England v Australia, 3rd Investec Test, Old Trafford July 31, 2013

Last chance for bedraggled Australia

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Match facts

August 1-5, Old Trafford
Start time 1100 (1000 GMT)

Big Picture

Over 16 years of discontent between 1989 and 2005, England found themselves 2-0 down after as many Ashes matches no fewer than six times. The lead-in to the third Test was invariably accompanied by all manner of introspection within the team and public ridicule without, while selections tended to lean towards changing the combinations that did not work in the first two matches, carrying the air of last-chance for the selectors and the captain if not the players themselves. Something else about those six occasions is also noteworthy - while often England produced an improved display, not once did they ever actually win the third match, usually giving up the urn as a result.

This unpalatable scenario is now Australia's cross to bear, following a tight result at Trent Bridge and a decidedly loose one at Lord's. There will be changes to the team, most likely three as David Warner returns after doing penance in South Africa while bowlers Nathan Lyon and Mitchell Starc are recalled having not done too much wrong to be dropped in the first place. Of greater import for Australia, however, is getting the best out of the few batsmen they know to be of high quality. Michael Clarke has batted away speculation that he has entered the last six months of his international career but has so far been unable to do likewise to England's bowlers, while Shane Watson's threatening starts have remained just that from the moment James Anderson and co have managed to narrow their aim onto his front pad. Chris Rogers must lift too, having been called into the team late in his career simply to churn out hundreds - nothing more and nothing less.

As for England, a draw will be sufficient to retain the Ashes, but Anderson's words last week provided ample evidence that the hosts are seeking something grander, a 5-0 margin of victory to be precise. Kevin Pietersen's fitness has been a source of minor irritation to England's planning, but in James Taylor they have a reserve batsman capable of playing the long innings that will further wear down an Australian bowling attack that has toiled manfully against the creeping realisation that no matter what they bowl their opponents out for, it will not be enough. Nevertheless, England cannot expect to be continually bailed out by Ian Bell following the loss of trios of early wickets, and so Alastair Cook will be particularly keen to score the runs that ensure the proceedings at Old Trafford carry on in the same lopsided manner in which they did at Lord's.

Form guide

England: WWWWD
Australia: LLLLL

Players to watch

Right now it feels strange and distant to consider that for years Graeme Swann considered Australia to be his toughest opponents. The impression was created by some indifferent days against the likes of Michael Hussey and Michael Clarke in 2009 and 2010-11, but the former's retirement has given Swann some greater room to flourish against batsmen with very little confidence against the spinning ball. Now, at Old Trafford, the scene of Jim Laker's 19 wickets in 1956, Swann's threat looms larger than ever for the tourists.

Rather than playing against Sussex, Shane Watson spent a week in London, training specifically to work on his susceptibility against the ball angling back into his pads for an lbw shout. As his opening partner Chris Rogers stated, Watson has the potential to do more damage to England's bowlers than any other member of the Australian batting line-up, and if he has managed to smooth out this long-standing technical kink he may find Manchester very much to his liking.

Team news

Kevin Pietersen has not quite assuaged all doubts about his fitness, following a calf strain, by training in Manchester, and if he is not deemed ready James Taylor will slot into the batting order. Monty Panesar is on hand with his left-arm spin, but Tim Bresnan's strong showing on a dry surface at Lord's plus his extra batting heft make a change less likely.

England (probable) 1 Alastair Cook (capt), 2 Joe Root, 3 Jonathan Trott, 4 Kevin Pietersen, 5 Ian Bell, 6 Jonny Bairstow, 7 Matt Prior (wk), 8 Tim Bresnan, 9 Stuart Broad, 10 Graeme Swann, 11 James Anderson

David Warner appears a likely inclusion for Australia following his century for Australia A in South Africa, but the question is for who and where in the batting order. Phillip Hughes is under some pressure following a trio of low scores after his 81* in Nottingham, and Steve Smith is nursing a sore back. Mitchell Starc and Nathan Lyon are probable bowling inclusions for the injured James Pattinson and Ashton Agar.

Australia (probable) 1 Shane Watson, 2 Chris Rogers, 3 Usman Khawaja, 4 Michael Clarke (capt), 5 Steve Smith, 6 David Warner, 7 Brad Haddin (wk), 8 Peter Siddle, 9 Mitchell Starc, 10 Ryan Harris, 11 Nathan Lyon.

Pitch and conditions

The tourists have been greeted by another very dry surface that already shows evidence of cracking, alongside a few curious "burnt" patches. It is quite hard underfoot however, so there will be some bounce on offer to shotmakers and pace bowlers alike. Intermittent rain is forecast for the week.

Stats and trivia

  • Don Bradman's 1936-37 Australian side are the only team ever to have overcome a 2-0 deficit after as many Tests to win the Ashes
  • An Australia defeat will hand the tourists seven consecutive Test match losses for the first time since 1888
  • Stuart Broad needs one more wicket to become the 15th England bowler to claim 200 in their Test career

Quotes

"As soon as you become distracted you can come unstuck. Yes, we've earned the right to be in a pretty good situation in the series. But the series is still alive."
Alastair Cook stays on his toes despite a 2-0 lead

"I was part of the team that won 16 in a row, so I guess I'm seeing both sides. The reality is you want to win every time you walk out onto the field. But you have to perform at your best to do that. If we don't and we lose this Test match, we'll hold a record that I certainly won't be proud of and I don't think anyone in the current team will be proud of."
Michael Clarke peers over the precipice of seven consecutive Test defeats

Daniel Brettig is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo. He tweets here

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • landl47 on August 1, 2013, 0:14 GMT

    Could Australia win? Yes, of course they could. If they win the toss and put up a big score and England has to bat 4th on a deteriorating wicket, then Australia might very well win. However, it's fair to say that a number of things have to go differently than they have so far. They need at least one and preferably two people to make a big score in each innings. They need to take not just early wickets, but timely wickets to prevent partnerships from building. The spinner(s) need to bowl a good deal better. They need to hold their catches.

    They also need England to play badly, because if both of these teams play to their capabilities, then England wins.

    I always anticipate a tough game with Australia and I don't think this one will be any different.

  • on August 1, 2013, 10:04 GMT

    Are Australia panicing? 3 changes to their side for this Test! Reminds me of England in the 90s!!

  • on August 1, 2013, 9:28 GMT

    Finally after 2 weeks of too much one day and T20 we have a test cricket i just cannot believed why people are forget about test series West Indies and Srilanka board should have played test series after one day series and southafrica and srilanka no test series so boring hopefully we will see good contest between Australia and England England are favourites but we cannot count our australia they will come back hard. Hope warner plays.

  • on August 1, 2013, 9:25 GMT

    I am with landl47 .... Australia can win. It looks like a great pitch to bowl on early with pace and bounce .... possibly some swing.

  • johnnybox on August 1, 2013, 9:24 GMT

    D day has arrived but more so for Cricket Australia and in particular James Sutherland. If Australia lose this test the finger must be pointed at them in view of their apparent obsession with income rather than fostering the long form of the game.

  • Barnesy4444 on August 1, 2013, 9:13 GMT

    Steve Smith also has a trio of low scores so why is everybody saying Hughes should be dropped? Hughes is only 24 and has been Australia's best young batsman for 4 years and selectors should stop shuffling him around all of the time.

    Ponting was 25 and had played over 40 tests before taking the responsibility of batting at 3. Hughes got given 7 tests, made 5 half centuries then got shuffled around again for no reason. At a similar stage of Hayden's test career he was a 30 year old averaging about 24!

  • on August 1, 2013, 9:09 GMT

    If Australia don't have a world-class spinner (they clearly don't), they shouldn't play a specialist spin bowler at all. Four good quick bowlers + Watson + Warner, Smith and Clarke to bowl occasional spin should be enough anywhere outside the subcontinent. Haddin, Starc, Siddle, Harris, Bird, 7-11.

  • R_U_4_REAL_NICK on August 1, 2013, 8:47 GMT

    @wellrounded87 (post on August 1, 2013, 2:45 GMT): I'm just not a big fan of '6-or-out' batsmen in test cricket. It's not just having a dig at Aus. because I feel the same about KP/Morgan for England. I understand a good, balanced team needs players like that to 'up-the-ante' when possible (loved watching the likes of Sehwag for India; Hayden and Gilchrist for Aus.) - but whereas KP slots in well to the England team and it usually doesn't matter if he fires or not (I'll still moan about it when he fails though, through disappointment), Aus. have certainly not got their balance right at all and are carrying too many short-format specialists. Stats lie in cricket because in the one or two games when the likes of Warner fire, these random big scores hugely inflate their averages; I'm more of a purist who prefers the Trott's/Bell's of the cricketing world who often have long runs of consistent (if not huge) game-changing knocks. For bowlers, spinners and line-and-length seamers for me.

