Ashes Third Test Could Prove to be Pivotal
It has been an intriguing Ashes series so far. The summer began with England on top of the cricketing world following their dramatic Cricket World Cup win at Lords, however that early optimism came crashing down on the back of a superb performance by Australia, particularly with the ball in the second innings, in the First Test.
Taking a 1-0 lead so early on in the series was a blow for England who wanted to regain the Ashes and who now knew that the Aussies now held the upper hand. That seemed set to continue as the Australian bowlers once again made mincemeat out of England’s batsmen in the first innings of the second test.
However, led by Jofra Archer, England’s bowlers fought back and with weather seeing much of the action of the second test postponed, the game finished in an exciting but ultimately unrewarding draw. All of which leaves the third test at Headingly starting on Thursday poised perfectly.
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Australia 1-0 England (2 Tests Played – 3 remaining)
Australia are current Ashes holders, they only need to draw the series to retain the Ashes. England need to win the series in order to regain the Ashes.
It seems unlikely that England bowler James Anderson will be fit for the third test between the teams and his continued absence is a blow to an England attack that at least found some form in the last test against the Aussies.
The impetuse for that was the return to the test side of Jofra Archer, who found pace and bounce on what was an otherwise lifeless pitch to give the previously sure Australian batsmen a torrid time, especially Steve Smith who was hit on the neck by one vicious delivery from Archer.
That blow has ruled out the Aussie skipper from the third test and England have stated publicly that they need to take advantage of that. However problems with the bat at the top of the order in particular have not helped and coach Trevor Bayliss has said that he will be looking at the order to see if there is a way he can eke more runs out of what has been a disappointing series with the bat from top order batsmen in an England shirt.
Ben Stokes fine century with the bat in the last test gave England hope of a victory and while in the end they had to settle for the draw, the momentum in the Ashes series had definitely swung a little more England’s way after the conclusion of that second test.
Don’t expect there to be too many changes to the England team for this game, but Bayliss will be wanting a far better performance from his top order batsmen to try and give the home side a chance of levelling the series at Headingly.
The bad news for Australian fans is their former captain and star batsman Steve Smith has been ruled out of the third test with concussion, sustained when he received that blow on the neck from Jofra Archer’s delivery in the second test.
That’s a blow to Australia as Smith had been in superb form averaging well over 100 for his three innings in the series so far and proving to be a formidable opponent for England, as well as being a player that the England attack had struggled to get out.
His absence will be a blow to the Australian batting attack and puts added pressure on the Aussie top order which has struggled for form in the test series so far, especially veteran David Warner who is on a run of poor scores and who will need to make a swift improvement on that with Smith out of the team.
The Australian bowling attack however has been in good shape throughout the tournament and they have punished some weak batting performances by England in both the last two tests. They will likely want to keep up that pressure at Headingly over the weekend and if they can and England’s batsmen once again fall by the wayside, that could well put this Aussie side, even without Smith, in a very strong position for this Test and the Ashes series as a whole.
Ashes Third Test Tip
After the momentum gained by Australia in the first test was halted by an improved showing from England in the second, and that injury to Steve Smith also played a key role in changing the general feeling of the series, the third test is shaping up to be perhaps THE critical test of the series.
A win for Australia and they retain the Ashes and the best England can achieve would be a draw and even that would be unlikely, requiring two wins in the remaining two tests. A win for England would level matters and make the final two tests all the more crucial. A draw would leave all three possible Ashes results still up for grabs but would likely leave the Aussies in the driving seat.
However, if there is a time that is ripe for England to strike and level the series is it now. With Archer’s introduction into the attack, England have a fearsome fast bowler that none of the Australian batsmen will want to face and that fear factor could well be key.
The problem England have is that they need their own batsmen to produce the goods against the Australian attack, which is something they have struggled with so far in the series. However, if they can change that then I fancy England to nab the win.
Back England to win this third test series at 4/6 with bet365.