England v Australia, 4th Investec Test, Chester-le-Street August 8, 2013

Australia restored or England refreshed?

90

Match facts

August 9-13, Chester-le-Street
Start time 1100 (1000 GMT)

Big Picture

At Old Trafford England remained unbeaten for the 11th consecutive Test, while Australia failed to win for the seventh match in a row. The result also ensured the Ashes would remain in English possession, yet the evidence of the eyes tended to conflict with that conveyed by the scoreboard and the record book. Australia appeared to have turned a significant corner, putting near enough to five days of staunch cricket together for the first time in recent memory, and England looked more than a little exhausted by their earlier efforts in the series. At the same time their batsmen showed increasing signs of frailty in the face of the tourists' admirable pace attack, a reliance on Ian Bell and Kevin Pietersen to extricate the top three from bother growing more apparent with each match.

So with the series moving to a venue less familiar to both sides, though the pitch is again straw-coloured, the question is how much the trends of Manchester will have an impact on proceedings at Durham. England were by far the better of the two sides in coping with the quick onset of another match so soon after the Nottingham epic, and this time also have the added relief of not having to worry about retaining the urn anymore. They should thus be capable of playing with a little more freedom of expression, not least the young opener Joe Root, who looked near enough to paralysed during two soporific innings in Lancashire. The unrelenting seam-up stylings of Graham Onions appear a likely reinforcement for the hosts' bowling attack, which lacked a certain pep last week.

For Australia, the gains of the third Test will mean little if they are not followed up with a pair of equally compelling displays in the final two matches. Given how inconsistent the side has been throughout Michael Clarke's captaincy, bottoming out with a horrid display in India, the habits of successful teams need to be re-established with a strong sequence of performances. The team's belief in their bowling attack is considerable, but the batsmen now need to show that they can maintain the standards set by Clarke, Chris Rogers, Steven Smith and Brad Haddin. It cannot be forgotten that the next campaign for the Ashes is but three months away.

Form guide

England: DWWWW
Australia: DLLLL

Players to watch

Jonathan Trott has been on something of a charm offensive this summer, appearing in plenty of interviews and doing his best to sound like the world's most fascinating individual. However somewhere along the way his ability to bat boring seems to have been lost. Near enough to impassable during the previous Ashes series in Australia, he failed to capitalise on some free-scoring form at Trent Bridge, albeit partly due to an incorrectly given lbw decision in the second innings. From there his form has ebbed away, and at Old Trafford he looked lost, stumbling across his stumps in the manner of sundry English batsmen in 1989. Within the team, Trott is admired for his consistency and even temper. Perhaps he needs to remember that being dull is an asset, not a weakness.

Plenty of observers were surprised by the vim with which Chris Rogers batted in Manchester, but not those who had seen him play precisely those kinds of innings for Middlesex and Victoria. No fussiness, but plenty of feistiness, as a succession perfectly reasonable deliveries were cuffed to the boundary. The ability to play with aggression and decisiveness at a point of the game where others may be nervous or unsure is one of Rogers' great attributes, but another is the fashioning of hundreds. So far, despite serviceable contribution to the series, he has fallen short of that goal. Nonetheless, Rogers is Australia's best hope of finding someone other than Clarke to push on to the kind of score an innings may be built around.

Team news

Graham Onions and Chris Tremlett are both in the England squad, and it appears most likely that the former will shuffle into the XI, perhaps at the expense of Tim Bresnan. There will be some temptation to withdraw one of Stuart Broad or James Anderson from the firing line after their efforts so far in the series.

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/Graham Onions, 9 Stuart Broad, 10 Graeme Swann, 11 James Anderson

Having tried no end of permutations since Michael Hussey's retirement, Australia appeared to settle on a batting order they may keep from the second innings in Manchester. David Warner looked comfortable at the top with Rogers, while Shane Watson's bowling may again lead to his demotion. One of Ryan Harris or Mitchell Starc will most likely make way for the fresher Jackson Bird.

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

Pitch and conditions

The surface unveiled for the fourth Test maintains a pattern of dry, hard pitches prepared more or less to the specifications of the England coach Andy Flower. The forecast for Durham is for the occasional shower amid periods of friendly, if cloudy, weather.

Stats and trivia

  • This is the first Ashes Test to be played in Durham, making it the ninth ground to host a Test between England and Australia in the UK
  • The last Ashes series to be drawn 2-2 took place in England in 1972
  • Michael Clarke needs 103 runs to pass Justin Langer and move into sixth place on Australia's list of all-time run-makers

Quotes

"We want to win the Ashes and we haven't yet done it. Along the way we retained them pretty quickly so that is a great achievement and something to be mighty proud of. We want to go on and win the series. The way the lads are, the way we are as a team and the way Andy Flower operates, there will be no let up of the standards we set ourselves."
Alastair Cook wants to win the series.

"I don't think anyone is here to 'give them a go'. That's not in any Test cricket and certainly not an Ashes series, especially the position we're sitting in now. It's about picking your best 11 players."
Michael Clarke rejects notions that the teams will be selected a little more elastically now the Ashes have been decided.

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

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Liquefierrrr on August 9, 2013, 0:49 GMT

    It'll be interesting to see what England does here. Onions was absolutely amazing last season in domestic FC, Tremlett has performed well against Australia in the past, and now they have the urn locked up nicely I wonder if they'll experiment?

    I, as an avid Aussie supporter, wouldn't see that as arrogance. Lord knows we rested Harris for the 2nd test whilst being considerably iller in health than the English camp. England depend upon Anderson so heavily that, were he to play this test and sustain injury, it would be counter-productive to their longer-term plans/cause.

    Onions and Tremlett are good bowlers in their own rights. Be interesting to see how England fare without their #1 lad Jimmy.

    That said, he'll probably play and rip down 11 wickets and look fitter than ever, such is his naggingly evergreen way.

    Would like to see Kerrigan get a go too, have been following his progress for a couple of seasons now. And obviously Panesar has, literally, washed his chances down the drain.

  • jmcilhinney on August 8, 2013, 13:40 GMT

    This is going to be a very interesting Test match. England have been the more consistent of the two teams but have certainly not played to their potential, while Australia have been more inconsistent but reached greater heights in game 3 than England have managed all series. Have Australia turned a corner or will that game be a flash in the pan? Will England really show up or continue to coast? It was unlikely that Clarke was going to go the whole series without making a big score but you'd think the same of Cook as well. Trott looks out of sorts so here's hoping that he can come good too. England have bowled relatively well but the Australian seamers have undoubtedly been better. Will that continue? Will we get five days play?

  • on August 10, 2013, 3:12 GMT

    The pitch is dry, hard prepared more or less to the specifications of the England coach Andy Flower.I think watson no 4 is the best choice for him,warner as a opener is the ideal one.bowling attack is considerable, but the batsmen has to prove , especially top 6. i think they will win the test and next test also, the ashes will be a draw.

