A heavily rain effected Test from Lord’s resulted in a draw over the weekend, which means Australia will maintain their 1-0 advantage in the Ashes series after two matches.
There will be just a three-day turn around before the 3rd Test gets underway on Thursday night from Headingley and we have a full preview and betting tips for the clash below!
Headingley will play host to the 3rd Test starting this Thursday and the early weather forecast is very promising for cricket fans. No rain is currently scheduled from Thursday-Monday, meaning a result is highly likely in Yorkshire.
The Aussies will be waiting with baited breath on the fitness of star batsman Steve Smith ahead of the 3rd Test. Smith was struck on the back of the neck in the midst of a fiery spell from Jofra Archer on Day 4 of the 2nd Test and was forced to retire hurt to undergo concussion tests. While he returned to the crease later that day, Smith was officially subbed out of the game overnight, enacting the first concussion sub in Test history with Marnus Labuschagne coming into the side.
With just three full days to recover for the start of the 3rd Test, Smith will be in a race against the clock to prove his fitness and continue one of the most dominant individual starts to an Ashes series in history. The Aussie No.4 has scores of 144, 142 and 92 in his three innings so far and is singlehandedly holding the Australian batting line-up together.
If Smith does miss, Labuschagne will be the likely replacement after the 25-year-old played a match saving innings of 59 off 100 balls to help the Australians force the draw.
UPDATE: Steve Smith has been officially ruled out of the 3rd Test.
The Australian bowling unit continued to impress in the Lord’s Test, Pat Cummins in particular. The paceman justified his No.1 Test bowler ranking with six wickets in the match and looked ominous particularly when the ball got old and the bowling conditions proved more difficult.
It will be interesting to see whether Mitch Starc will finally make his series debut this week in Headingley. James Pattison looks likely to return to the line-up with Cummins, meaning Peter Siddle, Josh Hazlewood and Starc will battle it out for the final spot in the line-up.
The opening duo of David Warner and Cameron Bancroft will also need to be addressed by the selectors. With a high opening partnership of just 13 runs through the four innings so far, there’s a strong chance one of the two will make way for Marcus Harris this Test.
Likely Australian XI
1. David Warner
2. Marcus Harris
3. Usman Khawaja
4. Marnus Labuschagne
5. Travis Head
6. Matthew Wade
7. Tim Paine
8. Pat Cummins
9. James Pattinson
10. Mitch Starc
11. Nathan Lyon
England captured some much needed momentum despite finishing the 2nd Test with a draw. After a brilliant century at the start of Day 5 from Ben Stokes, the English set themselves up for a chance at an unlikely victory by sending the Aussies in with 48 overs left in the day and a lead of 266 runs.
Jofra Archer, the inclusion for the injured James Anderson in the 2nd Test, proved to be the catalyst for the English resurrection. He bowled heated spells in both innings which saw him surpass the 154km/h mark and claim five wickets in the match.
There are still some massive issues over the form of the English top order at the moment. Opener Jason Roy has struggled in all four of his innings so far while Joe Root hasn’t been his normal, reliable self. However, it’s unlikely that they will make a change to the current top six.
If the English do make a change, it might be to bring back Moeen Ali to give them some extra batting depth. Spinner Jack Leech was serviceable in the second innings, taking three wickets but the English selectors could place a higher value on Ali’s lower order runs and back their four pronged pace attack to get the job done.
Likely English XI
1. Jason Roy
2. Rory Burns
3. Joe Root
4. Joe Denly
5. Ben Stokes
6. Jos Buttler
7. Jonny Bairstow
8. Moeen Ali/Jack Leech
9. Chris Woakes
10. Joffra Archer
11. Stuart Broad
The Aussies have such a talented arsenal of quicks to call upon for the upcoming Test, which we think will be massive advantage. The majority of the English top order hasn’t even encountered Mitch Starc yet, while the Australian top order has a full two matches of experience against the likes of Broad and Woakes now.
We think the Australian’s are fantastic value at the moment, especially with the recent news of Smith being ruled out. They have now jumped all the way out to $3.00.
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