  • disco_bob on August 1, 2013, 8:43 GMT

    Even though I don't think Warner should be playing but if he does, Warner/Cowan, Watson, Clarke, Khawaja, Hughes, Haddin, Smith, Harris, Bird, Siddle, Lyon,

  • disco_bob on August 1, 2013, 8:25 GMT

    If I'm in the Last Chance Saloon, you can pour me a double whitewash. Seeing as we have chopped and changed the batting positions so many times and seeing as we have tried all manner of ridiculous solutions including playing people out of position, I think that it is time that Clarke stepped up to first drop and stays there even if it means some time to adjust. He is clearly the only player capable of making this position his own and even though he has made all his runs at number five I don't think he has any choice given the importance of the position. See sawing from 4 to 5 is not really going to cut it.

  • landl47 on August 1, 2013, 0:14 GMT

    Could Australia win? Yes, of course they could. If they win the toss and put up a big score and England has to bat 4th on a deteriorating wicket, then Australia might very well win. However, it's fair to say that a number of things have to go differently than they have so far. They need at least one and preferably two people to make a big score in each innings. They need to take not just early wickets, but timely wickets to prevent partnerships from building. The spinner(s) need to bowl a good deal better. They need to hold their catches.

    They also need England to play badly, because if both of these teams play to their capabilities, then England wins.

    I always anticipate a tough game with Australia and I don't think this one will be any different.

  • on August 1, 2013, 10:04 GMT

    Are Australia panicing? 3 changes to their side for this Test! Reminds me of England in the 90s!!

  • on August 1, 2013, 9:28 GMT

    Finally after 2 weeks of too much one day and T20 we have a test cricket i just cannot believed why people are forget about test series West Indies and Srilanka board should have played test series after one day series and southafrica and srilanka no test series so boring hopefully we will see good contest between Australia and England England are favourites but we cannot count our australia they will come back hard. Hope warner plays.

  • on August 1, 2013, 9:25 GMT

    I am with landl47 .... Australia can win. It looks like a great pitch to bowl on early with pace and bounce .... possibly some swing.

  • johnnybox on August 1, 2013, 9:24 GMT

    D day has arrived but more so for Cricket Australia and in particular James Sutherland. If Australia lose this test the finger must be pointed at them in view of their apparent obsession with income rather than fostering the long form of the game.

  • Barnesy4444 on August 1, 2013, 9:13 GMT

    Steve Smith also has a trio of low scores so why is everybody saying Hughes should be dropped? Hughes is only 24 and has been Australia's best young batsman for 4 years and selectors should stop shuffling him around all of the time.

    Ponting was 25 and had played over 40 tests before taking the responsibility of batting at 3. Hughes got given 7 tests, made 5 half centuries then got shuffled around again for no reason. At a similar stage of Hayden's test career he was a 30 year old averaging about 24!

  • on August 1, 2013, 9:09 GMT

    If Australia don't have a world-class spinner (they clearly don't), they shouldn't play a specialist spin bowler at all. Four good quick bowlers + Watson + Warner, Smith and Clarke to bowl occasional spin should be enough anywhere outside the subcontinent. Haddin, Starc, Siddle, Harris, Bird, 7-11.

  • R_U_4_REAL_NICK on August 1, 2013, 8:47 GMT

    @wellrounded87 (post on August 1, 2013, 2:45 GMT): I'm just not a big fan of '6-or-out' batsmen in test cricket. It's not just having a dig at Aus. because I feel the same about KP/Morgan for England. I understand a good, balanced team needs players like that to 'up-the-ante' when possible (loved watching the likes of Sehwag for India; Hayden and Gilchrist for Aus.) - but whereas KP slots in well to the England team and it usually doesn't matter if he fires or not (I'll still moan about it when he fails though, through disappointment), Aus. have certainly not got their balance right at all and are carrying too many short-format specialists. Stats lie in cricket because in the one or two games when the likes of Warner fire, these random big scores hugely inflate their averages; I'm more of a purist who prefers the Trott's/Bell's of the cricketing world who often have long runs of consistent (if not huge) game-changing knocks. For bowlers, spinners and line-and-length seamers for me.

  • disco_bob on August 1, 2013, 8:43 GMT

    Even though I don't think Warner should be playing but if he does, Warner/Cowan, Watson, Clarke, Khawaja, Hughes, Haddin, Smith, Harris, Bird, Siddle, Lyon,

  • disco_bob on August 1, 2013, 8:25 GMT

    If I'm in the Last Chance Saloon, you can pour me a double whitewash. Seeing as we have chopped and changed the batting positions so many times and seeing as we have tried all manner of ridiculous solutions including playing people out of position, I think that it is time that Clarke stepped up to first drop and stays there even if it means some time to adjust. He is clearly the only player capable of making this position his own and even though he has made all his runs at number five I don't think he has any choice given the importance of the position. See sawing from 4 to 5 is not really going to cut it.

  • Lermy on August 1, 2013, 8:01 GMT

    I think cricket is a far more random a game than most of the armchair critics realize. Yes Australia will be low on confidence, but it only takes 10 good bits of cricket to bowl a side out, while your own side could play and miss ten times more often and still not nick it. I have seen and played enough sport now to realize that as soon as you write a side off as hopeless they will bite you on the backside. Should still be an interesting test.

  • JG2704 on August 1, 2013, 7:58 GMT

    @Jono Makimon (July 31, 2013, 22:12 GMT) It was just a suggestion based on my own experiences as an Eng fan. In UAE for example our batsmen were pathetic and while our bowlers did a fair job there were partnerships which we had probs breaking. I wondered if we had an extra bowler whether we'd have broken those partnerships sooner etc and we wouldn't have lost much from the batting as it was so pathetic so my theory there was that if our batting was that bad anyway then you're not really taking away many runs if you take out a batsman . Maybe your batsmen haven't been AS bad as ours on that tour

  • spindizzy on August 1, 2013, 7:58 GMT

    So what's being done to improve the quality of umpiring? Why hasn't Cricinfo mentioned it, despite it's enormous impact on the results, since the second test ended?

  • dunger.bob on August 1, 2013, 7:47 GMT

    @ jmlchiminey : 'There's a story on this site regarding whether or not the captaincy has affected Cook's output but I wonder whether it's starting to weigh on Clarke even more. " . I was actually thinking about this as I was mowing the lawn. .. I think it's more or less Even-Steven as far as keeping the respective captains under control is concerned. Both are acknowledged as prolific batsmen, but the sad conclusion that has to be drawn is that keeping Clarke quiet has far more serious ramifications for us than it does for you. .. In short, England can handle Cook not scoring many but Australia more or less live and die on Clarke's runs.

    At the moment it looks hopeless for us. We are well and truly covered in every aspect of the game by your mob. .. but hope springs eternal and I remain optimistic about our future as a cricketing nation. This is going to sound corny and trite, but this is Australia goddammit, you won't keep us down forever.

    Until then, I plan to enjoy the struggle!!

  • 64blip on August 1, 2013, 7:32 GMT

    Here we go again! I'm going to be out of communication range all day, so will return in the evening to see the day's play laid out before me. I wonder what the story will be?

  • milepost on August 1, 2013, 7:13 GMT

    @sirviv1973, I think Watson is an all rounder worthy of his place in the team but his conversion rate to big scores hasn't been good enough for an opener given he has had a long run in the top order. Young players might be assessed on the potential to transition to test cricket but senior players must be judged on the performance of their role in the side. Watson in the middle order would be a good thing to try. We want openers who can make big scores and for whatever reason Watson hasn't been able to do that. I think he could work a bit more in the nets on his bowling if he wasn't opening the batting, that's why I think we could get a few more overs from him. Not to mention openers speak of a different mindset required to do that job. Let's hope it's a good test match regardless of who wins.

  • on August 1, 2013, 6:55 GMT

    Capros = delusional, Australia on paper are the 6th best team in Test Cricket behind NZ, ...dream your hyperbole, listen to yourself, look in the mirror, you're all alone my son, alone.

  • on August 1, 2013, 6:53 GMT

    let warner open...if it comes off for him..he can single handedly rip apart the english bowling line up.....this test gonna be a make or break one fr aussie n especially dave warner....go go warner go

  • Phelos on August 1, 2013, 6:52 GMT

    Watson needs to bat 30 cms further out of his crease. Negats the swing marginally and hard to be given the trigger when you're so far forward - similar to where Bell bats. If we win the toss and he gets away, confidence will build below.

    I like Phil Hughes but he has to go, I've never seen a more skittish batsman. Looks like he'll hit a boundary or get out every ball he faces. I'd give Agar a run as a batsman @ 6 or 7. Only aussie so far who looks like he has time to adjust against Swan.

    Warner, Watson, Rogers, Khawaja, Clarke, Agar, Haddin, Lyon, Siddle, Starc, Harris.