  • Harmony111 on August 9, 2013, 12:30 GMT

    I guess what BigBoodha is saying is that from the Aus PoV, they would feel rain robbed them of winning the 3rd test + they lost the 1st test by a very small margin and even that total was achieved cos Broad got lucky. Before anyone mentions Agar's so called stumping that was not given, you don't compare a half-out case with a definitely-out case. So Aus would be feeling the score could have been 1-1 in the current series but due to critical things not going in their favour the score line reads 0-2.

    I don't agree when he says that Aus were unlucky not to win vs SA cos it was SA who were unlucky all through the first two tests losing players when in play. But another relevant example is when Aus lost a test vs India by one wicket when VVS batted with the tail to help India chase.

    Talking of Eng's inability to chase 145 vs Pak in UAE is laughable. How is that unlucky? The word for that would be 'submission' and not bad luck.

  • cccrider on August 9, 2013, 9:58 GMT

    Whoever keeps boosting Starc should come back and spin for one of the political parties.

  • R_U_4_REAL_NICK on August 9, 2013, 9:53 GMT

    Well resting Anderson was an unlikely stab in the dark I'll admit, but I think leaving Onions out here is disappointing and somewhat annoying. Bresnan's done nothing wrong and I like him, but horses for courses and Onions is the man for here.

    Looking forward to seeing how Bird performs (at long last!); Watson, Warner and Lyon under the spotlights...

  • SirViv1973 on August 9, 2013, 9:53 GMT

    A bit surprised there's no place for Starc, particularly given that for the first time in the series Aus tail now looks quite long so extra responsibility for the top 7. Also suprised Eng have not chosen to freshen up the bowling. The situation seemed tailor made for Onions to come in, having been ignored again you have to wonder if he has maybe played his last test match. Having won the the toss it is crucial that the top order are finally able to give us a good start. The steady appraoch of taking the shine off the new ball & scoring at a strike rate of 35-40 worked in Ind because we wern't loosing too many wickets up top & Ind new ball bowlers were not as effective as Aus. It hasn't worked so far here as we have been loosing wickets from the off in every inns. Sooner or later if we keep finding ouselves at 30 -3 we are going to get punished. It probably would have happened at OT if not for the rain, perhaps a more positive approach from the top order is needed now.

  • on August 9, 2013, 9:50 GMT

    saw the australian line-up for the 4th test. not a great decision by clarke to play Bird instead of Starc. Even Cook should have rested Broad/Anderson and played Onions/Tremlett.

  • lankymanky on August 9, 2013, 9:47 GMT

    anyone know the odds that England will be 30/3 ??? Seams a regular occurrence.

  • Mitty2 on August 9, 2013, 9:44 GMT

    @R_U_4_REAL_NICK, I did notice it, and I thought it was pretty funny to be honest haha, you've stripped me of my chance to rip into someone behind a computer screen!

    @Jon Spragg, are you serious? England had the exact same conditions in their first innings and simply weren't as good as our batters and our bowlers simply bowled better than England's. Sometimes I wonder if the people commentating even watch the matches...

  • Liquefierrrr on August 9, 2013, 0:49 GMT

    It'll be interesting to see what England does here. Onions was absolutely amazing last season in domestic FC, Tremlett has performed well against Australia in the past, and now they have the urn locked up nicely I wonder if they'll experiment?

    I, as an avid Aussie supporter, wouldn't see that as arrogance. Lord knows we rested Harris for the 2nd test whilst being considerably iller in health than the English camp. England depend upon Anderson so heavily that, were he to play this test and sustain injury, it would be counter-productive to their longer-term plans/cause.

    Onions and Tremlett are good bowlers in their own rights. Be interesting to see how England fare without their #1 lad Jimmy.

    That said, he'll probably play and rip down 11 wickets and look fitter than ever, such is his naggingly evergreen way.

    Would like to see Kerrigan get a go too, have been following his progress for a couple of seasons now. And obviously Panesar has, literally, washed his chances down the drain.

  • jmcilhinney on August 8, 2013, 13:40 GMT

    This is going to be a very interesting Test match. England have been the more consistent of the two teams but have certainly not played to their potential, while Australia have been more inconsistent but reached greater heights in game 3 than England have managed all series. Have Australia turned a corner or will that game be a flash in the pan? Will England really show up or continue to coast? It was unlikely that Clarke was going to go the whole series without making a big score but you'd think the same of Cook as well. Trott looks out of sorts so here's hoping that he can come good too. England have bowled relatively well but the Australian seamers have undoubtedly been better. Will that continue? Will we get five days play?

  • on August 10, 2013, 3:12 GMT

    The pitch is dry, hard prepared more or less to the specifications of the England coach Andy Flower.I think watson no 4 is the best choice for him,warner as a opener is the ideal one.bowling attack is considerable, but the batsmen has to prove , especially top 6. i think they will win the test and next test also, the ashes will be a draw.

  • Harmony111 on August 9, 2013, 12:30 GMT

    I guess what BigBoodha is saying is that from the Aus PoV, they would feel rain robbed them of winning the 3rd test + they lost the 1st test by a very small margin and even that total was achieved cos Broad got lucky. Before anyone mentions Agar's so called stumping that was not given, you don't compare a half-out case with a definitely-out case. So Aus would be feeling the score could have been 1-1 in the current series but due to critical things not going in their favour the score line reads 0-2.

    I don't agree when he says that Aus were unlucky not to win vs SA cos it was SA who were unlucky all through the first two tests losing players when in play. But another relevant example is when Aus lost a test vs India by one wicket when VVS batted with the tail to help India chase.

    Talking of Eng's inability to chase 145 vs Pak in UAE is laughable. How is that unlucky? The word for that would be 'submission' and not bad luck.

  • cccrider on August 9, 2013, 9:58 GMT

    Whoever keeps boosting Starc should come back and spin for one of the political parties.

  • R_U_4_REAL_NICK on August 9, 2013, 9:53 GMT

    Well resting Anderson was an unlikely stab in the dark I'll admit, but I think leaving Onions out here is disappointing and somewhat annoying. Bresnan's done nothing wrong and I like him, but horses for courses and Onions is the man for here.

    Looking forward to seeing how Bird performs (at long last!); Watson, Warner and Lyon under the spotlights...

  • SirViv1973 on August 9, 2013, 9:53 GMT

    A bit surprised there's no place for Starc, particularly given that for the first time in the series Aus tail now looks quite long so extra responsibility for the top 7. Also suprised Eng have not chosen to freshen up the bowling. The situation seemed tailor made for Onions to come in, having been ignored again you have to wonder if he has maybe played his last test match. Having won the the toss it is crucial that the top order are finally able to give us a good start. The steady appraoch of taking the shine off the new ball & scoring at a strike rate of 35-40 worked in Ind because we wern't loosing too many wickets up top & Ind new ball bowlers were not as effective as Aus. It hasn't worked so far here as we have been loosing wickets from the off in every inns. Sooner or later if we keep finding ouselves at 30 -3 we are going to get punished. It probably would have happened at OT if not for the rain, perhaps a more positive approach from the top order is needed now.

