England v Australia, 5th Investec Test, The Oval August 20, 2013

England seek crushing final blow

50

Match facts

August 21-25, The Oval
Start time 1100 (1000 GMT)

Big Picture

Not since 1981 have England arrived at The Oval for the last Test of an Ashes summer with the series already won. The possibility that lies tantalisingly before them is even rarer. Never before have Australia been beaten 4-0 by England and only once have they lost by such a wide margin (the 5-1 home defeat in 1978-79, when Packer was a dirty word). After a demoralising six weeks, when Australia have regularly misplaced their key moments, they will have to find extra reserves if they not to be swept away by an English tide.

Metaphor aside, Australia have again delved into their squad to supplement an ever-changing cast, with James Faulkner called on to make his Test debut. Only Mathew Wade of the original 16-man party has not been utilised and, with the additions of Ashton Agar and Steven Smith, Australia will have used 17 different players over the course of the series - not to mention a batting order that has changed with every Test. England, by contrast, have been their usual, methodical selves and only an injury to Tim Bresnan will force them to alter the team for the first time since Steven Finn was dropped for the second Test at Lord's. It is not only the scorelines that have changed in Ashes cricket.

It may not be the cauldron of expectation experienced in 2005 and 2009, then, but The Oval has a recent record of producing memorable finales. Despite England's supremacy, this series has at times brought to mind the joke from Annie Hall about a conversation between two elderly women at a resort in the Catskill mountains: "One of them says, 'Boy, the food in this place is terrible.' The other one says, 'Yeah, I know, and such small portions.'" There has been a shortfall in quality on both sides - only Ian Bell, Graeme Swann and Ryan Harris can claim to have had outstanding series - but the Investec Ashes continues to serve up irresistible moments.

Form guide

England: WDWWW
Australia: LDLLL

Players to watch

Jonny Bairstow has been attempting to nail down a spot in England's Test side for over a year now but, despite frequent encouraging episodes, the hammer keeps descending at a crooked angle. His 67 at Lord's was crucial in helping to right England's first innings and 203 runs at 29.00 in the series puts him above both Alastair Cook and Jonathan Trott but doubts about his technique and temperament persist. England have not had a century from their No. 6 batsman since Eoin Morgan in 2010 but it feels like Bairstow needs a three-figure score to be sure of his place this winter.

When you have backers like Shane Warne in your corner, big things are expected and James Faulkner has provided plenty of evidence of his talent since his debut for Tasmania as an 18-year-old. Now 23, Faulkner averages 30.31 with the bat and 22.87 with the ball in first-class cricket and his feisty, competitive spirit has been to the fore in a handful of limited-overs appearances for his country. That aside, Australia may hope the fact Faulkner hails from Launceston, hometown of Ricky Ponting, is enough to make England edgy.

Team news

Alastair Cook said that Chris Tremlett has a "good chance" of coming back into the side for a first Test appearance since January 2012. Bresnan's back injury means a space has opened up in the attack and Tremlett will be up against Chris Woakes - more of a like-for-like replacement for the all-round talents of Bresnan - and Finn. Giving Simon Kerrigan a debut alongside Graeme Swann remains an outside possibility, though England have not played two spinners at home since Cardiff 2009.

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 Stuart Broad, 9 Graeme Swann, 10 Chris Tremlett 11 James Anderson

Australia have announced their XI in advance, with Faulkner set to make his debut and Mitchell Starc returning. Usman Khawaja and Jackson Bird drop out and, with allrounder Faulkner coming in at No. 7, Australia will rejig their batting order again. After two innings at No. 6 (and one at No. 4), Shane Watson moves back up the order to first drop, a position that has caused Australia a deal of grief in recent times, while Brad Haddin is now in the top six, above a lengthy, if doughty, tail.

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

Pitch and conditions

The Oval has been on the slow side and more liable to turn in recent years but, although the pitch for the fifth Test is dry, there is an expectation that it will be quicker and bouncier than usual. The weather is forecast to be warm, although there is the possibility of showers interrupting a couple of day's play.