  • on August 1, 2013, 6:36 GMT

    I think if they play according to the wicket behavior per day and include Warner and Lyon for strength in their batting and spin fields, but Clarke have to score in triple figure in order to ensure other batsman to score because is the role model in team especially then Shane Watson, Chris Rogers, Usman Khawaja, , Steve Smith, David Warner, Brad Haddin will perform automatically.and they can win according to my calculation under the lights of coach lehmann

  • capros on August 1, 2013, 6:23 GMT

    Belief: that is the key to this test match, Australia on paper are as good as any team at the moment. They have to show that they are as good on the field as on the paper and to do this all they have to do is to play to their capabilities as England are, the Australian team is lacking leadership not only from the Captain but from the other senior players it is their job to mentor the inexperienced and what better way to do this is to play to their strengths and not allow the opposition to dominate them as they have done in the past. C'mon Aussie C'mon.

  • cricket_ahan on August 1, 2013, 6:14 GMT

    Watson is susceptible to the swinging ball because of his front pad and slow movement. Moreover, he plays with hard hands (look at his high ratios of boundaries to singles), meaning there is more of a chance of him getting a nick that carries through to catching men behind the wicket. I would swap him with Warner, putting Warner in as opener with Rogers. Warner is hard at the ball too, but he is a more attacking player, and is a nice foil for the calmer Rogers. He is also quick between the wickets and better at rotating the strike with singles compared to Watson. This also makes the best use of Watson - late order hitting, whilst preserving his body to also allow him to bowl. Clarke also needs to take more responsibility and bat higher - 3 or 4 - so he can come in before too many wickets fall.

  • Dangerplayer on August 1, 2013, 6:10 GMT

    Offcourse Jhonson is an excellent bowler is round arm action is the good weapon against the likes of bell,root,trott and he can easily wrap up the tails

  • on August 1, 2013, 6:08 GMT

    Great to see Warney in the nets with the Aussies. Boof should give him a full time gig - Strategist, spin coach and even mentor Warner and co on the pitfalls of electronic communication - perfect!

  • King-Cobra on August 1, 2013, 5:46 GMT

    Steve Waugh -> Ricky Ponting -> Michael Clarke. I see a progressive decline in the standards of these men. True, Ponting has more runs than Steve, but I feel Ponting was only slightly better than Clarke in handling a crisis situation. The Aussies are caught in a loop and they have themselves to blame for it. Michael Clarke shooed off Ponting to ascertain his place as a leader of the pack; He also made sure that Katich did not get a central contract, due to some personal conflicts that had happened years back. Mike Hussey took the cue and dropped himself off the lane. Michael Clarke is the sole problem for the current Australian crisis IMO. And unless you get rid of this guy as a captain, I still value his contributions with the bat, I don't see any progress - You can keep bringing players in & out of the team and toy with the order, to no respite.

  • on August 1, 2013, 5:40 GMT

    I hate to say it if Australia win the toss the game will be lucky to go three days. We have a batting line up with no technique except for Clarke and the pressure is starting to tell on him Shuffling the batting order around is just like moving deck chairs on the titanic. As someone else posted how many of the Australian team would get into the England team (one if that) We have just got to accept that where not good enough.

  • on August 1, 2013, 5:29 GMT

    I think exclusion of Mitchell Johnson costed Australia more in this series. He might helped them more with ball & some important runs at lower order. Specialy in first test.

  • stonecoldb4u on August 1, 2013, 5:21 GMT

    i dont understand how r saying watson should drop.....his avg is 35 n he is perfect all-rounder....compare to hughes his avg is 32 n he cant even bowl n some people are supporting him....jst consider ds series watson scored 110runs in ds series he is 2nd leading scorer for aussies....hughes not even scored 100runs in ds series yet....watto is kind of playr if he plays well then he is best playr in d world....whether watson scores or not at present situation he shouldnt drop......

  • Gajafa on August 1, 2013, 5:14 GMT

    Give warner a bowl now and then and also clarke please have a few overs to mix it up. Johnson comes in instead of Bird to balance out the r and l handed bowlers. Lyon gets a go as the off-spin may trouble these poms more than leggies (if he can spin it that is). rogers moves down the order as so far failed at the top to get runs, but could hang arround longer if down the order IMO. Khawaja moves up the order to open in place of Watson who is dropped and needs to go home.

    I'd probably go with;

    warner, khawaja, Hughes, Rogers, clarke (C), wade (WC), lyon, siddle (VC), starc, johnson, harris

  • on August 1, 2013, 5:13 GMT

    It is about time Michel Clarke took ore responsibility in the batting order. He should bat at no.3.

  • on August 1, 2013, 5:05 GMT

    Australia will bounce back for sure. They will win at least one test in this series. First test loss was a narrow one, win there could have raised their confidence. Its all a matter of mental strength and Aussies can adapt that easily than others.

  • Mervo on August 1, 2013, 4:56 GMT

    So if Australia do this badly for another 13 years they will be as bad as England was? Good history lesson.

  • Dangerplayer on August 1, 2013, 4:43 GMT

    I want england to win this game as they stick to the basic concepts of the game whereas aussies always tries something new and it goes against them.

  • atul2884 on August 1, 2013, 4:28 GMT

    Clark should be wary of COOK and KP in this match. Both will hungry to get a big score and pitch will not be assisting fast bowlers a lot which is Aussies main strength. For Australia best would be they win toss Bat first and hope for Warner, Clark and Watto to score atleast 50 a piece and other batting around them to take score above 350. On breaking pitch I would suggest clark and smith should be given small spells of 3-4 overs each to give this Aussie attack a new dimension whereas Siddle and Harris and bowl 4-5 over spell with full throttle to keep English under pressure

  • MinusZero on August 1, 2013, 4:16 GMT

    Why is it when Watson has a technical flaw, he is sent to the nets to work on it before being selected again, but with Hughes he is dumped?

  • lindy111 on August 1, 2013, 4:11 GMT

    Surely Clarke won't bat at 4 having moved back down to 5. I think Warner should open with Watson, I don't see why having two aggressive opening batsmen opening would be an issue, then stick Rogers at 3 to steady upon the loss of an early wicket. Leave Hughes down at 6

  • cric_J on August 1, 2013, 4:08 GMT

    I am usually not one for chopping and changing a side too often and everytime after losses , but this Aussie side will surely need some changes to stay alive in the series.

    I agree with @landl47 that if Bird breaks down in the middle , he'll become a liability rather than an asset ,so I'd probably go for Starc. And I feel he did cause sufficient problems to Cook and KP at TB to get a chance here.

    Also, for all of Agar's batting ability , he needs to be benched and Lyon needs to come in. Some serious spin assistance is expected and you want to have a decent spinner to exploit those conditions and Agar is not that man ATM. As it is bowlers are selected on their bowling potential first and if they bat well it is a bonus.

    And yeah , I agree with the others that Warner should get a look in here. He may get out in the first 2 overs itself but if he manages a big one, he'll easily take the game away from England who seem unsettled when attacked contrary to their plans.

  • Samdanh on August 1, 2013, 3:54 GMT

    By throwing up sporting wickets or maintaining the wickets to their true characteristics, Eng could have still won the series but would have made the series more competitive and interesting for the followers. That Eng have chosen to doctor pitches has placed them in the brand of nations that have been doctoring pitches to negate opponents' strengths and suit the hosts' strengths. This trend is negative and could be harmful to Test cricket in the long run. Having said that, Ashes is a series that cricket lovers look fwd to following closely. That interest is still alive. Not sure if it will keep up if Aus continue their slide. With these kind of pitches, toss become crucial. Hope Aus wins toss and puts up a big score in their first innings

  • seawolf on August 1, 2013, 3:48 GMT

    watson/rogers/cowen/kwaja/clarke/warner/smith/haddin/bird/siddle/harris. let watson bowl at least 15-20 overs to justify his place filling 4th bowler slot and he can do good, he is broken then can sit out for next matches. Smith play a spinner roll as he is as good as agar and lyon so far in England and no specialist spinner ever did any wonder for Australia in the last 3/4 years other than occupying another players slot. smith/watson bowl about 30 overs and 3 seamers bowl 60 overs, batting right now nothing better line up Australia can afford having 8 men who can bat a bit. at least a draw can keep the series alive and can prepare for next years. a draw may take the urn but after a draw if can win two tests, their spot can be safe rather than sliding down, right now Eng bowling is taking away the game so make them to compromise now at least they can win urn back in Australia if they do it now. 8 men batting and still go down, then they can think of a new team for sure.

