It seems just a few days since the series began but the sides head to the Oval On Wednesday for the final curtain. With the series already in the bag, the most exciting question is just how badly the umpires will stuff this one up. Will it be the onfield drunkeness of Aleem Dar and Kumar Dharmasena that causes the most hilarity? Or the fact that Tony Hill is using the DRS telly to watch Bargain Hunt? We can’t wait to find out!
After years of tedious selection debates – will it be Compton or Root? Finn or Bresnan? Bairstow or some sort of semi-competent batsman? – England finally have some interesting decisions to make about their XI for this game. Or do they? Simon Kerrigan is there purely to have a bowl in front of Andy Flower and prove that he’s mentally stable enough not to wee all over the security guards while Chris Woakes is there just to give hope to non-Test standard allrounders everywhere.
Instead we’re left with a whole new debate, one that we actually had way back in 2011: Finn or Tremlett. The former looked pretty horrific in the first Test of the series while the latter doesn’t seem to have rediscovered his best since his injury problems. We reckon Tremlett will get the nod, purely because his guns are awesome.
Aside from that minor inconvenience it’s business as usual for England. There doesn’t seem to be any prospect of Jimmy Anderson ever being rested, while Jonny Bairstow will have a final chance to convince us he’s not actually rubbish, before wee Jimmy Taylor nicks his spot. Although that’ll mainly be because child flights to Australia are loads cheaper.
As for Australia, it’s the same old shambles. The two day match against the Lions taught us nothing that we didn’t already know – Don Khawaja still can’t bat, Phil Hughes still can’t bat, Devereux is the best spinner in the squad, Liam Plunkett is the next coming of the messiah – which means they’re back to shuffling the batting order around and hoping for the best. The much vaunted Khawaja/Hughes shit off finished as something of a 0-0 draw in Northampton, but we might yet see Australia’s third number three of a five match series.
Speaking of which, Mitchell Starc may well return to shake it all about, completing the ultimate hokey cokey of a series. He’ll probably replace Jackson Bird, who utterly failed to do anything other than be laughably bad at batting in Durham.
Again, it seems that Ryan Harris will play, despite facing almost inevitable death. We seem to be the only people actually thinking ahead to the next Ashes series, which starts in about six weeks, and we’ll be unbelievably smug(ger) when he literally explodes during the second innings.
Australia huffed and puffed throughout the third and fourth Tests and all they ended up with to show for it was a draw and yet another defeat. Hence we can’t help thinking they’ve probably had enough by now. England’s non-Bell batsmen to actually turn up and put some first innings runs on the board. Devereux’s first innings 401* to be in vain as Australia still contrive to lose by an innings.