Stats and trivia

  • England have only lost six times to Australia at The Oval, against 16 wins, making it their most successful home ground.
  • The last time Australia went two consecutive series without winning a Test was in 1986.
  • After 98 and 96 Test matches respectively, the batting records of Kevin Pietersen and Alastair Cook are separated by 33 runs and 0.21 in average. Pietersen is marginally ahead of his captain but Cook has two more centuries (25 to 23).
  • James Faulkner will become the 435th player to represent Australia in Tests.

Quotes

"I think it would be very special to win the Ashes 4-0. That is what our motivation is as a side and we are hopefully going to pick the right side - the side that we think can win this Test match."
England captain Alastair Cook hasn't lost the taste for winning.

"He is an extra option to help us take 20 wickets but it is the overall package that James Faulkner brings. His toughness and performances of late in whatever format and the fact that he is not just a bowler. He can make some very handy runs for us."
Michael Clarke on Australia's newest Test recruit.

Alan Gardner is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo. He tweets here

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • cric_J on August 21, 2013, 5:31 GMT

    Although they have already won the Ashes, lifting the urn on the back of a defeat here will be an anti-climax for the England lads, one that they would be looking to avoid at all costs. So, I expect no lack of intensity from them.

    Australia, on the other hand, would want to have the last laugh. Their squad selection for this game is unfathomable. They have bowled very well throughout, but have now further weakened their Achilles heel.

    The England batsmen have been largely unimpressive, Bell aside. A flurry of 30/3 scores has been unacceptable. With the Oval pitch usually excellent for batting on days 1 and 2, I sincerely hope they have saved their best for the last and can put up a solid show.

    The bowling has been fine enough. Each of Jimmy, Swanny and Broady have made it their own, once at least. I'd want Finny in for Bres to exploit the bounce and add some pace. But going by his remarks, Cook may well go for the "safer" Tremlett.

    Bring it on lads, for one last time this summer !

  • GrindAR on August 21, 2013, 15:43 GMT

    Aussies all set to win this match... Too early? Nope. They got the right unit this time.

  • RednWhiteArmy on August 21, 2013, 10:14 GMT

    Good positive move England regarding selections. Potentially getting 2 debutantes into that winning mentality is a move worth making.

  • YorkshirePudding on August 21, 2013, 9:39 GMT

    Very, Very Bold move by England, I wonder what they've seen on the Oval, shame they didnt win the Toss but the pitch should have some early movement for Anderson. Chasing on a day 4/5 pitch could be a problem with Smith and Lyon.

  • drdickdixon on August 21, 2013, 9:22 GMT

    "Players to watch" - or "not to watch", in the case of Bairstow!

  • CouncillorB on August 21, 2013, 9:03 GMT

    England should consider bringing in both Finn and Tremlett. England need to have a good look at them for the return series. Give Anderson a break - which everybody was saying before Bresnan was injured.

  • landl47 on August 21, 2013, 8:50 GMT

    Testing. Kindly ignore! changed their batting order every test' that sums up the Aussies problems. Why aren't they persisting with Khawaja? He's one of the better batsman in the country. and Hughes too. The bowling is also being chopped and changes and they have no time to get into rhythm. With this policy, there's no way the Aussies are ever going to dominate world cricket.

  • YorkshirePudding on August 21, 2013, 8:49 GMT

    I had hoped England would use the test to give Taylor a game, and rest Bairstow, as well as rest Anderson for Tremlett, with Bresnan being replaced by Woakes.

    However they see the possibility of a 4-0 score line which must be tempting to stick with the regular team only replacing Bresnan.

    From an Australian perspective, it sadens me to see them falling into the same traps England fell into in the 1990's, where they constantly chopped and changed the team as well as batting order.

    While some changes cannot be helped, others seem strange, like switchinh Faulkner for a batsman, which means they dont have faith in thier existing Bowlers and being a left hander he will aid Swann to the Right handers.

