ABOUT THE MATCH
England has kept their hopes of regaining the urn alive as they beat Australia by one wicket in the third test at Leeds – one of the best matches to be played in the history of test cricket. The two teams have now moved to the Emirates Old Trafford in Manchester for the fourth Ashes Test. The match will be played from September 4.
Australia drew first blood in the series with a crushing 251-run victory in the opening test at Birmingham before the second test at London ended in a stalemate. England then managed to achieve parity in the last game at Leeds where Ben Stokes’ pyrotechnics powered the hosts to a thrilling win which looked improbable at one stage. The Ashes is now nicely poised at 1-1 and both the teams will look to give their all to win this crucial match. Can England take advantage of the momentum they have gained from the last win or will Australia hit back to spoil their plans?
The pitch is expected to be the best to bat on at the start of the match and scores tend to drop at this ground as the game progresses. And also since the surface is likely to take plenty of turn on the last two days, the toss-winning captain will probably opt to bat first.
PITCH AND CONDITIONS
Pleasant weather has been forecast for this fourth Ashes test. Although a few showers are expected in the third and fifth day, there should still be plenty of time for a result. Temperatures are likely to remain around 14-16 degrees Celsius throughout the match.
The Old Trafford generally offers very good conditions for batting, especially during the first couple of days of a test match. The amount of assistance for the seam bowlers will depend on how much grass has been left on the pitch. Spinners are likely to come into play from day four onwards.
- England has named a 13-man squad for this upcoming fourth Ashes test match. Somerset pace bowler Craig Overton has been picked in the team, replacing James Anderson who has been ruled out of the remainder of the tournament.
- The veteran seamer has not yet recovered from the calf injury he had sustained during the first test.
- The hosts are coming off a win and we expect them to retain the same group of eleven from last time.
- All-rounder Sam Curran may have to look at the proceedings from the sidelines once again.
- Jason Roy and Joe Denly will swap positions in the batting order with the latter set to open alongside Rory Burns.
- England has played seven test matches so far this year out of which they have drawn one, won three and lost as many.
- They did not have the best of starts this year as they suffered a 1-2 series defeat in the West Indies against the hosts in January-February.
- They later thrashed Ireland by 143 runs at the Lord’s before coming into the Ashes.
- England was outplayed by Australia in the first test of the ongoing series.
- They drew the second one before snatching victory from the jaws of defeat in the third test.
- Australia will welcome their star batsman Steven Smith back into the side after having missed the third test due to the neck injury he had picked up while batting in the second test.
- Travis Head might be the one to make way for him in the line-up.
- The visitors may look to freshen up their pace attack and so they could consider bringing in left-arm Mitchell Starc.
- If he gets picked, there is a good chance that Mitchell Marsh may also be drafted into the playing eleven.
- Australia has won three, drawn a couple and lost only one out of the six test matches they have played so far this year.
- After going down to India 1-2 at home earlier in the year, they swept Sri Lanka in a two-match home series.
- Both of those wins were quite dominating – they won by an innings and 40 runs at Brisbane before securing a 366-run victory at Canberra.
- The Aussies started off the Ashes with a bang, decimating the hosts to win by a whopping 251 runs.
- Australia was very competitive last time out even without Steven Smith in their side but they would be very disappointed having the lost the game that they should have won so easily.
PROBABLE WINNING TEAM:
England will gain a lot of confidence from their win in the last match and they will now be playing at a venue where they have won nine and drawn two of their previous eleven tests. The visitors have been very impressive on this tour. They gave the home team a good run for their money last time even in the absence of their key batsman Steven Smith, and now his return will add a lot more strength to their batting. The loss of James Anderson is certainly a big blow for England which is another reason why we are backing the Aussies to take an unassailable lead.
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