Do or Die for Australia as they take on England at Old Trafford. The Ashes urn is on the line.
Thursday, 1st August, 2013
Start Time: 11:00 Local Time (15:30 IST)
Old Trafford, Manchester
Like everybody thought, the hosts, England humbled Australia in the first two tests of the 5 match Ashes series and now are on the brink of history, if they win the test at Manchester, England will win the Ashes series third time in a row- a feat last happened in 1977. England will come out all guns blazing and the overall team is in terrific form. However, on the flipside, the Aussies need to play out of their skins to halt England’s winning streak, they have to win to prove the world they haven’t finished yet. There will be a lot of pressure on the depleted Australian side but as all are aware the Aussies fight till the end, they just have to forget the past and march and conquer the present.
The 1st Test was a close one but the Lord’s Test drubbing of 347 runs Australia received, proved why England are rated the favourites and why many predict a 5-0 clean sweep. The team as a whole is playing some outstanding cricket. Ian Bell has been the star of all the batsmen. He already has 2 centuries in two matches and has amassed 317 runs. The young sensation Joe Root has been brilliant too, after the knock of 180, he became the youngest player to score a century for England against Australia at Lord’s. Cook and Trott haven’t been contributing as much as they would have liked but their teammates are compensating big time for them. Stuart Broad has been a surprise batsman for England, he hasn’t contributed much with the ball but with the bat he has been more than useful. Another good news is Kevin Pietersen is included in the 14 man squad for the 3rd test. He was ruled out for 2nd test due to calf injury.
England’s bowling attack is considered currently to be the best in the business and James Anderson and Co. has lived upto it. Leading the pack from the front, Jimmy Anderson, has picked up 13 wickets – including a 10 wicket haul, Graeme Swann showcased high quality spin bowling as he claimed 9 wickets in the 2nd test. England have included Chris Tremlett and Monty Panesar in the place of Steven Finn and Onions in the 14 man squad for the 3rd Test.
Australia have seemed to be hapless against their bitter rivals England. Australia came close to winning the 1st Test from the jaws of defeat but eventually could not cross the line. They were completely outplayed at Lord’s. Coming off 2 defeats, Aussies need to produce some miracle to turn things around. Coach Darren Lehamman and Captain Michael Clarke need to inspire the Australian camp that it isn’t over yet. It is simple for them now, to regain the Ashes urn they need to win all 3 games. The batting department has failed miserably, the fact that tail-ender Ashton Agar has score 130 runs, who leads the run getter from the Australian side, portrays the sorry state of affairs the batting has found itself in. The top order has not been getting runs and all batsmen are struggling to counter England’s bowling attack. Australia cannot afford to make the same mistakes this time around. They have recalled David Warner and is likely to make the playing XI. Will he be able to turn the fortunes for Australia?
As far as the bowling department is concerned they have done what they can do. Peter Siddle, has been impressive, he has bagged 11 wickets so far and Ryan Harris, who was included in the 2nd match has justified his selection by picking up 7 wickets in the game. Injury to James Pattinson is a body blow to the Aussies he will be replaced by Mitchell Starc or Nathan Lyon depending upon the pitch.
Cricket fans are missing the old Australian side and their never say die spirit. The current looks like a shadow of the might Aussies, who dominated the game for so long few years ago. Fans want to relive what happened in 2005 at the same venue, hopefully the contest is even and Australia keep the series alive and rediscover their lost form.