  • LoungeChairCritic on August 1, 2013, 3:43 GMT

    The toss tonight will be vital. If we lose it, the odds on a English victory will shorten. The poms are doing their best not to deliver a seamer. If Headingly is a dry turner, you will know that the board is doing their best to manipulate the situation. In the modern era, this is international cricket. For us to go forward, it is vital that we learn to play on spinning dry decks. It will be our Achilles heal until reforms are made to our lower levels. Shield pitches need to be more like what they are in the international arena. Result seaming pitches are not helping the next generation of Australian cricketers. The talent is there, it is a matter of developing them in the right manner.

  • on August 1, 2013, 3:41 GMT

    @ David Obrian second that call, Watson survives only if Smiths injured, otherwise Hughes opens with rogers... Id have warner at 4 but

  • jmcilhinney on August 1, 2013, 3:14 GMT

    @Jim Palmer on (July 31, 2013, 22:17 GMT), I agree to an extent. Ponting and Hussey were both poor during the last Ashes but, while Ponting's form had declined to the point where I doubt that he would have been a force in this series, Hussey still appeared to be at the top of his game. You never know but I have a strong feeling that Australia would have done better than they have if Hussey was in the team. That said, Clarke was playing even better than Hussey and even he's looked ordinary so far. There's a story on this site regarding whether or not the captaincy has affected Cook's output but I wonder whether it's starting to weigh on Clarke even more. He obviously started well, as did Cook, but if his current form continues for the rest of this series then questions will be asked. I think even England supporters expected multiple hundreds from Clarke this series. There's still time of course, but he hasn't looked the goods so far.

  • on August 1, 2013, 3:12 GMT

    If Steve Smith is hurt that's going to allow the selectors to not have to make a tough call about Shane Watson. They just put him up to opener ahead of Cowan, Warner and Hughes, but he just looks like he's going to get out every time. After the obligatory four or five lovely boundaries that is.

    Warners average of nearly 40 and being the only guy other than Rogers in the side to have made a big 150+ score recently means he's coming back in.

    Steve Smith just got an unbeaten century and that's their mandate, get centuries, go on with it to triple figures, he's in the side if he's fit. Phil Hughes has more runs at the highest average of every batsmen on tour, and he got another 80 the other day, he's in the side somewhere. Watson on the other hand looks like a walking wicket.

    Warner comes in for Watson, but Hughes opens with Rogers and Warner playing at 6.

    Hughes Rogers Khawaja Smith Clarke Warner Haddin Lyon Siddle Harris Bird

  • Dieingaussie on August 1, 2013, 3:09 GMT

    One thing Clarke could do to get his team off on a good start would be to win the toss. Me thinks we would have one first test if he had one that toss. They say toss doesnt matter but I disagree England were advantaged by both toss wins.

  • TeamSelector on August 1, 2013, 3:07 GMT

    I agree with the Starc/Lyon switch for Pattinson/Agar, but Warner should come in for Khwaja, & bat @ #5. Hughes at #3, with Smith at #6.

  • jmcilhinney on August 1, 2013, 3:06 GMT

    @Daniel Sijmons on (August 1, 2013, 0:31 GMT), some might say that if the right decision had been made then Agar would have been out on 6 in that first innings, Australia would have lost by significantly more and he probably wouldn't even have played the second game. Some might say that if the right decision had been made regarding reviewing the LBW against Bairstow then the right decision could have been made against Broad. Of course, if Broad had been given out then everything that happened after that would have been completely different to what did happen, so there's no logical reason to assume that Australia would have won. England may actually have scored more and Australia fewer if Broad had been given out. We can talk about probabilities, etc., but the statement that Australia would have won had Broad been given out is baseless.

  • wellrounded87 on August 1, 2013, 2:45 GMT

    @ R_U_4_REAL_NICK How exactly is Hughes the lesser of two evils?

    Aside from Clarke warner has been our most prolific batsmen... and comfortably.

    Besides all that i think Smith should be the one to go. His place in the side seems a certainty yet he's failed to produce any innings of value.

  • mysay on August 1, 2013, 2:44 GMT

    The best inclusion for Australia thus far is Nathan Lyon, who should have never been dropped in the first place, but not a match winning prospect. Ashton Agar has clearly shown his potential as a one hit wonder, so him been injured will not have any impact. Even if Warner scores a 100+ (which is highly unlikely) there is no other batsmen capable of giving Aussies a match saving/winning partnership. What we all want to see is Cook get a big one, and if he does, please go for the follow on this time around and bury the Aussies in Manchester.

  • GloryDaysReturn on August 1, 2013, 2:39 GMT

    I am an optimistic Aussie supporter but cannot see how my team can possibly win this test match. It's not a question of a disparity of talent; it's more to do with the psychological chasm that exists between the two teams. This is how the match will unfold: 1. Clarke loses the toss-again 2. England get 350+ 3. Aus batting: Watson lbw Anderson; Left handers (Rogers, Warner, Hughes, Khawaja, Starc, Agar) lbw Swann, or ct slip bowled Root; Smith/Haddin ct wk bowled anyone; Clarke under immense pressure finds another bizarre way of getting out. All out 210 (with a 50 run 10th wicket stand) 4. England 3 (dec)-300 5. Aus all out 120 (see above for repeat of dismissals), and lose. 6. Australian selectors finally get it and bring in left-handed bowlers and right handed-batsmen for the remaining dead rubbers!

  • PFEL on August 1, 2013, 2:37 GMT

    @mvempati18, sad truth is that fewer and fewer people in Australia care about cricket at all. Youngsters don't want to play it, everyone prefers AFL and even soccer and rugby are becoming more popular. Australia's situation is unlikely to improve in this regard, but it doesn't mean they can't get back to being no. 1 team in the world, and soon.

  • Gajafa on August 1, 2013, 1:59 GMT

    Some things really put me off this series before it even started. As an aussie fan, just did not understand the inclusion of Haddin as wc. He's 35, and he's probably our 3rd best keeper out of Wade and Paine. Ditto for Chris Rogers! I thought we were planning for the future? Also Lyon, not impressed with past performances. The same for Steve Smith, bowls rubbish and doesn't hang arround. To me it all simply looks like they're building a team where being from New South Wales means everything in terms of selection, rather than skill. It won't be until selectors get over this fact that we can move on. Don't get me wrong though, I take nothing away from the English team, one of the best squads ive seen, vs one of the worst ever Australian ashes squads. Watson has had enough chances, he tires quickly and bowls fair rubbish after a few overs. Very bad move dropping Wade and Warner IMO, showed a real lack of incite, or even braincells by selectors.

  • jmcilhinney on August 1, 2013, 1:55 GMT

    With rain likely at some point during this game (forecast I'm looking at says light rain all day Saturday) and the series on the line, Australia are going to have to look to attack. For that reason, I would not be surprised to see David Warner in the XI. If England can avoid being bowled out cheaply then they can just stick to their usual plan of outlasting the opposition. Australia will have to look to score relatively quickly and, unless they improve markedly from the last two games, that in itself could lead to England taking wickets. Australia don't need to go crazy but they need to press for the win, even if that results in a loss. If they do lose this game then they can look to avoid a whitewash later. Right now they need the win to keep the series alive and I don't expect them to go out without a fight. They may fight poorly and get creamed regardless, but they will fight.

  • Mitty2 on August 1, 2013, 1:51 GMT

    No. Starc is just too terrible. If Bird doesn't play ahead of him I will be furious. I might be repetitive, but surely the selectors can't ignore that MJ is currently a better bowler than Starc and Bird averages a massive 10+ runs less per wicket in both FC and tests. The only thing Starc is superior to Bird in is his batting.

    Hughes shouldn't be dropped

  • SamWintson92 on August 1, 2013, 1:30 GMT

    My team for 3rd test: ENG XI: 1 Cook (C) 2 Root 3 Trott 4 Pietersen 5 Bell 6 Bairstow 7 Prior (WK) 8 Bresnan/Panesar (if the pitch is going to turn heavily) 9 Broad 10 Swann 11 Anderson. AUS XI: 1 Watson 2 Rogers 3 Khawaja 4 Warner 5 Clarke (C) 6 Smith (For his legspin as Old Trafford probably will turn. Otherwise, I prefer Hughes) 7 Haddin (WK) 8 Siddle 9 Harris 10 Bird 11 Lyon.

  • dunger.bob on August 1, 2013, 0:42 GMT

    As much as it pains me to say it, the Boof-heads are no hope of winning this or any other Test on the England leg of this long, slow and very public execution of Australian cricket.

    They have sub-zero self belief, and even if they had plenty, they haven't got the skill, man for man, to beat England. .. They probably feel like dead men walking.

    One thing that has surprised me is the amount of empathy, sometimes even sympathy, coming from non-Aussie posters. There's been way more than I thought there would be, given our reputation as the 'mongrels' of the cricket world. ..

    This might sound a bit strange, but really, you're wasting your time feeling sorry for us. What you should be doing is rubbing our noses in it. .. The England players certainly intend to do that. They are in no mood to show us any mercy and nor should they. 10-Nil is their agenda.

