The visitors have been humiliated in the first two Tests of this five-match Ashes series, and if they want to keep their Ashes ambitions alive, they must make some adjustments before the fiery Boxing Day Test.
It will be a day unlike any other in the Australian or international calendar, and whoever is chosen for England will have 100,000 Australian fans cheering them on throughout the Test. It has been compared to a gladiator’s arena rather than a cricket ground, and England’s selectors will have to consider that as well as ability when selecting their team. After leaving Stuart Broad out of the Brisbane Test and playing no spinner in Adelaide, England’s selection is a hot topic of discussion. Joe Root and Chris Silverwood will be aware of the pressure they face when making the decisions.
With Pat Cummins ready to return and Josh Hazlewood battling for fitness, the hosts will have to make some critical selection decisions for the third Test.
The skipper is set to replace Michael Neser, but the rest of the equation may hinge on how cautious the national selectors are with Hazlewood.
There is no reason to be concerned about Australia’s depth of fast-bowling skill; Jhye Richardson took match-winning figures of 5/42 in the second innings at Adelaide, and Mitchell Starc put in another solid all-around performance.
The arrival of Scott Boland to the squad has fueled talk that Starc may be rested for the MCG, where he has a mixed first-class record, but the smart money is on Cummins replacing Neser as the sole alteration to the Australian bowling unit.
- 3rd Test – Match Information
Match: Australia vs England, 3rd Test
Date: 26th December 2021
Time: 05:00 AM IST
Venue: Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG), Melbourne
In the meantime, England mentor Chris Silverwood and commander Joe Root are under huge strain to set things up at the determination table in the wake of copping a heap of analysis for the setups conveyed in the initial two Tests of the 2021/22 Ashes series.
The choice to make out both Mark Wood and Jack Leach in Adelaide blew up fabulously, particularly later Root’s nonappearance from the field on day four implied Ollie Robinson – England’s best seamer up until this point – had to bowl off-turn.
The bowling assault is just a negligible portion of the issue. With the travellers yet to pass 300 in an innings this mid-year, and with just two English players – Root and Dawid Malan – overseeing half-hundreds of years across two Tests, we can anticipate a purge for Melbourne.
Jos Buttler’s courageous rearguard activity with the bat in Adelaide may very well have saved his spot in spite of a turbulent showcase with the gloves, yet Rory Burns and Ollie Pope may not be so fortunate.
While England still has three Tests to redeem themselves, another severe Ashes series defeat in Australia appears to be on the cards, and they can only blame themselves. They’re rightfully 2-0 down going into the world-famous Boxing Day Test at the MCG, thanks to poor team selection, embarrassingly inferior batting, and bad fielding.
Such a momentous event must inspire this England team to give it their all in a last-ditch attempt to reclaim the Ashes. However, they have been completely outplayed by a superior red ball team thus far, and it’s difficult to see that changing now.