  • on August 9, 2013, 9:50 GMT

    saw the australian line-up for the 4th test. not a great decision by clarke to play Bird instead of Starc. Even Cook should have rested Broad/Anderson and played Onions/Tremlett.

  • lankymanky on August 9, 2013, 9:47 GMT

    anyone know the odds that England will be 30/3 ??? Seams a regular occurrence.

  • Mitty2 on August 9, 2013, 9:44 GMT

    @R_U_4_REAL_NICK, I did notice it, and I thought it was pretty funny to be honest haha, you've stripped me of my chance to rip into someone behind a computer screen!

    @Jon Spragg, are you serious? England had the exact same conditions in their first innings and simply weren't as good as our batters and our bowlers simply bowled better than England's. Sometimes I wonder if the people commentating even watch the matches...

  • R_U_4_REAL_NICK on August 9, 2013, 9:44 GMT

    @Vinay Kolhatkar (post on August 9, 2013, 8:26 GMT): "Broad's results do not justify his inclusion ahead of Onions, Tremlett, Kerrigan, or Monty." Why do you say so? Are you just looking at the scorecards and assuming he's had bad games? If you'd actually watched/listened to the games, Broad's done nothing wrong and bowled beautifully; he's just not had the luck, with edges falling short or flicking unintentionally into safety. Anderson and Bresnan have been brilliant but the idea floating around is that they COULD be rested as those other bowlers you've mentioned COULD do the business instead.

  • cccrider on August 9, 2013, 9:40 GMT

    I can't believe anyone rates Starc - spraying them, wasting balls, relieving pressure. He is plainly awful. Bird has everything to do well. However, Clarke loses toss, behind the 8-ball.

  • 122notoutWestByfleet1996 on August 9, 2013, 9:17 GMT

    Lol. Aussie finally have a decent match, England have a game where they are not quite on top of their game and all of a sudden Australia are world beaters and are likely to win the next 2 tests. One game does not a good side make.

  • suvas24 on August 9, 2013, 9:14 GMT

    Aus team : Rogers, Warner, Wade, Clarke, Watson, Smith, Haddin, Faulkner, Siddle, Harris, Bird. This could be the best playing XI and the best batting order Aussie can manage from their current squad. No worthless spinner and only two lefties in the team. Doesn't it sound logical?

  • milepost on August 9, 2013, 9:03 GMT

    Australia to roll England here. It was a propesterous thought at the beginning of the series but the Aussie bowlers have the Englsh batsman under the cosh and our batsman are among the runs now. It would be nice to keep Swann quiet but he's the real outstanding difference between the teams though Clarke's captaincy at least tactically is better than Cook's who is still learning. I hope it isn't another match marred by controversial decisions. Theses teams are close and as another poster commented recently, England are not a bunch of supermen about to bust through brick walls and find some new realms of magical skill.

  • Tongariro on August 9, 2013, 9:01 GMT

    I hope that Warner opens the batting, it's his right place in the team. The only problem with Warner is what is lacking between his ears... other than that he is an opener.

  • TheBigBoodha on August 9, 2013, 8:51 GMT

    @-Australian_, it isn't that difficult to comprehend. Australia were one Drs review away from beating SA, and were clearly the better team all up. SA only played one decent game. England have been better in this series, but Australia could easily have won two if the tests. If that had happened it would be similar to SA beating AUS after being the second best team for all but the last three days of the series - a victory that didn't tell the truth of the series. Got it now? The point is that there is often a tiny difference between success and failure, and just because you play better and "deserve" to win doesn't guarantee that you will.

  • R_U_4_REAL_NICK on August 9, 2013, 8:38 GMT

    @liam_espoo (post on August 9, 2013, 8:09 GMT): Yes but had Root been out at Lords when in single figures, as others have said "the calls for Compton to be brought back and Root to be shifted back down the order would be rumbling on!" - myself included I must admit. I was very uncomfortable with young Root being asked to open and preferred him down in the middle where he was doing fine; but aside from that moment when he was in single figures, the rest of that magnificent knock at Lords was flawless and fluent in tricky conditions against a decent bowling attack - so I'm saying naught for now and we'll see what happens in the remaining games.

  • dunger.bob on August 9, 2013, 8:37 GMT

    @ funkybluesman: I'm a bit of a Starc fan as well. The lad is a damn good player and at his age he's got it all before him. .. If Harris is rested then Starc will play. .. If Harris plays then it's between Mitch & Jack. .. I would hate to make the call but if someone put a gun to my head and said choose one, I would go for Bird simply on the grounds of giving him a go. .. Which is exactly what Clarke said he wouldn't do. .. so, it all depends on Harris is my reading of it.

  • on August 9, 2013, 8:26 GMT

    This is a crazy statement --- "There will be some temptation to withdraw one of Stuart Broad or James Anderson from the firing line after their efforts so far in the series." Huh? If you mean rested, please say so. Andersen has been brilliant. Broad's results do not justify his inclusion ahead of Onions, Tremlett, Kerrigan, or Monty.

  • hb1970 on August 9, 2013, 8:23 GMT

    @heathrf1974 - why should Khawaja be replaced by Hughes if he doesn't get runs this test? He should be given as many chances as Hughes has been given over the years. Give him an extended run and he will come good.

  • Murnau on August 9, 2013, 8:15 GMT

    Just as the talk of English supremacy was overstated after Lord's, I think the superiority of the Australian pace bowlers has been exaggerated after Old Trafford. The press like to inflate the significance of the last thing that happened. Harris may be the best fast bowler on either side, but the rest are quite equivalent, and England's spinner makes up for the slight advantage Harris may give the tourists.

    Don't be surprised if the English seamers look a lot better under cloud.

  • R_U_4_REAL_NICK on August 9, 2013, 8:12 GMT

    @Mitty2: I posted on another thread but you may not have seen it: when I say the likes of Hughes are "short-format-specialists", that's my absurd way of saying I don't think they have the right temperament/technique for test cricket. Of course I'm not ignorant of the fact it's only a matter of time before Warner/Hughes fire in a test in Sehwag-fashion; but the balance of the team must allow for players like that, and Aus. do not have it [yet!]. You must be disappointed I didn't write "Clint McKay" in my response to Jono Makim ;-)

    @RJHB: who exactly are you talking about? I don't see any smugness at all! In my case I am just as peeved that the likes of Morgan are considered for test cricket, when in reality he should only be allowed in T20's (+ maybe ODI's).

  • _Australian_ on August 9, 2013, 8:09 GMT

    @5Wombats. I am glad you can make sense of what TheBigBoodha is on about because I for the life of me barely understood any of it.

  • Murnau on August 9, 2013, 8:09 GMT

    Durham are financially dependent on this game lasting five days. And the crowd drinking a lot of beer. They will have done everything in their power to make sure this pitch lasts five days. They'll have been pouring Acme pitch killer all over it for weeks.