    My advice to all non-Aussie fans is to lay the boot into us while we're down. Make our lives a misery. Why?. ..Well, we'd do it to you.

  • on August 1, 2013, 0:31 GMT

    Australia need to be bold.. the shock selection of Ashton Agar would of won them a test match if the correct decision had of been made against Broad... Perhaps a few more surprises might give them another chance

  • landl47 on August 1, 2013, 0:29 GMT

    Just a thought about Bird. I think the selectors might be concerned about his stamina. He's coming off a serious back problem (the same one that sent Pattinson home) and had played no cricket for months before arriving in England. It's been noticeable that his form has fallen off the longer the matches go; he was unable to take a single wicket on the last day of the match against a pretty ordinary Worcester side and although he took two early wickets against Sussex, that was it- no more wickets and not a lot of overs.

    That might not matter, but the side already has Harris, who finds it almost impossible to play consecutive matches without breaking down. He looked very tired in the England second innings at Lord's and bowled only a handful of overs on day 3, when England scored 300 and lost only two wickets, neither to Harris. Aus also has spinners who can't keep an end tight. Bringing in someone whose stamina is suspect might be too big a risk for Aus.

  • 5wombats on August 1, 2013, 0:06 GMT

    Looks as if Warner will play. It will be harsh on whoever gets dropped - all of the Australian batting has been poor. Hughes doesn't really deserve to be dropped though - he was OK in the first Test. England will enjoy winding Warner up. This is going to be fun to watch. Gem tonight - I'll be tuning in!

  • on July 31, 2013, 23:52 GMT

    Oh Dear Clarky, when nothing is going right, then only people will pull over the past performances to support themselves. You are also doing the same by referring to the 16 test wins. You need to stop boasting about the past and start thinking about the future and how to build your team for the future or my better advise for u is get retired and leave some young proactive kid to take over the leadership to build the team as you are nearing the end of ur career on top of that struggling with back problems.

  • riahcmra on July 31, 2013, 23:44 GMT

    that Aussie 11 looks right - except why would you open with Watson - swap Warner and Watson around. Keep the RH bats down the order to play Swann and play Watson as an allrounder - and get him away from the swinging new ball and James Anderson. Let the LH bats play the new ball swing bowlers.

  • Greatest_Game on July 31, 2013, 23:09 GMT

    Its uncanny, as if Aus cricket has been infected by some strange malaise. Australia A, in their 2nd unofficial test in South Africa, were reeling at 7 for 68, yet defied a complete collapse with an 8th wicket stand of 40, and a 10th wicket stand of 31. In total, the last 3 fell for 78, 10 more than the first 7! Whatever Aus' batting problems are, their bowlers may hold the answer.

  • on July 31, 2013, 22:18 GMT

    My interest as an Aussie cricket love will never fade, and I just wish like most people that I was a selector for this team!!!! The current selectors have no imagination when it comes to picking players who will get the job done....

  • on July 31, 2013, 22:17 GMT

    All the talk about Ponting's and Hussey's departures -- they really may not have made much of a difference. The last time they were in an Ashes squad Australia took a pasting at home, losing three matches by an innings. At least this time around Australia has been able to capture more than 10 wickets in each match...

  • on July 31, 2013, 22:12 GMT

    @JG2704, Our batting just isn't strong enough to go with 5 bowlers, mate. Particularly when there is no big scorers amongst them, Clarke aside. There's been nothing wrong with our bowling so far I don't think. Just one very horrible day with the bat! No need to expose our problems further.

    @jlw74, hard not to agree on Watson, he seems to pick one method to get himself out every series, usually the worst one possible and then run with it. In India it was playing cross batted shots on pitches with variable bounce here its a game of keep the ball out with your pads! I think i'd like to have another look at Henriques at 6, at least he can bat against spin and get through a proper workload with the ball, not yet the finished article but he is getting pretty close, just needs to go on with his starts. It would also give us a bit of space at the top of the order for the likes of Hughes instead of just bunting him around the order like a ping pong ball.

  • Cyril_Knight on July 31, 2013, 22:04 GMT

    @jlw74 Warner and Hughes opening! Jesus Christ that's a dream come true. Anderson would have them in two overs of simple bowling across them. If they are the most talented batsmen Australia has (they are not, they are just youngish), then there are major issues.

    Hughes is absolutely rubbish, probably the worst batsmen to play for Australia in the last 30 years. Only Warner and Khawaja come close to being as bad. Why any of them are even close to the test side is a mystery. S.Marsh, Ferguson, Bailey, D.Hussey, Katich, Voges, even North are better players.

    It seems reputation as a junior counts for more than ability as a first-class cricketer with CA.

  • SirViv1973 on July 31, 2013, 21:32 GMT

    @CricketingStargazer, do you think Aus can really go in to this match with 2 spinners & seam attack of Siddle, Harris & Watson? SW & and RH have had stacks of injury problems & both have histories of injuries flaring up during matches, plus SW can only ball short spells & although he picks up wickets here & there & can keep things tight he's not gonna go through a batting order. Although everyone expects this pitch to turn there's usually plenty of bounce & quite possibly an extra bit of pace in it too so it's not going to b like a sub continent dust ball there should be something in it for the seamers if they put the ball in the right place. I think Aus would be better off bringing in Bird for Pattinson & Lyon for Agar. Aus don't have quality spinners, 2 play 2 would be just trying to over compensate for not having 1 good 1, NL is more senior so should be given the responsibility, Aus seam attack is its strength so they should play 3 main seamers here as there will be some assistance.

  • on July 31, 2013, 21:23 GMT

    Australia's main problem in the batting lineup is that they have too many opening batsmen and left handers who cant play off spin bowler. rogers, cowan, hughes, khawaja and warner all lefty prefer playing pace bowling. Watson's best position is also opening batting. I hope someone like Jordan silk, alex doolan and joe burns perform consistently in domestic cricket next season. swann loves rogers, cowan, hughes, khawaja and warner.

  • SirViv1973 on July 31, 2013, 21:12 GMT

    @Milepost, what gives you the impression that if Watson is shuffled down the order to 6 he will be able to bowl more overs?

  • MAYURESHmagic on July 31, 2013, 20:44 GMT

    Australian cricket doomed after exit of Ponting and Hussey. Now it's only upto Clarke, wthout him they are nothing. They should win trophies in future but without dominating tournament as they used to. For ashes, they have no chance. If there is turning pitch then Australia will be doomed against Swann and Panesar.

  • on July 31, 2013, 20:43 GMT

    I don't think it matters at all whether kevin peterson is fit or not. England is way ahead of Aussies and don' t need Oeterson to win Ashes.

  • JG2704 on July 31, 2013, 20:40 GMT

    @Abbas Cheema on (July 31, 2013, 13:27 GMT) Pattinson's gone home injured.

    @Dangerplayer on (July 31, 2013, 13:25 GMT) I'd say Jonny has shown enough this year for Eng to keep him in the side. Also despite him being a WK he's also one of our best outfielders

    @The_Swing_Bowler on (July 31, 2013, 15:46 GMT) You have some good points there. I believe Elgar scored a big daddy double ton for SA in that game and he was woeful when playing in Eng

    @Jono Makim on (July 31, 2013, 19:04 GMT) Looking at the scorecard (and see my above comm re that game) , it seems like it was a pretty flat wicket to bat on. However Warner is one of those guys who could on his day take the game away from you so I guess it's worth a gamble.I'd think about trying a 5/1/5 formation myself. I guess the frustrating thing is that all the batsmen have shown signs of doing things so whoever is dropped will maybe feel harshly treated

  • jlw74 on July 31, 2013, 20:04 GMT

    First of all, @jono makin and @whofriggincares, yes lads could not agree anymore and nicely put. For me Watson has to be dropped now, the novelty of Watson has worn off. If he was going to make it, he would have made it by now. Dave Warner opens with Phil Hughes its as simple as that. There's a reason Rogers had only played 1 test for Australia prior to this series and now we all know why. The Watson, Rogers decision was the selectors first mistake. Hughes and Warner are the two most talented and exciting young batsmen we have and both are natural openers its what they know best. Khawaja is the most correct young batsmen we have. Clarke MUST bat at 4 cause Steve Smith could make a real fist of 5 if given the confidence vote and the skipper just has to bat 4. As for 6 well thats either Cowan or Wade given our squad. Wade gives you explosive shot maker who could put the foot on the throat, Cowan could grind a side. Lyon and Bird come in for Pattinson and Agar.

  • Front-Foot-Lunge on July 31, 2013, 19:37 GMT

    Seven consecutive Test defeats - what a terrible record for Clarke. After he'd already batted away talk that he was in the last six months of his tenure, the Australian selectors need to look elsewhere for a new captain. Lyon must surely be in line for a promotion to become the first opening seam-up bowler and captain since Wasim Akram...

