Deadline: September 4, 2019 at 3:30 PM IST
Venue: Old Trafford, Manchester
Pitch and weather
The Old Trafford has everything for everyone. The highest total registered here is 565 for 8 by Australia and the lowest is 58 all out by India against the home team. However, with the weather looking bleak on all five days, the chances of pacers dominating look bright. Choose your fantasy team wisely.
With James Anderson ruled out of The Ashes 2019, England are likely to field the same winning XI.
In other news, Joe Denly agreed to Joe Root’s request of swapping batting positions with Jason Roy. Denly showed great character in the run chase at Headingley, and Root wants him to emulate the same grit at the top of the order. It should also relieve Roy from the pressure of facing the new ball, as he managed a mere 57 runs in six innings.
Probable XI for England: Rory Burn, Joe Denly, Joe Root (c), Jason Roy, Ben Stokes, Jonny Bairstow (wk), Jos Buttler, Chris Woakes, Jofra Archer, Stuart Broad, Jack Leach
Australia have dropped Usman Khawaja at the expense of the in-form Marnus Labuschagne. Khawaja got starts on two occasions but failed to provide significant contributions when the team needed the most.
Amidst swapping and resting the pacers, Mitchell Starc finally has found his name in the 12-man team. However, the choice is between him and Peter Siddle. Everything depends on how the pitch looks on the morning of the match.
Probable XI for Australia: David Warner, Marcus Harris, Steven Smith, Marnus Labuschagne, Travis Head, Matthew Wade, Tim Paine (c & wk), Pat Cummins, Nathan Lyon, Josh Hazlewood, Mitchell Starc/Peter Siddle
NOTE: Pick your fantasy cricket team wisely.
We have opted for a fantasy team on the basis of players’ impact, recent performances, and credit points.
You can also check players’ performances in the last 5 matches. Tap on the players’ names to get the data while making your fantasy team.
My 11: Jonny Bairstow (wk), Steven Smith (c), Joe Root, Rory Burns, David Warner, Marnus Labuschagne, Ben Stokes (vc), Jofra Archer, Pat Cummins, Stuart Broad, Josh Hazlewood
The last time England tasted victory at Old Trafford in The Ashes was in the year 1981. Ever since, Australia have won thrice and drew twice. However, the most famous of them came in the 2005 edition: England were 1 wicket away from victory; Brett Lee and Glenn McGrath survived the last session and pulled off the improbable.
This is The Ashes we are talking about, and with England stealing a victory at Headingley, it becomes more difficult to narrow down the match prediction.
Players to watch out for
Virat Kohli’s duck in the second innings at Sabina Park pushed Steven Smith at the top of the ICC Rankings for batsmen. Mind you, Kohli had scored 72 in the first innings. It’s not his fault, though. Smith has been in a goddamn form ever since his return. He is the highest run-scorer in The Ashes 2019 despite missing the third Test. His 378 runs have come at an average of 126.
Ben Stokes played the innings of his life at Headingley, smashing an unbeaten 135 in a chase of 359. He is also England’s highest run-scorer, having amassed 327 runs at 81.7.
In a meagre 4 Tests at Old Trafford, Joe Root has managed as many as 524 runs including a hundred and 3 fifties. He knows the nook and cranny of the venue.