    But the overheads might make all that in vain.

  • liam_espoo on August 9, 2013, 8:09 GMT

    Not sure I understand the relevance of "Root's Soporific Innings". Agree poor 1st Innings, but he seemed to be the only one that undersood that there was no reason to score in the 2nd Innings and so was the only one of the leading batsmen ( inc Pietersen) not to get out when soporify was the order of that day. Same goes with claims about misfiring top 3 putting pressure on Belly/ KP. A quick lok at the averages show Root only behind Bell and in front of KP...

  • sidgregory on August 9, 2013, 8:05 GMT

    I hope Australia play four fast bowlers and use smith as occasional spin. Give Bird a start with Harris, Siddle and Starc and I think we are stronger. It's no use playing a spinner just for the sake of it and let's all face people Lyon and Agar don't look like taking a wicket.

  • JG2704 on August 9, 2013, 7:55 GMT

    @TheBigBoodha on (August 9, 2013, 4:05 GMT) Yeah , I understand where your coming from but we don't always scrape draws and wins when on top. In UAE there were certainly periods where we were on top in 2 of the tests and we lost 1 of them when chasing 150. There were even periods of being on top vs SA in 2 of the tests - one which we drew and 1 we lost , so it doesn't always go Eng's way

    @PrasPunter on (August 9, 2013, 5:58 GMT) Also something to do with the fact that we've had a drier mid summer than usual

  • milepost on August 9, 2013, 7:54 GMT

    Hey 5Wombats didn't we have a bet on Trent Bridge!? Seriously though, I agree, results matter and the really good sides find ways of winning, even when the going is tough. It's test match cricket. Australia to do well here. I hope for some compelling viewing after all these other dramas.

  • on August 9, 2013, 7:26 GMT

    The weather report has it as cloudy for today at least. Well folks, looks like England won't take the field again.

  • gamespiritfirst on August 9, 2013, 7:16 GMT

    fresher jackson bird...... sounds like we are talking about fruits and vegetables. if a player loves the game, the more he plays the fresher he is

  • on August 9, 2013, 7:10 GMT

    Australia to bat, the pitch doing just a little bit, a touch of swing and it's 8-47 for Jimmy. Australia broken before tea and Australian fans asking for mustard to go with their slouch hats. 24 hours later Australia finally break the Cook and Trott partnership at 340-1 by which point Clarke has bowled Harris into the ground. Then the mayhem really starts with Pietersen, Bell, Bairstow and Prior scoring at more than seven an over. Australia last until just after tea on the fourth day losing by an innings and 512 and Australian fans look forward to what Bangladesh and Zimbabwe may have in store for them. Hehe!

  • Lmaotsetung on August 9, 2013, 6:59 GMT

    Normal ashes service will resume soon and talk of Aus lost generation will again command the headline after another trashing by England while the naysayers will again say how this overated England team is lucky to win and all is well in the wide world of cricinfo!

  • PrasPunter on August 9, 2013, 5:58 GMT

    @meursault, it's very simple - the english are just trying to prepare wickets to suit their bowlers - something india is very fond of doing. I thought this is what one would call as "Doctoring" the wickets.

  • 5wombats on August 9, 2013, 5:58 GMT

    @TheBigBoodha (August 9, 2013, 4:05 GMT) So you say; "England scraping draws and wins in series, even when outplayed". Eh? Wow @TheBigBoodha - England scraping those 3 Innings victories in Australia last time - even when England were outplayed in that series - struth - lucky England just managing to scrape home there 3-1, phew that was a close one.... And England beating India 4-0 as well, jeez that was nip and tuck - a real heart-stopper. England outplayed in India too? Do you really think so? You say all talk is irrelevent - I agree - it's results that count.

  • meursault on August 9, 2013, 4:41 GMT

    Why are all the pitches so dry? It barely gets above 25 degrees in the North-East and doesn't look like it has hardly rained for a few months. It seems this one will also be slow (at least Old Trafford had some bounce and speed in it). Why are they trying so hard to ruin the spectacle of an Ashes series?

  • funkybluesman on August 9, 2013, 4:09 GMT

    Really tough on Mitchell Starc if he gets dropped for "the fresher" Jackson Bird.

    Everyone wants to see more consistency from Mitchell Starc, but you don't get more consistency from a bowler by dropping them from every second match. If there is no evidence of his body struggling with injuries after the last test then he should play here.

    Not fun for a fast bowler playing on a tough pitch, then rested for the next test on a better fast bowlers pitch, then playing the next match on a tough pitch, then rested for the next match on more of a fast bowlers pitch again.

    If you want to ensure a fast bowler never reaches his potential that seems a pretty good way of going about it!

  • TheBigBoodha on August 9, 2013, 4:05 GMT

    The last game is gone and all talk is irrelevant. The Australian team has repeatedly failed to win games and even series it has dominated for the past 5 years. England has done the opposite, scaping draws and wins in games and series, even when outplayed. Australia needs to turn some of these close games and dominant performances into victories. I think Australia has played equally as well in this series as SA did in the recent series in Australia. i.e. they have been clearly second best, but had chances to win. That SA won their series 1-0 while Australia are losing 2-0 with similar performances tells you that it doesn't take much to shift results.

  • MinusZero on August 9, 2013, 3:52 GMT

    What does it take for Watson to be dropped? Does he sweat beer or something?

  • _Australian_ on August 9, 2013, 3:04 GMT

    I would happily bet that Watson will get runs now. He seems to always score runs in the less critical matches. I do hope Australia have turned a corner after the last test, but in reality they still have a long long way to go to be a threat.

  • dunger.bob on August 9, 2013, 2:58 GMT

    A dry pitch square and cloudy weather sound like a recipe for swing. . I wonder if England will rest Anderson in those conditions. Not bloody likely is my first thought.

    No mention of Siddle's fitness anywhere I've seen. He's bowled as many overs as anyone at a guess, so he is either totally fit atm or they're hiding it for some reason. I think he is the most important to the us of all our bowlers. Before the first Test I was saying they should swap Sid's for Bird. I couldn't be happier that Sids has tipped egg all over my face.

    All I want from the Aussies is for them to show that the 3rd Test was no fluke and that they can actually play a bit. Maybe even well enough to be considered a worthy opponent. As per usual though, it all depends on our batting giving the bowlers a half decent score to defend. .. c'mon boys, bat tough. Please.

  • heathrf1974 on August 9, 2013, 2:56 GMT

    Would like to see Bird in for Starc. If Khawaja doesn't get runs this test he should be replaced by Hughes who has been unluckily left out. Watson needs to stay as he offers that valuable fifth bowling option that gives the other quicks a rest. Lyon needs to lift also. He was disappointing last test and needs more variety.