  • on July 31, 2013, 19:04 GMT

    @CricketingStargazer, its not hard to string a few low scores together playing odi cricket, it happens to every player. Its making strings of middling scores, i.e getting to 30 or 40 and not going on that signifies a players deficiencies, just look at Watson and Cowan, at least when Warner gets that far you can start to sit back and enjoy it. When the former get to 30 you can bet the next man is looking for his gloves and helmet and getting a few throw downs! There is no future for Watson or Rogers at the top of the order whereas Davey could make it his own for a very long time.

  • R_U_4_REAL_NICK on July 31, 2013, 19:00 GMT

    Yup - England team as expected, spinning pitch or not. Australian team - Warner and Starc... I doubt it. Bird is a shoe-in, and I can't believe I'm writing this but Hughes should stay instead of Warner. Let's just say it's the lesser of two evils...

    Clarke needs to wise up and stay at 5 where he's best; ignore the detractors that say "he's hiding too much".

  • on July 31, 2013, 18:59 GMT

    @Ravan : Seriously bro Clarke should stay. He has played magnificent cricket for the Aussies and is a great character. He should take the lead from the front and show his class in the third test.

    Cowan has performed better than Khawaja in the last test against sussex putting up back to back half centuries. He should get a second change. Bird could be a good inclusion to their side as rumors say he is a junior version of Mcgrath. Hope Aussies can put up a good fight in the remaining matches.

  • hhillbumper on July 31, 2013, 18:43 GMT

    come on England.Play them hard and destroy this Aussie attack.You can damage them for a few years hence.having said that watch England collapse in a heap because there is nothing they like moire than helping someone when they are down.

  • mvempati18 on July 31, 2013, 18:28 GMT

    I am an Indian fan but hope Australia can give decent run for the money in this test. Few years ago they had so many players to allow for rotation policy and rest main guys. I like to ask Australian fans if interest faded for cricket over the past few years.

  • CricketingStargazer on July 31, 2013, 18:17 GMT

    @Jono Makim He had had two innings in Zimbabwe beforehand. However, you may well be right and the trend now is increasingly for sides not to play any warm-ups at all on many tours. Certainly, his Test record is better than anyone else on the tour other than Michael Clarke.

    However, with his sequence of scores since May of 0, 2, 0, 0, 9, 6, 11 & 193, playing him is a calculated risk that he will carry over the form from this last innings and not that from the previous 7. That is what the selectors get paid to decide.

    Whatever Australia do, it should be positive. England would love them to try the highly defensive ("let's avoid a whitewash at all costs") decision to drop a bowler to add an extra batsman in the hope of squeezing some more runs out of the top order.

  • on July 31, 2013, 17:48 GMT

    @CricketingStargazer, why not? He smashed 193 against a pretty good African attack with next to no preparation. So many people are writing off that knock as being on a flat track, but he did something none of the other Aussies have been doing and thats batting all day. He may not be Hayden but we need him in the team and for mine he should be opening. The fact is he's our best performed opener since the likes of Hayden, Langer, Katich et al disappeared and while its still early days i'm convinced he can cut it.

  • on July 31, 2013, 17:33 GMT

    Jackson bird should play ahead of starc.

  • on July 31, 2013, 17:32 GMT

    nic maddinson has been is superb form for Australia a side. he already scored two centuries playing against English county side. earlier today he scored 88. I hope he can continue this form in shield cricket. he will soon be opening the batting for Australia.

  • 2.14istherunrate on July 31, 2013, 17:15 GMT

    I hope we play totally unpitying cricket at O.T. I do not expect Australia to recover if we can destroy them here.

  • RohanMarkJay on July 31, 2013, 17:13 GMT

    Here's hoping for an improved aussie performance. I am pretty sure this current aussie side is better than what they have shown so far.

  • Reececonrad on July 31, 2013, 16:20 GMT

    Im really hoping that Australia do not get too despondent, they don't have a good enough squad to win this or the next ashes but that doesn't mean they must lie down and do nothing, it means they have to fight for any advantage they can get. Their top order is dangerous, but that being said it is not consistent, this side is in a very big transitional faze and can't be expected to perform miracles, you can't replace Ponting and Hussey who amass almost as many caps as the team that played at Lords. My team for the third test is... S. Watson C. Rodgers U.Khawaja S.Smith M.Clarke (c) D.Warner/ P.Hughes B.Haddin (Wk) (Vc) P.Siddle R.Harris N.Lyon J.Bird Sorry for Starc not really accurate enough at an international level to hold a place in the side. Watson and Co need to chip in with some big runs 80+ scores and it could be an interesting battle if Watson gets it right.

  • on July 31, 2013, 16:20 GMT

    Watson rogers khawaja warner Clarke/Hughes smith haddin agar siddle Harris bird

    Have to stick with agar, if panesar does well here maybe agar will get a bag. The batting squad needs to be bigger and younger for aus return without Clarke and rogers. aus will feel fresh and new without Clarke and even Watson perhaps.

  • fairgame149 on July 31, 2013, 16:18 GMT

    I think Aussies are missing a trick by not playing Bird. For one he has an exceptional record [first class and test] and secondly he is unscarred by the recent defeats aussies have suffered.

  • CricketingStargazer on July 31, 2013, 16:13 GMT

    @The_Swing_Bowler Warner's last innings in England was on June 8th and was extremely brief. Is he going to be acclimatized to English conditions? I have been skeptical of the theory that he can fly in from South Africa and slot straight into the side in a Test with only a few nets to prepare him.

  • gnat9 on July 31, 2013, 15:55 GMT

    It is very unfortunate that they are planning on dropping Agar. He definitely deserves more time on the field. It is also rather weird that it is only Watson's reputation that is keeping him in the side despite his numerous failures. I never knew Australia , of all sides, would be so sentimental in their approach.

  • The_Swing_Bowler on July 31, 2013, 15:46 GMT

    While the general consensus is that Hughes will be dropped for Warner, I feel this is undeserved as he is the highest run-scorer on tour and has the best average. What kind of message is that if he is dropped while 6 other batsmen, none of whom have performed better this tour, get to play instead? Does Warner really deserve to come in based on an Australia A match? Look at the other scores in that match, I don't thin that innings bears a lot of significance. My team: Watson, Hughes, Rogers, Khawaja, Clark, Smith / Warner, Wade, Siddle, Harris, Lyon, Bird Rogers at 3 should give some backup if an early wicket falls. Khawaja could develop better at 4 and move into 3 once settled. Let's just admit that Clark will always stay at 5 and stop putting him into wish-lists at number 4. Neither smith or Warner should bat higher than 6 right now. Wade didn't deserve to be dropped, the bowlers are doing fine anyway, and And Jackson Bird needs to be included - this should be a given.

  • kishorekr on July 31, 2013, 15:46 GMT

    It is futile discussing team strengths and speculating about an Australian resurgence in the 3rd test. Comparisons with the 1936 achievement are misplaced in the extreme. There is no one even very remotely reminiscent of the Don in this the 2013 team. So folks, it's time to write the epitaph for the imminent Australian interment.

  • whatawicket on July 31, 2013, 15:44 GMT

    great to hear its a sellout on all five days, let hope the dray wagons return many times over the test and keep DTs happy and the pie makers of Manchester have to work many night shifts to keep the spectators belly's full. and that Emirates Old Trafford coffers are full to the brim, and of course England win

  • on July 31, 2013, 15:27 GMT

    Just get the basics right lads and hopefully the rest will follow on. If nothing else at least the next few matches may show us who belongs and who doesn't at this level, though such is the dearth of batting that you'd hardly think anyone found out in this series would be gone for good. Just hoping for a few scraps of promise amongst some of the young blokes that as of yet have not done much to prove themselves, if anything at all.

    @John Verdal, Maddinson certainly isn't hurting his chances, I just hope he gets a full shield season in rather than having to jetset around playing rubbish pyjama cricket.

    @whofriggincares, but what of Vodges, Kattich, Pattinsen and Bayley? It beggars belief that they will not be in the line up come friday, surely? Good to see Cummings on the come back trail ;) He should be right to go for the fourth test along with Sawyers and Falad Awam!

  • Andross on July 31, 2013, 15:11 GMT

    I draw to problems with Brettig's logic here, one, I think that Bird is the obvious choice for two reasons, he was the stand out bowler in the tour match, & while Starc didn't do anything wrong in the first match, he didn't really do anything right either. Bird is of the same mould as MacGrath who always did well against the poms, & would bowl well in concert with Harris & Siddle who have taken the majority of the wickets so far. The fact that there will be less marks for swan to bowl into for AUS' many left handers is a bonus. Two, I think that Australia should be very careful about chopping & changing spinners constantly, it hardly lends them confidence. Given Australia are EXTREMELY unlikely to win the remaining 3 matches, I'd rather them start to develop a squad that is going to do well in the return series. Whether the spinner of choice for that is Lyon, or Agar, the selectors need to choose them & stick with them for the rest of this tour & the next.

