“Following a wonderful rear guard effort by Cook and Trott in Brisbane and a massive England win in Adelaide, Mitchell Johnson had one of those games in Perth to level the series heading into Melbourne. We are predicting Anderson, Bresnan and Tremlett to skittle the Australians for less than 100 on Boxing Day and then Cook and Strauss to share 150 runs by the close to virtually ensure the Ashes are retained.”
The heady days of the 2010 Boxing Day Test seem like a lifetime away now. In fact November 21st 2013 seems a lifetime away these days. At the risk of repeating ourselves, England are in turmoil heading into the next game with more questions than answers. Luckily they won’t be playing in front of 100,000 drunk Pommie bashers…
It’s fair to say the home team are in a happy place right now. The Ashes have been won back and the party in Perth lasted well into the early hours, well at least until Ryan Harris decided it was time for a bit of No Limit Texas Hold Em.
As if to rub salt into the wound, some of the squad have been warming up for this game by playing in the Big Bash, giving them further opportunity to undermine the confidence of some of England’s fringe players. And Chris Woakes. It’s fair to say we don’t recall the Argus review recommending using T20 as a warm up for Test cricket but it’s a fair reflection of the current state of affairs. Maybe South Africa should take note just in case they ever need 16 off three overs to complete the greatest run chase in the history of the game.
Sigh. What can we say that hasn’t already been said? Every damning statistic has been poured over and over again since the end of the Perth game and, with the exception of Stokes’s innings, none of it is pretty or worth pulling apart again. There has been much discussion about how best to proceed for the final two games. Is it time to blood some youngsters? Should the older heads be given two games to potentially save their international career? Those who have listened to our latest podcast will know even the 51allout collective can’t agree on the best course of action.
One thing we do know is that Graeme Swann won’t be in the team having
walked out on his former teammates retired from all cricket with immediate effect. We have discussed that in greater detail here, but our assumption is that Monty will come in for this game. Tredwell and Borthwick have been called into the squad which suggests the plan is to play a second spinner in Sydney. Or possibly that someone just accidentally wrote the wrong name onto a form somewhere.
The makeup of the rest of the team is anyone’s guess at this point. If Broad isn’t fit then Finn/Tremlett/Rankin will likely come in. If Broad is fit Anderson may be ‘rested’ and Finn/Tremlett/Rankin will come in anyway. The batsmen who have underperformed will probably get another chance to underperform as that’s normally the way these things work and KP will get blamed for something. Everyone will be hurting.
England to lose by 50 runs.
Merry Christmas to the reader!