  • on August 9, 2013, 2:13 GMT

    Seems to me that Australia feasted on a pudding flat wicket in the last test, and then like England struggled to do anything as the pitch and time wore on. I'm suggesting that if England get to bat on a flat wicket with no seam, bounce, turn, and swing in the air then 500+ would be nothing more than a par score. Time will tell how good or disillusioned these Australian's are, I believe the former. Wheels are about to come off.

  • Nampally on August 9, 2013, 1:45 GMT

    Australians were unlucky not to win the Manchester test- England saved by the weather. Even the Nottingham Test resulted in England winning narrowly by 14 runs. So the Test match in Durham will be a real test for the Aussies to pull off a win - if they perform as well as they did in the M/C Test. I expect the Australian team to remain unchanged barring injuries. If the Durham pitch is also brown instead of green, it may behave just as well as the M/C pitch- Full of runs & sporting pitch. I expect a keen contest & looking forward to the Aussie win to keep the series alive!. Good luck to both the teams.

  • johnathonjosephs on August 9, 2013, 1:26 GMT

    Onions has been in great form for some time and has the international exposure in previous games. Would be great to replace Bresnan with him. The only real difference between the 2 bowling sides is the spinner's role. England have Graeme Swann who is only 2nd to Ajmal in the world at the moment while Australia have Lyon. Though Lyon is a better bowler than Agar, I would have Agar play instead due to his batting abilities (beef up the shaky Australian Batting Order) and because of his height (extra bounce may undo the English)

  • Dashgar on August 9, 2013, 0:55 GMT

    @Chris Dayton, forget England for a moment and look at Australia recently. When they get a win the go on to whitewash a lot of series'. Confidence is a big thing for this group.

  • caught_knott_bowled_old on August 9, 2013, 0:31 GMT

    Selectors are worried. They are anxious and nervous. Who goes on to the field and who doesn't? Do they try to coax a stalwart out of retirement? Or now that the Ashes has been decided, should they draft new members? Should Erasmus get another game or should he be dropped? Should Dharmasena be manning the TV replays? Can they bring back Simon Taufel? Decisions, decisions..

  • LoungeChairCritic on August 9, 2013, 0:27 GMT

    Deep down it's disappointing to read Daniel Brettig's description of what the pitch is likely to be. It's a bit hard to fathom how a city that is relatively close to the Scottish border would have a dry test pitch. Although I am not very familiar with the characteristic's of Chester Le Street, I am well aware that Onions and Callum Thorp both seamers have done pretty well on it over the past 10 years for Durham. Thorp a born and bred Perth boy played junior cricket with Mike Hussey at Wanneroo and played a few games for WA before moving to Durham. He was still taking plenty of county wickets in his mid to late 30s. Unlike the previous 3 tests, I hope the cricketing gods are smiling on Australia this test match. Sunshine when Australia bats and over cast conditions when England bats.

  • Shaggy076 on August 9, 2013, 0:15 GMT

    I probably shouldn't waste too much time on what Gautam N. Shenoy says as his posts always lack factual context but I will. Smith had one life and not the first batsman to ever have a life. He has scored 3 fifty plus scores in his last 4 tests and only had luck with one of those innings. Not the first player to ever have luck and wont be the last.

  • Ducky610 on August 9, 2013, 0:00 GMT

    Interesting: Steve Smith's average at 5 is 59 while his average at 6 is 16... Rogers, Warner, Khawaja, Clarke, Smith, Watson (for his bowling, otherwise Hughes) Haddin... Is probably australia's top 7...

  • on August 8, 2013, 23:54 GMT

    I guess in the drawn third test, Australia can take out a lot of positives from it...and move on....ideal chances for their players to make an impression. England have got everything in their favour now namely: trophy, home advantage, crowd support, and the lead....2-0....

  • Mervo on August 8, 2013, 23:12 GMT

    England were saved by the rain in the last test. They looked pretty average.

  • yorkshirematt on August 8, 2013, 23:06 GMT

    Unfortunately it doesn't sound like we'll have a proper Chester le Street pitch after all. I was looking forward to some proper cricket on a seamer's wicket with plenty of grass. Still, it can't be any worse than the lifeless strip of concrete at Old Trafford

  • RJHB on August 8, 2013, 22:56 GMT

    OMG you Poms are unbelievable, such smugness in many of the posters here! That's ok though, winners are grinners and all that. Just a reality check though: three ashes tests, first one decided by just 15 runs with barely any contribution from Australia's batsmen, second test wipeout fair enough, third test Poms absolutely saved by rain after being beaten the whole game! Hmm gee,wait a minute, its not 3-0 with three innings margins is it?! England have basically got just two consistent contributors, Bell and Swan, and a couple of one innings heroes. England are definitely the better team at the moment but I wouldn't get too content just yet people.

  • TomPrice on August 8, 2013, 22:39 GMT

    Panesar would not get in the Australian side. They will pick any spinner with a pulse and bladder control.

  • deeplongon on August 8, 2013, 22:24 GMT

    Do ya think we Aussies can specify 5 green top pitches for the upcoming ashes series. We seem the ONLY country that lets groundsmen serve up whatever they like. Then I look at what India prepared recently and what England have delivered on this tour. Pitches quite specifically designed to play to their strengths.

  • Mitty2 on August 8, 2013, 21:52 GMT

    @jono makim, what does it matter if they're a match winner or not??? I'd take O'keefe in a heartbeat! And regardless, he is the closest thing to a match winner out of all the spinners in Auatralia. A very very good FC average of 26 on pitches that never turn (to such an extent that some state sides rarely pick spinners), a very good batting record of around a 30 average, and of course, he's an excellent leader and fielder. He really is the best spinner in Aus and considering all the added bonuses, the reasonings for his non-selections can only possibly be personal. As much as I love clarkey, the rumour is is that O'keefe is another of Clarke's victims.

    Disagree on Watson being hit or miss: it's all miss. Hughes has to be persisted with and 'R_U_4_REAL_NICK' has an absurd perception that Hughes is a limited overs specialist. I don't think anyone can deny that Warner's a talent and should be given a lot of faith and latitude when it comes to selection. Like Hughes, he is the future.

  • Cpt.Meanster on August 8, 2013, 21:50 GMT

    @clarke501: Well hopefully, English and Australian supporters can now realize why the sub-continent has dry and flat pitches. Our climate is very HOT and DRY all the time. Moment of truth !

  • Mitty2 on August 8, 2013, 21:39 GMT

    Regarding the match, I'm actually quite excited and nervous for tonight's play!! Whatever excuse was made about the rain, you can't argue that we thoroughly outplayed Eng and they only won one solitary session (when KP and Bell were batting). I hate to say "deserving a win", but with Eng 3-30 down, Lyon turning it appreciably and Harris and Siddle with their tails up... Even though (as known) I'm not his biggest fan, Starc is an unknown quantity and when you're just looking for survival against him...

