Ashes 2019: 4th Test Preview – Australia Look To Pick Themselves After The Headingly Shock

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Ashes 2019: 4th Test Preview - Australia Look To Pick Themselves After The Headingly Shock
Ashes 2019: 4th Test Preview - Australia Look To Pick Themselves After The Headingly Shock

After three innings of the Headingly, there was only one result possible in the minds of cricket pundits and fans alike. No one would have predicted how that Test ended. A masterful hundred by Ben Stokes and a DRS blunder by Australia saw to it that England keep their Ashes hopes alive. The Australian bowlers were absolutely devastated by the result and their coach admitted that the last couple weeks have been really difficult for him and the team. The two weeks break after that fantastic game can only do good for the visitors.

Australia in the interim played a game against Derbyshire and got themselves a win. Mitchell Starc who has been surprisingly ignored so far in this series will make his Ashes appearance at Manchester. Usman Khawaja who has had a horror series so far has been left out as well which means that Matthew Wade gets another game. James Pattinson who played the first Test and made a comeback in the third has been left out again in the fourth. Marnus Labuschagne will play at number four and Steve Smith will probably go back to his regular number 3 position.

For England though the opening combination is a worry. Even though Rory Burns has scored some runs Jason Roy has struggled against the new ball. Joe Denly seems to have been asked to open, pushing Jason Roy to number 4 in the batting order. The middle-order and the bowling attack is all set for England as they wouldn’t be making any changes to the combination which won at Headingly.

Key Players:

Ben Stokes (England): Ben Stokes has been brilliant for Australia in all formats with both bat and the ball. His innings at Headingly is already being dubbed as one of the all-time great innings. Even though his batting took all the plaudits his brilliant spell in the second innings of Australia cannot be forgotten as well. He will once again be crucial for the hosts in this all-important fourth Test.

Jofra Archer (England): While the entire cricketing world is waiting for the battle royale between Steve Smith and Jofra Archer, the brilliant English bowler will know that it is more than just Smith if England has to win the Ashes. Archer has impressed everyone with the pace and his ability to pick wickets but now he will need to show consistency and variations to trouble the Aussies for a prolonged period of time.

Steve Smith (Australia): Steve Smith who missed the Headingly Test due to concussion will make a comeback in Manchester much to the delight of the visitors. Smith was the leading run-scorer prior to his injury and had a couple of hundreds and a 90 in the three innings so far in the Ashes. He will be once again the crucial member of the Aussie batting side.

Mitchell Starc (Australia): Starc missed out the first 3 Tests but is all set to play the fourth. Australia certainly missed his pace and accuracy in the second innings when Stokes went berserk in Headingly. He will be Australia’s Trump card in Manchester as he has the pace along with the ability to swing the ball. The trait Australia was missing during that amazing chase in the third Test.

What they said?

“Everyone in that change room, probably a lot of Australians as well, felt completely sick after that. I actually felt physically sick after it, and then I went back to my room, I wasn’t sure whether to cry my eyes out or smash my hotel room. At that stage, when so much goes into something and for most people it’s just a game of cricket, but when so much goes into it, it means a lot.” Said Justin Langer about the mood after the loss at Headingly

“That’s the intensity Test cricket brings, it’s theatre. I might be stood at mid-on but I’ll be excited when Jofra asks for that ball and Steve comes in. It was a really tasty bit of cricket at Lord’s, Smith was on 70 or 80, playing beautifully, and Jofra went from 84mph to 95mph. He was really charging in. That sort of cricket is awesome to watch on the telly or from the stands but when you’re stood at mid-on it’s pretty special. Hopefully, we can have a battle like that again. There will be a period in this game where those two come together again and touch wood I’m on the pitch to view it.” Said an excited Stuart Broad expecting a royal battle between Archer and Smith in the fourth Test.

Probable XIs:

England XI:

Rory Burns, Joe Denly, Joe Root (c), Jason Roy, Jonny Bairstow (wk), Ben Stokes, Jos Buttler, Chris Woakes, Stuart Broad, Jofra Archer, Jack Leach

Australia XI:

David Warner, Marcus Harris, Steve Smith, Marnus Labuschagne, Travis Head, Matthew Wade, Tim Paine (c & wk), Mitchell Starc, Pat Cummins, Nathan Lyon, Josh Hazlewood

The fourth Test is really crucial in the context of the series. With the series tied at 1-1, England needs to win this Test to have a chance to reclaim the Ashes. Australia, on the other hand, can retain the Ashes with a win in Manchester. This will be a tough contest and the game will be decided as to how well the batting teams perform against two very good bowling attacks on either side.

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