An excellent exhibition of Test cricket at Lord’s in the second Test brought Ashes alive. England still trail Australia 1-0, but the hosts have lifted their game. The third Test starts from Thursday at Headingley in Leeds. With the Ashes still on line, expect a close game between the bitter rivals.
What makes this match even more interesting is the axis of Steve Smith & Jofra Archer. While Smith’s absence robs Australia of their best batsman, Archer has given a new dimension to the English.
The opening day was lost at Lord’s, but England managed to improve as the game progressed. There is still a lot to be desired from the opening pair, though. Especially Jason Roy doesn’t look set for the rigors of this format. Joe Root’s move to number three didn’t work out, either.
With the addition of Archer, England’s bowling look well-equipped to take 20 wickets. James Anderson isn’t yet fit enough to play the game. Still, there is a lot of variety in England’s camp. Jack Leach has also stepped up and that has made the hosts look better.
The visitors have based their game around returning batting talisman Steve Smith. With the former captain out of this Test due to concussions, Australia look rudderless on paper. David Warner and Cameron Bancroft continue to struggle.
Tim Paine will be hard pressed to take tough decisions. Thankfully, the well-rested James Pattinson and left-arm quick Mitchell Starc look hungry to lead. Away from the speedsters, off-spinner Nathan Lyon has been leading the show for Australia.
Fantasy Players to Watch
Ben Stokes has shown with his century in the Lord’s Test that he is England’s best batsman under pressure. His bowling also seems to be improving, making him an ideal pick.
Travis Head is one of the vice-captains of this Australia unit. His consistent scores bear a testimony to his immense potential.
Jofra Archer showed in Lord’s that he is one of the most fearsome bowlers of this generation. Another fiery spell could be on the cards.
England: 1 Rory Burns 2 Jason Roy 3 Joe Root (C) 4 Joe Denly 5 Jos Buttler 6 Ben Stokes 7 Jonny Bairstow 8 Jofra Archer 9 Sam Curran 10 Chris Broad 11 Jack Leach
Australia: 1 Marcus Harris 2 David Warner 3 Usman Khawaja 4 Marnus Labuschagne 5 Travis Head 6 Matthew Wade 7 Tim Paine (C & WK) 8 James Pattinson 9 Josh Hazlewood 10 Mitchell Starc 11 Nathan Lyon
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