    Important toss to win, which ever team wins needs to Bat first and Bat long (5-6 sessions).

  • ravi_hari on August 21, 2013, 8:44 GMT

    Only complacency and overconfidence will stop England from a 4-0 series win. I think Aussies have scored a mental point by picking a batsman less. Having struggled to score the entire series barring one innings, any team would have packed the side with batsmem and attempt a draw to keep the score line 3-0. But Aussies have gone in with an extra bowling allrounder. That is anit-climax. It could tilt the balance slightly in their favour. England might get complacent as they now need to pick potentially 3 batters to fold the Aussies up. Anderson, barring one test has been below par. Only Swann picked regular wickets. Yet it will not be difficult for England to take 20 wkts at the Oval. Aussie fans should pray that Clarke should win the toss and bat first. Whoever has batted first has done well this series. England won 3 and rain ruined Aussies march in one test. Hopefully Aussies will bat first and win this test to have some positive ending to a disastrous series. All the best Australia

  • bestbuddy on August 21, 2013, 8:27 GMT

    @Joe123, Bairstow hit 95, not 150, and then got injured, not dropped. To have gone a full year without sorting out one aspect of his technique indicates that he is not that adaptable as a player and a professional, and with players like compton, taylor and ballance (not to mention morgan and bopara) all making regular runs I think he is lucky to have kept his place as long as he has

  • cric_J on August 21, 2013, 5:31 GMT

    Although they have already won the Ashes, lifting the urn on the back of a defeat here will be an anti-climax for the England lads, one that they would be looking to avoid at all costs. So, I expect no lack of intensity from them.

    Australia, on the other hand, would want to have the last laugh. Their squad selection for this game is unfathomable. They have bowled very well throughout, but have now further weakened their Achilles heel.

    The England batsmen have been largely unimpressive, Bell aside. A flurry of 30/3 scores has been unacceptable. With the Oval pitch usually excellent for batting on days 1 and 2, I sincerely hope they have saved their best for the last and can put up a solid show.

    The bowling has been fine enough. Each of Jimmy, Swanny and Broady have made it their own, once at least. I'd want Finny in for Bres to exploit the bounce and add some pace. But going by his remarks, Cook may well go for the "safer" Tremlett.

    Bring it on lads, for one last time this summer !

  • GrindAR on August 21, 2013, 15:43 GMT

    Aussies all set to win this match... Too early? Nope. They got the right unit this time.

  • RednWhiteArmy on August 21, 2013, 10:14 GMT

    Good positive move England regarding selections. Potentially getting 2 debutantes into that winning mentality is a move worth making.

  • YorkshirePudding on August 21, 2013, 9:39 GMT

    Very, Very Bold move by England, I wonder what they've seen on the Oval, shame they didnt win the Toss but the pitch should have some early movement for Anderson. Chasing on a day 4/5 pitch could be a problem with Smith and Lyon.

  • drdickdixon on August 21, 2013, 9:22 GMT

    "Players to watch" - or "not to watch", in the case of Bairstow!

  • CouncillorB on August 21, 2013, 9:03 GMT

    England should consider bringing in both Finn and Tremlett. England need to have a good look at them for the return series. Give Anderson a break - which everybody was saying before Bresnan was injured.

  • landl47 on August 21, 2013, 8:50 GMT

    Testing. Kindly ignore! changed their batting order every test' that sums up the Aussies problems. Why aren't they persisting with Khawaja? He's one of the better batsman in the country. and Hughes too. The bowling is also being chopped and changes and they have no time to get into rhythm. With this policy, there's no way the Aussies are ever going to dominate world cricket.

  • YorkshirePudding on August 21, 2013, 8:49 GMT

    I had hoped England would use the test to give Taylor a game, and rest Bairstow, as well as rest Anderson for Tremlett, with Bresnan being replaced by Woakes.