    But getting my bias out of the way, with our tails up after a more thnan respectable performance and with Eng having the freedom now that the Ashes are retained, and of course the confidence, they almost certainly will not play anything near like they did against us at OT! I can't wait to watch bird bowl after watching him in the shield and against SL - I think he is one of our best prospects, and I can't wait for Watson's career to finally be over when he fails!! Too cynical, perhaps?

  • landl47 on August 8, 2013, 21:36 GMT

    If everyone is fit, I think England will play the same side. Michael Clarke's comment that you don't pick people to give them a go in an Ashes test could just as easily come out of the mouth of Andy Flower or Alastair Cook. Besides, it's not as though Onions and Tremlett are young prospects. Both are over 30 and everyone knows what they can do. If any of the England bowlers aren't ready to go, then I expect Onions, on his home ground, to be first in line as a replacement.

    Starc batted well but bowled erratically at OT. Aus may opt for the accuracy of Bird to keep the runs down while Siddle and Harris recharge, or they might go with an all-seam attack. I'll be interested to see Bird, I've only seen him in the Sri Lanka series so far and while he bowled well, the opposition wasn't top class. I think Harris plays if he can start, he's looked the best new ball bowler on either side and if he can be used sparingly is the Aussies' best strike bowler.

    It should be a good game.

  • Mitty2 on August 8, 2013, 21:32 GMT

    @clarke501, so what? Because of the dry weather does that make it impossible to actually water the pitch?? To be honest, I've always hated "doctoring" and prefer to keep the individual characteristics to all pitches, and certainly TB was very out of the ordinary. However, I still think the standards of the pitches have been very very good and certainly the OT pitch was almost a perfect wicket - seam and pace on day 1 (unexploited) but very good batting conditions through the first three days, but there was always a lot of turn evident and it was deteriorating gradually... If it hasn't of rained it would've been very tough for the Eng batsmen! These pitches certainly suit swann and somewhat negate our strength in pace, but not a single person can use that as an excuse.

  • JG2704 on August 8, 2013, 21:31 GMT

    One thing I've learnt from this series already is that it seems impossible to gage what will happen in the next test from the previous test. Eng narrowly bt Aus in the 1st test so we expect another close one in the 2nd. Australia's 1st test performance was obviously a one off as proven by their dismal display in the 2nd test - 5-0 on the cards Australia - very unlucky not to win 3rd test after dominating Eng , must mean the next test is theirs - surely?

    @JMC/NUTCUTLET - Agree re the subs.

  • JG2704 on August 8, 2013, 21:24 GMT

    Would personally like to see Onions get a game on his home ground. I think he'd do a very decent job

  • on August 8, 2013, 20:45 GMT

    @R_U_4_REAL_NICK, O'Keefe is left arm orthodox, not a wrist spinner. Fawad didn't do much in the A tour games which preceded the Ashes and was sent off on the A tour of Africa, fair enough, really. As much as most Aussie fans would like to see O'Keefe in the first xi, if only to see how he'd go, I don't think any of us would expect him to be a match winner. You are right about Watson, but wrong about Warner, I reckon, jury is still out on Hughes though. Still, O'keefe aside, you've not come up with anybody who could reasonably be in our first xi.

    @Cricj, I really can't see England making any changes at all. Flower only seems to make a change when its forced upon him by injury or very poor form, obviously there is an odd exception but he's really quite conservative and assuming England will want to put Aus back in their box here I can't see them leaving out Anderson. Broad and Bres are golden boys and both can bat too, it'll surprise me no end to see Tremlett or Onions play here!

  • 2MikeGattings on August 8, 2013, 19:32 GMT

    "I don't think anyone is here to 'give them a go'."

    I'm sure Ashton Turner would agree, who was picked at Hove, and didn't get a go.

  • Samdanh on August 8, 2013, 18:49 GMT

    Dry weather story by die-hard Eng fans-appears a limping attempt to cover up Eng's lack of confidence in their batsmen - so negate Aus pace strength. And enabling Swann to easily dismantle the Aus batting line up that can't play spin confidently. Dare Eng to maintain the same when teams from subcontinent teams tour England. Such teams that have a history of doctoring pitches, have never been consistent at the top like how WI who ruled for more than a decade in 80s and Aus who ruled from mid nineties for almost 15 years. With such a deviation from sporting pitches in old times to each country doctoring pitches in the modern world, to capitalise on opponents' weaknesses or negating their strengths, Test Cricket is going to be more predictable and boring very soon

  • cric_J on August 8, 2013, 17:32 GMT

    Broady has bowled pretty well throughout the series with very little luck. So I'd want to give him a go, so that he can be rewarded with some wickets that would boost his confidence. Also he has batted extremely well with his lowest score being 20 odd in the series (touch wood, touch wood !). So he makes a strong case in point as well !

    Now Bres hasn't done much wrong either. He has shown control and been pretty accurate and the most economical of all seamers. Has batted decently too. But I feel he will be the one who misses out here. And IMO that's the best option.

    Or dash it all , we could just keep the same attack..................... ough I'm really getting in a tangle.

    (Cricinfo please publish as it is a continued comment)

  • cric_J on August 8, 2013, 17:22 GMT

    Right, I have been scratching my head crazily to figure out what should be England's bowling attack for this match. And it seems everyone here has a different and valid opinion, which hasn't quite helped my confusion.

    2 things that I am totally convinced about are 1. Swanny must be there 2. Tremlett should not be there. And I am sure these 2 things will happen.

    Now, I have always liked Onions for being a no-fuss and straightforward bowler and have always been all for players being given a chance on their home grounds, bowlers especially. So I'd like to get our Bunny in. But in place of whom ?

    Jimmy probably deserves a rest but I don't like the thought of having an Ashes match without Jimmy bowling and he doesn't have any niggles too. Most importantly, I know almost certainly that HE won't WANT to be rested. Not the tiniest bit. (contd.......)

  • shillingsworth on August 8, 2013, 17:05 GMT

    'Dry, hard pitches prepared more or less to the specifications of the England coach Andy Flower'. I'd suggest that there is actually no evidence that Flower has had any involvement, nor is it very likely that groundsmen would be willing or able to comply with such demands. The boring truth is that, in a dry summer, you get dry pitches.

  • cric_J on August 8, 2013, 17:02 GMT

    As Cook said, the Ashes may have been retained but they are yet to be won. England are yet to play their A-game and thus earn the urn. In the 2010/11 series England went to Sidney having already retained the Ashes but still dished out their most clinical performance of the series. Repeating something like that would be ideal.

    Ever since the first innings at TB, I have been hoping to see a good, solid opening/top 4 stand by England but have been denied that 6 times now. Credit to the Aussies for bowling really well, but that's no surprise, is it ? 30 odd for 3 wkts in 3 out of 6 innings is certainly not acceptable. Even Prior has looked uncharacteristically tentative and fidgety. Whatever issues there are, must be put in order.

    Jimmy looked completely out of sorts at OT and was England's poorest bowler there IMO. But every bowler has an off match and he should be back to his best at CLS. Onions might come in for Bres with CLS being his den, Bres hasn't done much wrong though.

