Deadline: September 12, 2019 at 3:30 PM IST
Venue: Kennington Oval, London
Not many pitches produce Tests as dramatic as the Kennington Oval does. Its conditions are a combination of English and subcontinent: there is lateral movement on the opening day; the batsmen then take charge once the grass starts fading away; and as we head to the final days, the spinners turn a web around the batsmen.
All days, except Sunday, are forecasted to have a bleak weather. We anyway do not expect much from the English weather.
Sam Curran has been sidelined throughout the series. Drafting him in will not only add depth in their batting but also variety in their bowling.
Probable XI for England: Rory Burns, Joe Denly, Joe Root (c), Jason Roy, Ben Stokes, Jonny Bairstow (wk), Jos Buttler, Jofra Archer, Craig Overton/Sam Curran, Stuart Broad, Jack Leach
Australia rested James Pattinson twice and Peter Siddle once. You never know which pacer will make way for either of the two.
Probable XI for Australia: Marcus Harris, David Warner, Marnus Labuschagne Steven Smith, Travis Head, Matthew Wade, Tim Paine (c & wk), Pat Cummins, Mitchell Starc, Nathan Lyon, Josh Hazlewood
NOTE: Pick your fantasy cricket team wisely.
We have opted for a fantasy team on the basis of players’ impact, recent performances, pitch report, and credit points.
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My 11: Tim Paine (wk), Steven Smith (c), Joe Root, Joe Denly, Rory Burns, Marnus Labuschagne, Ben Stokes, Pat Cummins, Stuart Broad, Mitchell Starc (vc), Nathan Lyon/Josh Hazlewood
Australia may have retained The Ashes in England after 18 years, but the series is not yet over. The urn isn’t the only thing they are playing for. If they lose the final Test, the series will end 2-2. This means that they will have as many points as England in the Test Championship table. England are well aware of the fact, and will give their all to end the gruelling series on a high.
Given Australia’s momentum and Steven Smith’s Bradmanesque form, the match prediction tilts in their favour — unless England manage to pull off something improbable the way they did in the third Test.
Players to watch out for
Before The Ashes, Steven Smith’s points read 857 in ICC Test Rankings for batsmen. In a matter of five innings, he has peaked to 937 and is shining atop the table, even dethroning Virat Kohli. He has amassed 671 runs at 134.2. Need we say more?
Despite playing a Test fewer than other mainstay batsmen, Marnus Labuschange is the second-highest run-scorer for Australia, collecting four fifties in five innings.
Rory Burns has been the most consistent English batsmen in the series, although he will be ruing the fact that he gave away his wicket at crucial intervals.
Joe Root has had an ordinary Ashes, scoring at a mere 30.8. If there’s anything consoling for the English captain, it is the fact that he has accumulated 514 runs in 6 Tests at the Kennington Oval.
Mitchell Starc was the last pacer to be picked on the tour. The decision was fair and square as his average read the worst. However, upon return, he made sure he makes full use of the opportunity, blasting a quick fifty at a critical phase and taking a three-wicket haul.
England: Joe Root (c), Jason Roy, Joe Denly, Ben Stokes, Jofra Archer, Sam Curran, Craig Overton, Chris Woakes, Jonny Bairstow (wk), Rory Burns, Jos Buttler, Stuart Broad, Jack Leach
Australia: Marcus Harris, Usman Khawaja, Steven Smith, David Warner, Travis Head, Marnus Labuschagne, Mitchell Marsh, Michael Neser, Tim Paine (c & wk), Cameron Bancroft, Matthew Wade, Pat Cummins, Josh Hazlewood, Nathan Lyon, James Pattinson, Peter Siddle, Mitchell Starc