  • on July 31, 2013, 15:11 GMT

    Why they'd play Starc ahead of Bird is beyond me.

    Why is there a sudden need for "left arm variety"? Australia went in time and again with 3 right arm pace bowlers in the early to mid 2000's and it seemed to work then, so why not give it a go now?

  • Chris_Howard on July 31, 2013, 15:08 GMT

    Rogers said: "Watson has the potential to do more damage to England's bowlers than any other member of the Australian batting line-up"

    LOL! He's bought into the Watson Fantasy too.

    It's just that. It's a fantasy. They look at how Watson performs in T20 and ODIs and think he can do the same in Tests.

    Watson has a rather pedestrian strike rate of 50 in Tests and an average of 34. Not the figures of a batsman who can "damage" a bowling lineup. Even his two centuries weren't what you'd really call damaging any more than any other batsman (the first at a strike rate of 54, the second at 37).

    Clarke has a strike rate of 55, and average of 51; Warner's figures are 69 and 39.

    So there's two guys already who are more damaging Australian batsman than Watson.

    Damaging is just not an adjective to describe Watson the Test batsman.

    I don't think the English bowlers have any reason to fear Watson.

    We've gotta let go of the fantasy. Watson is not a Test batsman.

  • cric_J on July 31, 2013, 14:59 GMT

    Finally after a 10 day off, which felt almost like a decade, we are back to some cricket. It was a cliff hanger at Trent B and a sort of rollover at Lord's so it will be interesting to see how this one pans out.

    England have lost both of their third Ashes tests in the last 2 series. So being an England supporter, I'm all for them being THIRD time lucky.

    The top order batting has been woeful. One of Cook, Trott and KP (if he's fit) must get a big one here. Bell's been brilliant, Jonny's been decent and Taylor should deservedly come in for KP if he's unfit.

    The bowling has been pretty good, Jimmy and Swanny being impressive as ever and Bres fitting in well too. But Broady has been a touch unlucky and I really want him to be rewarded for his fine efforts at Lord's and TB. IMO England should fare an unchanged bowling attack as cloud cover is expected on the first 3 days.But Cook may well get in Monty who has a terrific record at OT.

    Come on England ! Here's to a 3-0 lads , sans rain!

  • Houley on July 31, 2013, 14:52 GMT

    Cowan, Warner, Khawaja,Hughes, Clarke,Smith, Watson, Wade, Siddle, Starc,Harris... About time to play guys where they belong in the order. Watson isn't an opener, Rogers is old enough to have opened with Bradman, and after the Swan dismissal should never play test cricket again.

  • on July 31, 2013, 14:49 GMT

    Australia should pick nic maddinson. he has been the best form batsmen for aiustralia a side in 2013. he has already scored two century, one fifty odd and 88 just earlier today. if he continues this form in shield cricket he will play for Australia in ashes in 5 months time.

  • whofriggincares on July 31, 2013, 14:40 GMT

    Question: What is the best thing about dominating world cricket for a decade and a half? Answer:During that period you don't have to listen to people who don't have a clue listing suggested starting 11's that include A: people that are injured B: people that are either retired or in the twilight of their career and collecting decent money playing in the numerous worthless T/20 tourneys around the globe and C: miss spelt players names that are not even in the frame and probably shouldn't be! Please keep your opinion to yourselves the current selection panel has proven that they can pick an unsuitable side all by themselves.

  • on July 31, 2013, 14:37 GMT

    Have to agree with Ian Chappell. If we play Warner it should be as an opener not in the middle order. Of cause this is a gamble but something new has to be tried. He could get out early but say Aus bats first and Warner gets in we could be say 130 for 1 at lunch. That is putting pressure on the England bowlers. Having him coming in at 6 is just pointless...

  • Heart_of_Oak on July 31, 2013, 14:35 GMT

    I know we won the 1st 2 tests but let's not forget that we were 30 for 3 in both and we struggled to get rid of the Aussie tailenders. So we should not be over confident and thankfully, while alot of media pundits and others are writing the Aussies off, Cook and others are not echoing that cockiness. If there is pace and bounce in the pitch then the Aussie pace bowlers, in particular Siddle, will pose problems for our guys. I'm not at all sure Peterson, if fit, should come in at 4 if we are once again at 30 for 3. In that scenario, you want someone who is more likely to stick around for a bit and allow a recovery. For me that means putting Bell in at 4 and Peterson at 5. I can't see Monty or Tremlett playing in this game. For Monty to play, we'd have to sacrifice a batsman, probably Bairstow, and for Tremlett to play, one of our pace attach would have to have performed very badly. Our batting has been a bit fragile at times. As for the bowling, Finn aside, they've done ok.

  • on July 31, 2013, 14:22 GMT

    Australia should open with Warner

  • milepost on July 31, 2013, 14:11 GMT

    Agar should play, for sure. What has Lyon done to force selection and besides they aren't like for like. Stick with Agar. Warner in for Pattinson to open with Rogers and Watson to 6 so we can get a few more overs from him. If he isn't 100% to fit the alrounder role get someone else. I don't think Australia have selection headaches at all. The team that wins the toss may likely win the match.

  • slow.mo on July 31, 2013, 14:09 GMT

    I think Warner will replace Hughes at no 4 if he gets picked. Thats where he batted in Zim & SA. Management won't have to shuffle the batting order again then. Doesn't it make sense? Australia's batting will be significally weaker with two of their highest scorers missing from this test- Agar & Pattinson.

  • whatawicket on July 31, 2013, 14:08 GMT

    wish folks would read past threads to see who is and whose not available for Australia. we have Pattinson whose on his way back home and may not be available for the Aussie leg of the ashes and a leg spinner whose 5000 miles away. further can he do any better than the spinners currently here on tour. in the last 20 years only 2 spinners have caused us problems in the UK, warne and murlie who also took over 1500 wickets from around the world trouble. so the new Pakistani/Aussie leg spinner lets wait and see, just because he gets wickets in Australia does not prove he can take wickets

  • on July 31, 2013, 14:03 GMT

    For me the Aussie squad would be - Watson, Warner, Rogers, Clarke, Smith, Haddin, Flaunker, Bird, Siddle, Starc, Ryan Harris

  • Neil_England on July 31, 2013, 14:02 GMT

    Abbas Cheema:

    Pattinson is injured and will take no further part in the series

  • ReverseSweepIndia on July 31, 2013, 13:59 GMT

    Hughes should make way for Warner. He is always susceptible to spin. In Ind series he was always consumed by Ash/Sir early. Only time he scored fifty was when Dhoni delayed pressing spinners, because our pop-gunner were bowling a little better than they are used to. Warner, too is not too comfortable against spin, but has more shots in his repertoire and with already a big kick on the backside will be dying to do something to make up for missing tests. Aus had bad teams in the past too, but Autrliasim on the field has served them more often than not. They may not have skills but always had the believe that they can do it. Now is that time here to show again. If not, I reckon, they would have lost that self belief we are likely to see another WI. Go Aussies.

  • colc on July 31, 2013, 13:58 GMT

    I draw your attention to their "A" side's current performance against S.Africa "A". Apart from Clarke, and possibly Siddle, Australia have no-one who'd get into the England side.

  • Big_Maxy_Walker on July 31, 2013, 13:53 GMT

    No Starc for me at all. Watson wont be dropped but I wouldn't pick him. Hughes, Rogers, Khawaja, Clarke, Smith, Warner, Haddin, Siddle, Harris, Lyon, Bird

  • CricketingStargazer on July 31, 2013, 13:49 GMT

    @Abbas Cheema I think that England would be delighted if James Pattinson were to be picked given that he has a stress fracture and would be unable to bowl. One Australian change is forced on them as he must be replaced. Anything else is just modifying the balance of the attack, or the batting.

    The simplest change would by Lyon for Pattinson, but that really does rely on Australia winning the toss and batting first because it would give a spin-heavy attack.

  • on July 31, 2013, 13:46 GMT

    @Abbas Cheema, how are they going to include Pattinson when he's been ruled out of the rest of the series with a stress fracture in his lower back? For me, Bird should be first choice replacement, NOT Starc. Starc gives away too much pressure with at least one loose ball every over. You won't knock over this England team without patience and sticking to proper line and length deliveries with subtle variations. Harris and Bird can do that for you. Siddle provides the grunt work, and Lyon should be getting a chance here. Agar had a fantastic debut, but to me he can take this experience, work on his technique, and then come back better in a few years. I wouldn't be including Warner - I just don't think he's a Test match calibre batsman. But then again.. who is in this Australian squad? It's so painful to watch them at the moment. No wonder Clarke's back is so dodgy, he's carrying everybody on his shoulders, and it's really starting to show this series!