  • Chaffers on August 8, 2013, 16:38 GMT

    Well worth giving the bowlers a rest I think so I'm hoping to see Onions and Tremlett play. If it were one of the two then Tremlett every day and twice on Sunday.

    As for the aussies, if Clarke gets a double century they might make a game of it.

  • R_U_4_REAL_NICK on August 8, 2013, 16:26 GMT

    @Jono Makim (post on August 8, 2013, 15:12 GMT): I can't understand why Bird wasn't a shoe-in from the start; I don't think he was even in the squads, never-mind picked for the earlier games! And then there was all this talk of decent wrist-spinners like O'Keefe before the series, not to mention 'passports being rushed' in order to get some other decent spinners in the loop. Where are they?

    England can accommodate KP because even when he fails the other guys make up for it; the same cannot be said for Aus. Why go into a test with no less than 3 'hit-or-miss' players like Warner, Hughes and Watson together in the same team? Where are the accumulators? I know players like Ponting/Hussey come once in a blue moon, but is there really no-one else to anchor an innings besides poor Captain Clarke? Haddin is streaks ahead of Wade in my opinion; I would have had Faulkner in ages ago; Siddle is awesome; Harris has proved me wrong; Lyon needs to be amongst the wickets instead of a passenger.

  • on August 8, 2013, 16:19 GMT

    @Chris_Howard "If the Aussies had've won, England could easily have crumbled in the next two Tests."

    What do you base that on? The 2012 series against Pakistan is pretty much the only time I can remember England losing two consecutive tests in a series, in the 4 years since Flower took over. Most of the time, they bounce back after losing a test.

  • on August 8, 2013, 15:49 GMT

    Onions is not a test player and never will be..Pick Tremlett

  • trav29 on August 8, 2013, 15:21 GMT

    theres no way we will rest Anderson when the series hasn't been won, so what if we have retained the ashes, winning the series is still the most important thing

    I could see broad being left out for onions if he isn't 100% but if everyone is fit I cant see us making any changes and if we do it will be tactical not to rest someone

    Anderson thrives on bowling a lot of overs and if hes fit he will play , plenty of time to give him a rest during the one dayers

  • jmcilhinney on August 8, 2013, 15:18 GMT

    @Gautam N. Shenoy on (August 8, 2013, 14:43 GMT), I'm not quite so confident. Even if you take out Clarke's entire score, Australia were still 340-7 in their first innings. There were two scores over 80 and two not out over 60 plus Khawaja got a stinker. The Australian batting lineup is unproven, no doubt, but some of them simply haven't had a proper chance to prove themselves. Watson may well be a washout and Warner may be hit or miss but Rogers looks dependable if unspectacular and Smith looks significantly improved. Khawaja is not as good as some seem to believe but he's not had a proper run yet. As for the bowlers, Swann has it all over Lyon or Agar but I think that the seamers have done at least as well as England's and better at times. If England bring their A game then I think that they'll be too good for Australia's best. I'm just not sure that we'll see that A game because we haven't yet other than from Bell and glimpses from Anderson and Swann.

  • on August 8, 2013, 15:12 GMT

    @R_U_4_REAL_NICK, go on then my son, who are Australia's best xi?

    @Gautam N. Shenoy, I disagree, I think Warner and Rogers are both more than capable of big scores at test level, Haddin has also been contributing well at times. Barring the first innings nightmare at Lords I don't think our batting has been too bad for a side trying to rebuild.

    @nutcutlet and JMC, agree on the sub thing, its pretty ordinary!

  • Chris_Howard on August 8, 2013, 15:11 GMT

    I expect to see a very different England here. In theThird Test they played like a team very afraid to lose. And that clearly affected most of their players' performance. They didn't cope well with the pressure. If the Aussies had've won, England could easily have crumbled in the next two Tests. But, not to be.

    Prior looked good in the first innings but got out chasing quick runs, and Cook and Trott will be able to play without the weight on their shoulders.

    Now that the pressure's off, expect a much more positive performance from England which I think will put them right back on top of Australia.

  • on August 8, 2013, 15:06 GMT

    For the Aussies to come back like they did was something pretty special. The official score maybe ENGLAND 2 AUS 0 but as far as cricket lovers are concerned, in our hearts, we know its really ENGLAND 2 AUS 1. Game on.

  • on August 8, 2013, 14:43 GMT

    @jmcilhinney: It will prove to be a flash in the pan. Look at that Australian batting order. Do you see anyone other than Clarke being able to make big runs consistently? It is not every time that umpires will give 3 lives to Smith so that he can make 80. Nothing really has changed for Australia. They still rely on Clarke for the big runs and most others are walking wickets. Their bowlers show some fight with the bat but are mostly ineffective in non helpful conditions. Fielders are still dropping catches. It is just that one good innings from Clarke that has papered the cracks and made Australia look like a good team at Old Trafford.

  • on August 8, 2013, 14:42 GMT

    What about Ben Stokes? I'd rather see him than Bresnan. Anyone remember Finn? What about Cook Root Taylor Pietersen Bell Prior Stokes Broad Swann Anderson Finn?

  • YorkshirePudding on August 8, 2013, 14:36 GMT

    @Nutcutlet, another fad started by the Aussies when Lillie would retire after a spell only to return refreshed in time to start another.

    As long as they arnt off the field too long its not a problem, and how do you stop them having comfort breaks. why should a team suffer if a player has a baldder the size of a peanut.

  • R_U_4_REAL_NICK on August 8, 2013, 14:35 GMT

    Michael Clarke say: ""I don't think anyone is here to 'give them a go'. That's not in any Test cricket and certainly not an Ashes series, especially the position we're sitting in now. It's about picking your best 11 players."

    There is no way the best 11 players have been used so far in this series. Some of the 'best 11 players' weren't even considered for the squads, never mind picked. I would say over half their team there are still in the 'give them a go' bracket.

  • on August 8, 2013, 14:28 GMT

    "but the batsmen now need to show that they can maintain the standards set by Clarke, Chris Rogers, Steven Smith and Brad Haddin.' Oh dear, oh dear.. The day has come when Steven Smith sets the batting standards for Australia. He has a mighty lot of thanking to do to the umpires, who have extended his career atleast till the next Ashes by giving him two, if not three lives.

  • R_U_4_REAL_NICK on August 8, 2013, 14:27 GMT

    Right - I'm going to go out on a limb here, and suggest England rest both Bresnan and Anderson. My reasons are as follows: 1. Broad has done nothing wrong all series, but just hasn't had the luck! Keep him in to hopefully continue his good form, and if he gets into the wickets it will help his confidence no end; 2. Allow Anderson to rest, and it will hopefully demonstrate that England are not dependent on him; 3. Onions deserves a game, and this is after all his hunting ground; 4. Tremlett may have done nothing of great merit to deserve a shoe-in to the team; however, give him a go! What's the worst that can happen? 5. Must play a good spinner and I doubt Magic-Monty will get a chance after his recent antics; Swann it is.