    However they see the possibility of a 4-0 score line which must be tempting to stick with the regular team only replacing Bresnan.

    From an Australian perspective, it sadens me to see them falling into the same traps England fell into in the 1990's, where they constantly chopped and changed the team as well as batting order.

    While some changes cannot be helped, others seem strange, like switchinh Faulkner for a batsman, which means they dont have faith in thier existing Bowlers and being a left hander he will aid Swann to the Right handers.

    Important toss to win, which ever team wins needs to Bat first and Bat long (5-6 sessions).

  • ravi_hari on August 21, 2013, 8:44 GMT

    Only complacency and overconfidence will stop England from a 4-0 series win. I think Aussies have scored a mental point by picking a batsman less. Having struggled to score the entire series barring one innings, any team would have packed the side with batsmem and attempt a draw to keep the score line 3-0. But Aussies have gone in with an extra bowling allrounder. That is anit-climax. It could tilt the balance slightly in their favour. England might get complacent as they now need to pick potentially 3 batters to fold the Aussies up. Anderson, barring one test has been below par. Only Swann picked regular wickets. Yet it will not be difficult for England to take 20 wkts at the Oval. Aussie fans should pray that Clarke should win the toss and bat first. Whoever has batted first has done well this series. England won 3 and rain ruined Aussies march in one test. Hopefully Aussies will bat first and win this test to have some positive ending to a disastrous series. All the best Australia

  • bestbuddy on August 21, 2013, 8:27 GMT

    @Joe123, Bairstow hit 95, not 150, and then got injured, not dropped. To have gone a full year without sorting out one aspect of his technique indicates that he is not that adaptable as a player and a professional, and with players like compton, taylor and ballance (not to mention morgan and bopara) all making regular runs I think he is lucky to have kept his place as long as he has

  • 64blip on August 21, 2013, 8:08 GMT

    Have the Australian bowlers been that good? Twice Engalnd batted first, twice the Aussie batsmen created a first innings lead, twice England's second innings left Australia needing at least 300 to win batting last. Teams don't win many matches chasing 300 (which is also why these two matches weren't really "close").

  • Joe123 on August 21, 2013, 7:48 GMT

    I wouldn't say Bairstow has question marks about his temperament at all. Technique, yes, as has been given infinite column inches, but he certainly seems to have the spirit and vim for Test cricket and looks like he belongs (contrast to Hick, Ramprakash circa 1995).

    I also think the multiplier effect of his contributions should be recognised - in a low scoring series he has been involved in two crucial match turning partnerships with Bell: Durham as well as Lords.

    Cut him some slack. After hitting 150 in the match against Steyn & Morkel last summer he was dropped and then in & out of the side, carried the drinks through the Champions Trophy so played almost no cricket in the lead up to the Ashes.

    I still say he has 5,000 test runs in him.

  • Front-Foot-Sponge on August 21, 2013, 7:34 GMT

    A thrashing? I don't think so. Lords was a thrashing, sure. England saved by the rain in Manchester, tight as can be at Trent Bridge and Australia were in a position to win the last test. If this Australian side is so poor and England so almighty, why the close games? I think a little thrashing for England here at the Oval might give some the reality check they need. England deserve to be 3-0 up but world beaters they are not. Talk of this result affecting players careers long term is utter nonsense, they are professional cricketers, not keyboard warriors!

  • Ketan... on August 21, 2013, 7:09 GMT

    @Chris_Howard - Interesting point. Of the 3 genuine batsmen you mention, 2 have scored centuries for Aus & the 3rd came close in the last test. The rest....well.

  • Talalthegreat on August 21, 2013, 6:33 GMT

    @Aravind Mantravadi sandhu will not play only because he is Indian descendency. Plus I can bet you anything that Aus will not lose 5-0 at home.

