Some fairly interesting team news ahead of the final Ashes Test. The urn may be Australia’s but there’s still the very funny possibility of a thoroughly outplayed England team burgling a 2-2 series draw plus all those lovely, lovely World Test Championship points at stake so this is far from a dead rubber.
Ben Stokes’ sore shoulder has complicated things for England. He’ll play as a specialist batsman at number four at The Oval with Chris Woakes and Sam Curran both in the XI; Craig Overton and poor old Jason Roy make way. If you wanted to be cruel, you might say that England have strengthened both their batting and bowling. We’re far nicer than that here, though.
Australia, meanwhile, have had some fun of their own. Much like on the last day of term at primary school when you might take in Buckaroo or Super Cup Football, they’ve picked Mitchell Marsh. Boring, sensible old Travis Head makes way. Good times.
The Aussies have stopped just short of naming an XI, but from the remaining names on the list you can assume that Marsh is a definite starter with Peter Siddle an option to replace any one of the incumbent three-man pace attack. There’s no James Pattinson in the 12, and there must be at least some thought in the Australian camp to give Pat Cummins a well-earned rest. His injury history is well known, he’s the only Aussie quick to play all four Tests thus far, and he got through some serious work in Manchester.
England XI: Rory Burns, Joe Denly, Joe Root (capt), Ben Stokes, Jonny Bairstow (wk), Jos Buttler, Sam Curran, Chris Woakes, Jofra Archer, Jack Leach, Stuart Broad
Australia XII: David Warner, Marcus Harris, Marnus Labuschagne, Steve Smith, Matthew Wade, Mitchell Marsh, Tim Paine (capt, wk), Pat Cummins, Mitchell Starc, Josh Hazlewood, Nathan Lyon, Peter Siddle.
Water fell from the sky in large quantities.
Steve Smith couldn’t get a hundred today. The Badger could.
England get Steve Smith out for just 80. Great success.
England are utterly infuriating, they really are.
Joe Root > Don Bradman. That’s just maths.
England look to defend a target of 399 to escape the series with a draw.
Changes for both teams ahead of The Oval.
England’s Test-match batting is broken. Time to get back to basics.
The WTC scoring system is stupid, but the fix is easy. Get it done.