  • oval77 on August 8, 2013, 14:23 GMT

    The series is coming to the boil very nicely indeed! Let's hope we can have a DRS-controversy-free test. And I never thought I'd say this, but I'm warming to Warner - liked his self-deprecating humour as much as his batting last week. Hope to see more of that.

  • on August 8, 2013, 14:20 GMT

    The main question England will want answered is whether Joe Root really is ready for Test cricket as an opener. In spite of his 180 at Lord's, Root has looked tentative and ill at ease. Every single innings, the 180 included, has shown that he is well-nigh incable of getting settled without giving chances and his unwillingness to play off the front foot is a technical weakness a test opener cannot afford to indulge in. Over the next five days, Joe Root must show that he can play himself in without giving chances, without getting bogged down and playing off the front foot. Else Compton will be back for the Oval and Australia and Root is not a greater asset to the team at no 6 than Johnny Bairstow, a good batsman in his own right and the best fielder in the team.

  • jmcilhinney on August 8, 2013, 14:20 GMT

    @Nutcutlet on (August 8, 2013, 13:44 GMT), I agree re the subs. If a bowler wants to go off to change their socks or relieve themselves or whatever then I have no problem with that but unless there's an actual sickness/injury I don't see that a sub should be allowed. The ICC has disallowed runners for batsmen to prevent abuse and that just seems cruel when there's a genuine injury but surely the luxury of a substitute fielder is also being abused too.

  • on August 8, 2013, 13:54 GMT

    More of the same from OT please. Get Davey at the top though! Definitely need to play Starc if its going to be a dry pitch, Lyon too.

  • Nutcutlet on August 8, 2013, 13:44 GMT

    At some point Jimmy has to be given a break. It wouldn't surprise me to see Onions or Tremlett play at Chester-le-Street in place of him. with the Ashes' retained & a 5-0 result now gone, there is no reason to ask him to keep going when he's going to be required for the first three Tests in Oz, at a minimum. Bresnan is recently returned to the Test side & should play, IMO. If someone else has to be rested, then Broad has to be that man. Anyway, he'll leave the field for a break after bowling a spell; he always does. (I don't know why it's allowed, but short subs are very much in vogue. It's another matter for the ICC to think hard about & put a clear regulation in place, because sub fielders are obviously being used to allow quick bowlers time out by all teams. (There once was a time, etc.)

  • Nutcutlet on August 8, 2013, 13:44 GMT

    At some point Jimmy has to be given a break. It wouldn't surprise me to see Onions or Tremlett play at Chester-le-Street in place of him. with the Ashes' retained & a 5-0 result now gone, there is no reason to ask him to keep going when he's going to be required for the first three Tests in Oz, at a minimum. Bresnan is recently returned to the Test side & should play, IMO. If someone else has to be rested, then Broad has to be that man. Anyway, he'll leave the field for a break after bowling a spell; he always does. (I don't know why it's allowed, but short subs are very much in vogue. It's another matter for the ICC to think hard about & put a clear regulation in place, because sub fielders are obviously being used to allow quick bowlers time out by all teams. (There once was a time, etc.)

  • on August 8, 2013, 13:54 GMT

    More of the same from OT please. Get Davey at the top though! Definitely need to play Starc if its going to be a dry pitch, Lyon too.

  • jmcilhinney on August 8, 2013, 14:20 GMT

    @Nutcutlet on (August 8, 2013, 13:44 GMT), I agree re the subs. If a bowler wants to go off to change their socks or relieve themselves or whatever then I have no problem with that but unless there's an actual sickness/injury I don't see that a sub should be allowed. The ICC has disallowed runners for batsmen to prevent abuse and that just seems cruel when there's a genuine injury but surely the luxury of a substitute fielder is also being abused too.

  • on August 8, 2013, 14:20 GMT

    The main question England will want answered is whether Joe Root really is ready for Test cricket as an opener. In spite of his 180 at Lord's, Root has looked tentative and ill at ease. Every single innings, the 180 included, has shown that he is well-nigh incable of getting settled without giving chances and his unwillingness to play off the front foot is a technical weakness a test opener cannot afford to indulge in. Over the next five days, Joe Root must show that he can play himself in without giving chances, without getting bogged down and playing off the front foot. Else Compton will be back for the Oval and Australia and Root is not a greater asset to the team at no 6 than Johnny Bairstow, a good batsman in his own right and the best fielder in the team.

  • oval77 on August 8, 2013, 14:23 GMT

    The series is coming to the boil very nicely indeed! Let's hope we can have a DRS-controversy-free test. And I never thought I'd say this, but I'm warming to Warner - liked his self-deprecating humour as much as his batting last week. Hope to see more of that.

  • R_U_4_REAL_NICK on August 8, 2013, 14:27 GMT

    Right - I'm going to go out on a limb here, and suggest England rest both Bresnan and Anderson. My reasons are as follows: 1. Broad has done nothing wrong all series, but just hasn't had the luck! Keep him in to hopefully continue his good form, and if he gets into the wickets it will help his confidence no end; 2. Allow Anderson to rest, and it will hopefully demonstrate that England are not dependent on him; 3. Onions deserves a game, and this is after all his hunting ground; 4. Tremlett may have done nothing of great merit to deserve a shoe-in to the team; however, give him a go! What's the worst that can happen? 5. Must play a good spinner and I doubt Magic-Monty will get a chance after his recent antics; Swann it is.

  • on August 8, 2013, 14:28 GMT

    "but the batsmen now need to show that they can maintain the standards set by Clarke, Chris Rogers, Steven Smith and Brad Haddin.' Oh dear, oh dear.. The day has come when Steven Smith sets the batting standards for Australia. He has a mighty lot of thanking to do to the umpires, who have extended his career atleast till the next Ashes by giving him two, if not three lives.

  • R_U_4_REAL_NICK on August 8, 2013, 14:35 GMT

    Michael Clarke say: ""I don't think anyone is here to 'give them a go'. That's not in any Test cricket and certainly not an Ashes series, especially the position we're sitting in now. It's about picking your best 11 players."

    There is no way the best 11 players have been used so far in this series. Some of the 'best 11 players' weren't even considered for the squads, never mind picked. I would say over half their team there are still in the 'give them a go' bracket.

  • YorkshirePudding on August 8, 2013, 14:36 GMT

    @Nutcutlet, another fad started by the Aussies when Lillie would retire after a spell only to return refreshed in time to start another.

    As long as they arnt off the field too long its not a problem, and how do you stop them having comfort breaks. why should a team suffer if a player has a baldder the size of a peanut.

  • on August 8, 2013, 14:42 GMT

    What about Ben Stokes? I'd rather see him than Bresnan. Anyone remember Finn? What about Cook Root Taylor Pietersen Bell Prior Stokes Broad Swann Anderson Finn?