  • Front-Foot-Lunge on August 21, 2013, 6:11 GMT

    Australia are already talking about the world cup and anything other than this current Ashes series. Just like the Aussie stadiums were almost empty in 2010/11 as England piled on the wins, this time the mentality of the current Oz team seems empty-headed and disconnected from the almighty realization that they're 3-0 down in this series with one to play. 4-0 would be one of the most devastating scorelines, a thrashing that would affect future players for long into their careers. For England it's just a question of batting well and letting their bowlers do the rest. I predict they'll wrap this up nicely by the morning of day 5.

  • on August 21, 2013, 4:11 GMT

    England will win 4-0 now And 5-0 in winter Aussies need players like marsh and hussey brothers as well as khawaja or Sandhu England is very strong team they should win comfortably

  • on August 21, 2013, 4:05 GMT

    'changed their batting order every test' that sums up the Aussies problems. Why aren't they persisting with Khawaja? He's one of the better batsman in the country. and Hughes too. The bowling is also being chopped and changes and they have no time to get into rhythm. With this policy, there's no way the Aussies are ever going to dominate world cricket.

  • on August 21, 2013, 3:51 GMT

    i think england will win the series 4-0 because aussies are out of form

  • Chris_Howard on August 21, 2013, 3:43 GMT

    Hope the Poms play Woakes, he looks pretty handy with both bat and ball, and I wanna see how he goes.

    Australia's is an interesting side.

    It's got 5 all rounders (Clarke, Smith, Watson, Starc and Faulkner), 9 bowlers (Harris, Starc, Faulkner, Lyon, Siddle, Watson, Smith, Clarke, Warner).

    And just 3 genuine batsmen (Clarke, Rogers, Warner).

    Now tell me again, what was our biggest weakness in this series?

  • Scrop on August 21, 2013, 2:38 GMT

    I think England have to rest Anderon/Board, may be Anderson in this test and few ODIs and Board in a few ODIs so they can a fresher for schedule later this year.

  • JAH123 on August 21, 2013, 1:56 GMT

    Good on Faulkner, although it's sad to see the selection merry-go-round continue. Bird should have got a decent run, while Hughes still hasn't played in the top 3 on this tour (which is where he is clearly best suited). Watson looked more comfortable at 6 than he did anywhere else, but once again the selectors seem determined to view him as a top order batter. More head-scratchers.

    As for England - why won't they give Stokes a crack at 6, or even 7 behind Prior? He has clear talent and would provide them with a decent fifth bowler to go with his batting, which can't be worse than what Bairstow has dished up in this series. They would then have the luxury of including Kerrigan for Bresnan if they think the Oval's pitch will turn.

  • landl47 on August 21, 2013, 1:46 GMT

    Interestingly, the Australians now have 8 right-hand bats in the side and 5 left-handers (Cowan, Hughes, Khawaja, Wade, Agar) on the sidelines. Only Bird, who can't really be called a batsman, is right-handed among those left out. Is this a deliberate ploy to negate Swann? If so, expect to see Starc and Faulkner bowling round the wicket a lot.

    Otherwise, Swanny will be saying "Thanks for the footmarks" in his prayers tonight.

  • landl47 on August 21, 2013, 1:38 GMT

    My preference would be to see Finn replace Bresnan. Woakes would be something of a defensive option, picked more because he can bat than because he's likely to run through the Aussie batting, and from what I've seen of Tremlett this year he's not at full pace and on a pitch that's not likely to be hard and fast he won't be as dangerous as Finn.

    In the poker game which is the Aus XI at the moment, the selectors have drawn Starc and Faulkner from the pack in the hopes they will make a winning hand. They'd better hope that Eng aren't at the top of their game and Swann, in particular, doesn't find much in the pitch, though with left and right hand bowlers' footmarks on a pitch which usually takes spin anyway, that may be a vain hope.

    BTW, the run machine that is Gary Ballance made another hundred today, his third on the bounce. If he was qualified for Australia, I wonder if he'd get a game?

