woakes
- Craig Overton
- Stuart Broad
- James Anderson