Against England in Hobart, Australia will be hoping to make it 4-0 in the Ashes
England’s tie-in Sydney prevented a 5-0 sweep.
Defeats in Brisbane, Adelaide, and Melbourne had left England’s players feeling dejected.
On Friday, England will face Australia in the Ashes final in Hobart, encouraged by a battling draw in Sydney, but distracted by injury concerns and selection quandaries.
Despite a hard-fought draw in Sydney, England will be plagued by injury concerns and selection issues as it prepares to face Australia in the Ashes final on Friday night in Hobart. Last week, the tourists avoided a 5-0 rout at the Sydney Cricket Ground only to a nail-biting last-wicket hold-out. With Jos Buttler out with a fractured finger, and Jonny Bairstow and Ben Stokes racing against the clock to get fit, it was a costly victory.
After three humbling defeats in Brisbane, Adelaide, and Melbourne, England captain Joe Root claimed that not losing was “hugely significant” and that he believed it had changed the tide.
In Sydney, he broke Alastair Cook’s record for most matches as England’s captain. “It would have been very simple for us to layover and bemoan our situation,” he remarked.
“However, it was up to the players to reclaim some pride in the badge and show how much they care about playing for England,” he said.
However, it can’t hide the fact that they still have a terrible record in Australia, with 12 defeats in 14 Tests.
Ex-captain Michael Atherton referred to the whitewash as a “little mercy” in an essay for the Times this week.
It’s important to remember that Australia declared in both innings and that two sessions were canceled due to weather in the fourth Test.
A “yawning distance” separated England from first place, according to his assessment.
The Bellerive Oval in Hobart, Tasmania, will host the inaugural Ashes Test after winning the competition to replace Perth, which was canceled last month due to strict quarantine restrictions in Western Australia state.
This is the second match of the series, following Australia’s 275-run thrashing of England in Adelaide.
There is some motivation to be found in Australia’s more impressive batting display, which included Jonny Bairstow’s century and Ben Stokes’ fifty-plus scores in each of the series’ opening two innings, as well as the 77 of England opener Zak Crawley.
Despite this, Haseeb Hameed and Rory Burns were both considered possible replacements for Hameed.
Bairstow might step up in the absence of Buttler, but the right thumb ailment he’s now dealing with prevents him from doing so.
To be safe, England has called up Big Bash League player Sam Billings, who was playing for Sydney Thunder.
He had to drive 12 hours from the Gold Coast to Sydney to join the squad and undergo coronavirus testing before traveling to Hobart since flights were deemed too unsafe due to Australia’s escalating Covid crisis.
He described the experience as “a bit of a rollercoaster.”
There is no guarantee that the cap will be available for testing, so we will have to wait and see.
Ollie Pope, who took Buttler’s place when he was injured, is not a lock to make his Test debut.
With a left-side injury, all-rounder Ben Stokes is also questionable. Dan Lawrence is a possible successor to him.
With Scott Boland needing painkillers for the remaining two days of the fourth Test due to a rib injury, Australia had their own setbacks as well.
Michael Neser might play if Josh Hazlewood and Jhye Richardson are both ruled out due to injury.
Dodemaide also acknowledged that there have been discussions about whether to risk star paceman Mitchell Starc for a fifth consecutive Test.
A discussion about how he pulls up is “absolutely a talk that we will need,” he said.
What to do with Usman Khawaja, the veteran left-hander who was brought in when Travis Head got Covid and smashed a century in each innings in Sydney.
Marcus Harris might be the fall guy if Head returns as number five and Khawaja is elevated to open with David Warner.
He said that Khawaja couldn’t be dropped by Australian captain Pat Cummins.
For the following week, “it’s hard to move past someone who hits a twin hundred,” he said.