  • on August 21, 2013, 1:23 GMT

    how the hell can australia sort out their batting woes by bringing in faulkner to replace a batsman.. moreover theyve been able to pick up 20wickets with 4 bowlers y need a 5th or is that they consider their batsmen so worst tht faulkner seems a better option. surely eng gonna win this 4-0 n also repeat similar feat down under

  • popcorn on August 21, 2013, 0:04 GMT

    Boof is clueless on what side to pick. From the first Test to the last, he has been chipping and chopping the side. Wonder what he has brought to the Team other than reducing the morale and causing uncertainty and fear in the minds of the players. Ashton Agar, Usman Khawaja, Mitchell Starc, Ed Cowan, Phil Hughes, Nathan Lyon- None of them has been given a fair trial.I hope the Selectors sack him too.

  • on August 20, 2013, 23:49 GMT

    One must wonder how this series would have panned out had D. Hussey and S. Katich-our best available batsmen not already in the side been selected. I suspect far closer. I'm also don't understand the re-inclusion of the sub-par Starc. His first-class average of 31 and test average of 32 pale in comparison to J. Bird's FC average of 20, which makes the decision to drop him baffling.

  • jmcilhinney on August 20, 2013, 23:36 GMT

    If Faulkner is in for Khawaja then presumably the expectation is that Watson won't bowl.

  • Karthik78 on August 20, 2013, 23:16 GMT

    It is really boring Ashes. Too much hype about Ashes. But there are so many good cricket around. Asking Aus to play match is like waking up dead snake. They are tired of playing and losing, let them take some rest instead of playing boring cricket.

  • on August 20, 2013, 22:45 GMT

    Faulkner is another poor selection based entirely on ODI form. One must also question the worth of dropping a specialist #3 batsman for yet another bowling allrounder. This now leaves the Australian team with Starc, Harris, Siddle, Faulkner, and Watson who all bowl pace, why? To me this seems a very poorly balanced team. 4-0 awaits England.

  • on August 20, 2013, 22:31 GMT

    Yet another change to Australia's No.3 batting position, if they don't ever let a guy have a fair go at that spot it will take them ages to find the perfect player for first drop. Hughes and Cowan have had their fair go's already, by getting to be in the playing XI irrespective of their performances for more than one series, but its a pity that like always again Khawaja has been given a few tests in a series and then taken away. If you always give a player only a couple of tests in every third and fourth series how do you expect him not to feel the pressure of being dropped and having confidence in his game. And I don't understand why does Australian camp thinks that changing Watto's spots will fix him problem?

  • on August 20, 2013, 22:25 GMT

    Great work from the aussie selectors. Our batting is struggling so we drop a batsman for a bowler. No prizes for guessing why the team is struggling.

  • Lmaotsetung on August 20, 2013, 22:08 GMT

    Anything less than a convincing victory by England will be regarded as a huge letdown. I want to see Cook, Root, Trott to bat long and send one or two Aussie bowlers back to the dressing room. I want to see Bairstow and Prior put on a partnership with the tail. I want to see Jimmy back to his best and Swanny take a 5 for! Anything less than 4-0 is UNACCEPTABLE!

  • MinusZero on August 20, 2013, 21:59 GMT

    Not sure why they think the perennial underperformer Watson will do wonders at 3. He should retire from tests and let the team move forward

  • on August 20, 2013, 21:05 GMT

    Even if England win at The Oval it will hardly be a "crushing blow". England has played well below expectations and Australia has been more competitive than most people expected. The "rub of the green" has clearly favoured England. All things considered, it's been a pretty even series.

  • Beertjie on August 20, 2013, 20:34 GMT

    Well if Cook is serious about a 4-0 score-line he needs to drop Bairstow and pick Kerrigan. If he can then win the toss, 4-0 will be in the bag.

