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England face make or break clash

While a loss in Adelaide would not rule out England retaining the Ashes one feels that the favourable conditions make this a vital match for the tourists.

The Adelaide Oval is famed for producing more swing than other venues around Australia which should give the England bowlers and edge against the Aussie batsmen.

England have decided not to include leg-spinner Mason Crane in the XI with a squad of 12 announced ahead of the match that is made up of the XI from the Gabba and paceman Craig Overton.

This indicates that Moeen Ali should be fit to bowl in Adelaide after cutting his bowling hand open in Brisbane.

Joe Root will have to decide whether Overton or Jake Ball take the third seamer slot with the former known for his ability to swing the ball.

Australia have named an unchanged squad choosing not to hand a debut to hometown paceman Chadd Sayers.

The hosts will want to see more from the top order batsmen to take the pressure of skipper Steve Smith whose unbeaten hundred was the difference between the teams in Brisbane.

England will be reasonably pleased with their top order though they really need someone to turn the starts they have got into something big.

Root’s charges will also need to maintain their focus on the task at hand and avoid getting sucked into Australia’s banter war.

In a week full of unwanted sideshows England would do well to close ranks and work on their cricket and executing their plans rather than being drawn into more off-field drama.

England have the team to compete with Australia and showed they were capable of doing just that for the first three days in Brisbane.

Root himself needs to step up and haul this team up by the bootstraps or face the possibility of humiliation.

Australia on the other hand could very quickly find themselves under pressure if things don’t go well given their relatively long tail and lack of back-up bowlers.

Key Players

Smith remains the man to get out in this Aussie team and has already shown what happens when he is allowed to dig in.

Josh Hazlewood impressed against South Africa last year doing the damage up front and he could very well find himself leading the attack again.

Jonny Bairstow will be looking to respond to his hellish week by answering the Australian sledges with the willow.

Jimmy Anderson will be the bowler most suited to the conditions in Adelaide and he will need to do a job for his side.

Teams

Australia XI (Likely): Cameron Bancroft, David Warner, Usman Khawaja, Steven Smith (capt), Peter Handscomb, Shaun Marsh, Tim Paine (wk), Mitchell Starc, Pat Cummins, Josh Hazlewood, Nathan Lyon.

England squad: Alastair Cook, Mark Stoneman, James Vince, Joe Root (c), Dawid Malan, Moeen Ali, Jonny Bairstow (wk), Chris Woakes, Stuart Broad, Jimmy Anderson, Jake Ball, Craig Overton

Last five head-to-head results

2017 First Test: Australia won by ten wickets at the Gabba
2015 Fifth Test: Australia won by an innings and 46 runs at the Oval
2015 Fourth Test: England won by an innings and 78 runs at Trent Bridge
2015 Third Test: England won by eight wickets at Edgbaston
2015 Second Test: Australia won by 405 runs at Lord’s

Details

Hours of play (local time): 14.00 (03:30 GMT 05:30 SAST) start, Tea 16.00-16.20, Dinner 18.20-19.00, Close 21.00
Match days: 2-6 December 2017
Umpires: Aleem Dar, Chris Gaffaney
TV Umpire: Marais Erasmus
Reserve Umpire: Sam Nogajski
Match Referee: Sir Richie Richardson