  • CapitalMarkets on July 31, 2013, 13:43 GMT

    I think England's side more or less selects itself and that Taylor's time will surely come and so, eventually, will Ben Stokes. For Australia, I would pick Jackson Bird over Mitchell Starc but that is because I am biased towards accuracy over pace, although Bird isn't slow. I think that both sides have a potential vacancy for a hostile, quick and slightly snarly fast bowler but I would always rate McGrath over Harmison when they were both at their best a few years ago.

    I wasn't saying that Agar should be selected for this test, but that he may have a future as an opener because his technique is good, he seems to have plenty of time to play the fast bowlers, because the Australians have an obvious dearth of good opening batsmen, because his bowling looks quite ordinary in comparison to his batting and he still holds Australia's highest individual score for an individual innings after two test matches. When did a number 11 last do that?

  • on July 31, 2013, 13:32 GMT

    eng;cook,root,trott,kp,bell,prior,bresnan,broad,swann,andreson,panesar...bairstow is jst as gud as bresnan with the bat so england shud include monty for bairstow rather than bresnan

  • on July 31, 2013, 13:28 GMT

    If they are not using him here then waiting until the 4th test is a waste of time unless they blood him for our summer. I would rather work on getting Agar to Test match quality under Shane Warne at this stage....

  • on July 31, 2013, 13:27 GMT

    on a slow nd dry pitch,reverse swing will be a factor so australia shud include james pattinson..their line-up shud read;shane watson,chris rogers,usman khawaja,david warner,michael clarke,steve smith,brad haddin,peter siddle,james pattinson,ryan harris,nathan lyon

  • Dangerplayer on July 31, 2013, 13:27 GMT

    @Mubarak Zeb Fawad Ahmed is currently playing against South Africa A

  • Dangerplayer on July 31, 2013, 13:25 GMT

    My probable England(probable) 1 Alastair Cook (capt), 2 Joe Root, 3 Jonathan Trott, 4 Kevin Pietersen, 5 Ian Bell, 6James Taylor, 7 Matt Prior (wk), 8. Tim bresnan, 9 Stuart Broad, 10 Graeme Swann, 11 James Anderson

    Taylor must be given the chance in place of bairstow whats the sense of playing 2 wkt keeper batsman in the team , watching his current form taylor is best for no. 6 Australia(probable) 1 Shane Watson, 2 Chris Rogers, 3 Usman Khawaja, 4 Michael Clarke (capt), 5 Philip huges, 6 David Warner, 7 Brad Haddin (wk), 8 Peter Siddle, 9 Jackson Bird, 10 Ryan Harris, 11 Nathan Lyon.

    Jackson bird and Warner should be in playing Xi in place of Pattinson and Smith, as we know Warner can bowl a typical leg spin, whenever needed

  • CapitalMarkets on July 31, 2013, 13:20 GMT

    Yes, the series is still alive but only just. One has to smile at those Australian players who have said they can still win the series not just because they don't have Bradman and O'Reilly but because of the number of days lost to the weather at Old Trafford. Personally I think the Australians should be selecting for their home series and that means CA actively redressing the balance between the rewards available for T20 entertainers in comparison with the sportsmen who are playing test match cricket. The signs are that they are becoming aware of the need to reorganise but for now they have lost the opprotunity to reincentivise the longer forms of the game.

    As for players, the openers are the main concern for me as they are selecting a bit part all-rounder with a flawed technique and a promoted journeyman who are both (for different reasons) nearing the end of their test match careers. Warner can now impress and, if Watson once morphed into an opener, I think Agar should try to do so.

  • on July 31, 2013, 13:13 GMT

    I think Aus should give a chance to Fawad Ahmad (The Leg Spinner) because England's batsmen have always struggled against leg spinners.

  • on July 31, 2013, 13:13 GMT

    I think Aus should give a chance to Fawad Ahmad (The Leg Spinner) because England's batsmen have always struggled against leg spinners.

  • CapitalMarkets on July 31, 2013, 13:20 GMT

    Yes, the series is still alive but only just. One has to smile at those Australian players who have said they can still win the series not just because they don't have Bradman and O'Reilly but because of the number of days lost to the weather at Old Trafford. Personally I think the Australians should be selecting for their home series and that means CA actively redressing the balance between the rewards available for T20 entertainers in comparison with the sportsmen who are playing test match cricket. The signs are that they are becoming aware of the need to reorganise but for now they have lost the opprotunity to reincentivise the longer forms of the game.

    As for players, the openers are the main concern for me as they are selecting a bit part all-rounder with a flawed technique and a promoted journeyman who are both (for different reasons) nearing the end of their test match careers. Warner can now impress and, if Watson once morphed into an opener, I think Agar should try to do so.

  • Dangerplayer on July 31, 2013, 13:25 GMT

    My probable England(probable) 1 Alastair Cook (capt), 2 Joe Root, 3 Jonathan Trott, 4 Kevin Pietersen, 5 Ian Bell, 6James Taylor, 7 Matt Prior (wk), 8. Tim bresnan, 9 Stuart Broad, 10 Graeme Swann, 11 James Anderson

    Taylor must be given the chance in place of bairstow whats the sense of playing 2 wkt keeper batsman in the team , watching his current form taylor is best for no. 6 Australia(probable) 1 Shane Watson, 2 Chris Rogers, 3 Usman Khawaja, 4 Michael Clarke (capt), 5 Philip huges, 6 David Warner, 7 Brad Haddin (wk), 8 Peter Siddle, 9 Jackson Bird, 10 Ryan Harris, 11 Nathan Lyon.

    Jackson bird and Warner should be in playing Xi in place of Pattinson and Smith, as we know Warner can bowl a typical leg spin, whenever needed

  • Dangerplayer on July 31, 2013, 13:27 GMT

    @Mubarak Zeb Fawad Ahmed is currently playing against South Africa A

  • on July 31, 2013, 13:27 GMT

    on a slow nd dry pitch,reverse swing will be a factor so australia shud include james pattinson..their line-up shud read;shane watson,chris rogers,usman khawaja,david warner,michael clarke,steve smith,brad haddin,peter siddle,james pattinson,ryan harris,nathan lyon

  • on July 31, 2013, 13:28 GMT

    If they are not using him here then waiting until the 4th test is a waste of time unless they blood him for our summer. I would rather work on getting Agar to Test match quality under Shane Warne at this stage....

  • on July 31, 2013, 13:32 GMT

    eng;cook,root,trott,kp,bell,prior,bresnan,broad,swann,andreson,panesar...bairstow is jst as gud as bresnan with the bat so england shud include monty for bairstow rather than bresnan

  • CapitalMarkets on July 31, 2013, 13:43 GMT

    I think England's side more or less selects itself and that Taylor's time will surely come and so, eventually, will Ben Stokes. For Australia, I would pick Jackson Bird over Mitchell Starc but that is because I am biased towards accuracy over pace, although Bird isn't slow. I think that both sides have a potential vacancy for a hostile, quick and slightly snarly fast bowler but I would always rate McGrath over Harmison when they were both at their best a few years ago.

    I wasn't saying that Agar should be selected for this test, but that he may have a future as an opener because his technique is good, he seems to have plenty of time to play the fast bowlers, because the Australians have an obvious dearth of good opening batsmen, because his bowling looks quite ordinary in comparison to his batting and he still holds Australia's highest individual score for an individual innings after two test matches. When did a number 11 last do that?

  • on July 31, 2013, 13:46 GMT

    @Abbas Cheema, how are they going to include Pattinson when he's been ruled out of the rest of the series with a stress fracture in his lower back? For me, Bird should be first choice replacement, NOT Starc. Starc gives away too much pressure with at least one loose ball every over. You won't knock over this England team without patience and sticking to proper line and length deliveries with subtle variations. Harris and Bird can do that for you. Siddle provides the grunt work, and Lyon should be getting a chance here. Agar had a fantastic debut, but to me he can take this experience, work on his technique, and then come back better in a few years. I wouldn't be including Warner - I just don't think he's a Test match calibre batsman. But then again.. who is in this Australian squad? It's so painful to watch them at the moment. No wonder Clarke's back is so dodgy, he's carrying everybody on his shoulders, and it's really starting to show this series!

  • CricketingStargazer on July 31, 2013, 13:49 GMT

    @Abbas Cheema I think that England would be delighted if James Pattinson were to be picked given that he has a stress fracture and would be unable to bowl. One Australian change is forced on them as he must be replaced. Anything else is just modifying the balance of the attack, or the batting.

    The simplest change would by Lyon for Pattinson, but that really does rely on Australia winning the toss and batting first because it would give a spin-heavy attack.