  • o-bomb on August 20, 2013, 20:00 GMT

    Hmm, interesting selections from Australia again. 5 tests - 5 different bowling attacks. Mitchell Starc's series; played 1st test - bowled well, took 5 wickets; left out for 2nd test; played 3rd test due to Pattinson's injury - bowled quite well taking 3 wickets, batted well scoring 66 in the 1st innings; left out for 4th test; now it looks like he'll play again in the 5th test. How is he supposed to prepare for a series? How is their bowling attack supposed to prepare with different personnel each game?

  • Sadiq1952 on August 20, 2013, 19:53 GMT

    This is possibly the best possible line up for Australia and I expect them to do well at Oval.

  • on August 20, 2013, 19:02 GMT

    Doesn't matter where Watson bats. He'll still make about 40 or so and be out LBW. Still that's 20 or 30 more than Khawaja. 4 - 0 to England I think.

  • starrer on August 20, 2013, 18:58 GMT

    Rain only save Australian team,otherwise England will be win this ashes series 4-0. I am not seen much depth and form batting side of aus team in recent times. Please send to Aus women team to next Ashes might be they gave some competiotion to England men's team.

  • TenDonebyaShooter on August 20, 2013, 18:37 GMT

    "Metaphor aside, Australia have again delved into their squad to supplement an ever-changing cast". I'll thin you'll find actually that that is a metaphor, Mr Gardner, specifically of a theatrical nature.

  • Mattias on August 20, 2013, 18:30 GMT

    Looking at the Australia 11, there are only 3 specialist batsmen. Apart from the ever reliable Michael Clarke there are only Chris Rogers (in his first full series at age 35) and David Warner (Back from Zimbabwe with Australia A). Clearly something did not quite go to plan with the long-term planning for Cricket Australia in preparation for these Ashes. And they don't even have injuries to blame.

    Nevertheless, I think with Smith, Faulkner and Starc in the line-up they have plenty of batting and bowling options to give them a chance in this last test.

  • on August 20, 2013, 18:19 GMT

    Australia might as well go with 8 bowlers + Clarke, Rogers and Haddin and they wouldn't make any less runs. Shambolic disarray, this Australian team is. Since their next two test opponents are England and SA, the winless run is set to continue for a long long time. Test status may be at risk at some point. Depressing time to be an Aussie fan. The very fact that someone like Steve Smith is a starter in an Australian test XI tells you more than you need to know.

  • on August 20, 2013, 18:19 GMT

    For everything that has gone before and with all the funny selections in this match, I still think Aus can pull a win out of the bag here. We need to win the toss, hope to hell two of Rogers, Warner and Clarke bat really well and then settle into the business of bowling well, something we know Aus can actually do. Even with the series at 3-0 i'm still looking forward to seeing what the likes of Warner, Smith, Faulkner, Lyon and Starc can go out and do in this match, when these blokes start performing then the team will start performing, good luck men!

  • tombag111 on August 20, 2013, 17:54 GMT

    In every match england has won, it has been the aussies batting that has let them down. Their bowling has been almost, if not as good as englands, however, for the 5th test in a row the selectors have decided to a) change their bowling attack, and b) decrease the strength of their lower order batting. Mindless imo, 4-0 by day 4.

  • strikeforce2003 on August 20, 2013, 17:51 GMT

    Should the WIN MODE OF THOUGHT and CONFIDENCE in acheiving such is instilled in the AUSSIES ..whether their batting on patience and perseverance, in scores not just in accordance to expected weather,plaguing to the pitch by the session, and plans set by their captain and incisive bowling in accompanied aggro field positions are done, and having the pride that a DRAW aint enough a WIN is needed...tell me, the Aussies break the mental block and they could well thrash the Pommies within the 5th day lunch.. Go for it mates

  • zhaggy on August 20, 2013, 17:42 GMT

    "...and only once have they lost by such a wide margin (the 5-1 home defeat in 1978-79, when Packer was a dirty word)."

    Australia lost to India earlier this year by the same margin. _This_ year.

