A gradual but inevitable descent into cricket-based loathing and bile.

Australia vs. England, Third Test: Preview

Posted on December 12, 2013 by in Tests

“That there, that’s not me
I go where I please
I walk through walls
I float down the Liffey

I’m not here
This isn’t happening
I’m not here, I’m not here

In a little while
I’ll be gone
The moment’s already passed
Yeah, it’s gone

I’m not here
This isn’t happening
I’m not here, I’m not here

Strobe lights and blown speakers
Fireworks and hurricanes

I’m not here
This isn’t happening
I’m not here, I’m not here…”

Unfortunately for Alastair Cook and England, they are here and this is happening. Two games down in the series and facing up to the WACA, a ground that represents their worst nightmare. And that’s just in terms of getting to the front of the queue for Chicken Treat. It’s fair to say that this wasn’t exactly the scenario envisaged when Team England boarded their first flight to Perth back in October.

Alastair Cook's team talks began to get a bit desperate.

Consecutive crushing defeats appeared to have an effect on Alastair Cook’s team talks.

The home team

So long a model of inconsistency, Australia’s side depends only on how everyone rolls up after having to finally bowl a few overs in the second innings at Adelaide. Nathan Lyon will keep his spot, partly to help with the over rate and partly to give the quicks a rest from bowling in 38 degree heat. Alongside him, Mitchell Johnson, Peter Siddle and Ryan Harris should all keep their places, with Harris the most likely to struggle with the demands of back to back tests. Should he not make it either Doug the Rug or Nathan Coulter-Nile will step in, following James Faulkner’s thumb injury earlier today.

Beyond that there’s nothing of interest to report at all. After years of providing us with all sorts of interesting discussion points, crazy theories and unusual angles for a story, Australia’s selection policies have now retreated into pure tedium, with the wheels spinning while no-one pays the slightest bit of attention.

Apropos of nothing, here's the cover of The King Of Limbs, Radiohead's eighth studio album.

Apropos of nothing, here’s the cover of The King Of Limbs, Radiohead’s eighth studio album.

The away team

After the shambles of the first two Tests of the series it’s pretty much open hour in England’s team selection meetings. Nobody seems to have the slightest clue what they’re going to do, so we’ll just make some random guesses and hope for the best. Which seems to be England’s approach to their batting thus far in the series.

As with all good batting crises, the obvious thing to do is change the bowling. Hence the top five (plus Matt Prior at seven) will all stay the same, alongside Stuart Broad and Jimmy Anderson. Alongside them we reckon Tim Bresnan will come in to steady the ship, while Graham Swann will probably keep his place, as much for his slip catching as for his bowling – in their single WACA appearances to date he took two wickets at 52, compared to Monty Panesar’s eight wickets at 30. That’s not to mention Swann’s monstrous average of 99 in this series.

That leaves one space for one of Stokes, Ballance, Bairstow, Finn, Rankin, Tremlett and Panesar. And quite literally any of them could play, apart from Bairstow, who would literally melt. We reckon Stokes will keep his place after a performance that showed that the inevitable anger about being ginger can actually be turned into something useful, i.e. shouting abuse at Brad Haddin. Plus his bowling was fairly quick, which definitely means he’ll do well at the WACA.

In an interstellar burst he is back to save the universe.

In an interstellar burst he is back to save the universe.

The 51allout prediction

England to get a right spanking. Everything is broken.


1 Comment

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Alex G

12 Dec 2013 17:14

In the seven Ashes test so far the team winning the toss has batted first and gone on to dominate the match.

So by half two we’ll know which way this test is going.