Third Test Preview – The Ashes on the line in Perth
This week, Perth’s WACA plays host to its final Ashes Test and it could be a special farewell. As it was 4 years ago, we arrive at the WACA with Australia leading 2-0. The Ashes will return with an Australian victory. Will England defy their own miserable history at a ground where Australia have beaten them in every contest since 1978-79?
Ladbrokes see it Australia’s way. The Baggy Greens are $1.53 favourites and England’s chances of keeping the series alive at $4.50 for the win and $5.50 for a draw.
Australian selection conundrums
Australia’s selectors have strongly hinted that Mitchell Marsh is likely to be included for the Perth Test as Australia look for an extra bowler and cover the poor form of Victorian batsmen Peter Handscomb.
Handscomb looks technical incapable against the bowling plans and accuracy of England’s James Anderson and Stuart Broad. Other than his poor form, he may find himself left out in favour of Marsh for reasons of team balance. A fifth bowler could be a very handy option on an unforgiving Perth surface for bowlers this summer.
Nathan Lyon has performed wonderfully in the first two Tests as both an attacking and run-stopping option. Lyon’s great form and bowling a lot of overs is keeping the Aussie pace trio in Starc, Hazlewood and Cummins fresh. Everything points towards Marsh’s inclusion at Handscomb’s expense with his return to the bowling crease and excellent batting form for WA.
England must improve or The Ashes will be gone
To the outsider, England seem in disarray with focus on their off-field drinking incidents rather than concentrating on the positives of their on-field performances.
England have been competitive with the Aussies for the majority and have been undone by two sessions; one of poor bowling and another dominated by indiscreet shot selection by their batsmen.
England will be looking to restore pride and be competitive for former skipper Alistair Cook, who is playing his 150th test.
The Third Ashes Test begins in Perth on Thursday, December 14.