  • samuelvin on August 20, 2013, 17:30 GMT

    Australia are making too many changes after every match.That's not gonna help them form a consistent test side.They should persist with every change they make.Give khawaja another chance,he was quite unsuccesful and unlucky as well but he can do better and I don't know why australia play mitchell starc for alternate test matches..he hasn't done to badly to be dropped after 1st and 3rd test.Hope they do well at the Oval.Good luck aussies!!

  • on August 20, 2013, 17:17 GMT

    give one final fight..common aussies...

  • Surajdon9 on August 20, 2013, 17:11 GMT

    will be cracker..Come on Mighty aussiess...

  • Surajdon9 on August 20, 2013, 17:11 GMT

    will be cracker..Come on Mighty aussiess...

  • on August 20, 2013, 17:17 GMT

    give one final fight..common aussies...

  • samuelvin on August 20, 2013, 17:30 GMT

    Australia are making too many changes after every match.That's not gonna help them form a consistent test side.They should persist with every change they make.Give khawaja another chance,he was quite unsuccesful and unlucky as well but he can do better and I don't know why australia play mitchell starc for alternate test matches..he hasn't done to badly to be dropped after 1st and 3rd test.Hope they do well at the Oval.Good luck aussies!!

  • zhaggy on August 20, 2013, 17:42 GMT

    "...and only once have they lost by such a wide margin (the 5-1 home defeat in 1978-79, when Packer was a dirty word)."

    Australia lost to India earlier this year by the same margin. _This_ year.

  • strikeforce2003 on August 20, 2013, 17:51 GMT

    Should the WIN MODE OF THOUGHT and CONFIDENCE in acheiving such is instilled in the AUSSIES ..whether their batting on patience and perseverance, in scores not just in accordance to expected weather,plaguing to the pitch by the session, and plans set by their captain and incisive bowling in accompanied aggro field positions are done, and having the pride that a DRAW aint enough a WIN is needed...tell me, the Aussies break the mental block and they could well thrash the Pommies within the 5th day lunch.. Go for it mates

  • tombag111 on August 20, 2013, 17:54 GMT

    In every match england has won, it has been the aussies batting that has let them down. Their bowling has been almost, if not as good as englands, however, for the 5th test in a row the selectors have decided to a) change their bowling attack, and b) decrease the strength of their lower order batting. Mindless imo, 4-0 by day 4.

  • on August 20, 2013, 18:19 GMT

    For everything that has gone before and with all the funny selections in this match, I still think Aus can pull a win out of the bag here. We need to win the toss, hope to hell two of Rogers, Warner and Clarke bat really well and then settle into the business of bowling well, something we know Aus can actually do. Even with the series at 3-0 i'm still looking forward to seeing what the likes of Warner, Smith, Faulkner, Lyon and Starc can go out and do in this match, when these blokes start performing then the team will start performing, good luck men!

  • on August 20, 2013, 18:19 GMT

    Australia might as well go with 8 bowlers + Clarke, Rogers and Haddin and they wouldn't make any less runs. Shambolic disarray, this Australian team is. Since their next two test opponents are England and SA, the winless run is set to continue for a long long time. Test status may be at risk at some point. Depressing time to be an Aussie fan. The very fact that someone like Steve Smith is a starter in an Australian test XI tells you more than you need to know.

  • Mattias on August 20, 2013, 18:30 GMT

    Looking at the Australia 11, there are only 3 specialist batsmen. Apart from the ever reliable Michael Clarke there are only Chris Rogers (in his first full series at age 35) and David Warner (Back from Zimbabwe with Australia A). Clearly something did not quite go to plan with the long-term planning for Cricket Australia in preparation for these Ashes. And they don't even have injuries to blame.

    Nevertheless, I think with Smith, Faulkner and Starc in the line-up they have plenty of batting and bowling options to give them a chance in this last test.

  • TenDonebyaShooter on August 20, 2013, 18:37 GMT

    "Metaphor aside, Australia have again delved into their squad to supplement an ever-changing cast". I'll thin you'll find actually that that is a metaphor, Mr Gardner, specifically of a theatrical nature.