England vs Australia 3rd Ashes Test: Preview and Prediction
The highly anticipated third Test of the Ashes 2023 series is set to kick off on Thursday, with the hosts finding themselves in a dire situation and desperately needing a victory. Australia currently leads the five-match series 2-0 after securing nail-biting wins at Edgbaston and Lord’s.
For England to reclaim the coveted Ashes from Australia, they will have to triumph in all three remaining Tests, starting with the upcoming clash at Headingley. The team’s determination and ability to regroup will be put to the test as they strive to turn the tide in their favor.
The English bowlers rallied well in the second innings of the 2nd Test, restricting Australia to 279. However, it was not enough, and strike bowler James Anderson’s form has come under constant scrutiny with the veteran picking up only 3 wickets in 77 overs thus far.
The Australians on the other hand, will be delighted with the way things have gone thus far and will be looking to wrap up the series Steve Smith returned to form with a hundred in the 2nd Test while Usman Khawaja also got a big score in the second innings. England does have the talent to pull off a remarkable turnaround and will be looking at captain Ben Stokes to play a starring role.
What has happened so far?
The previous Test at Lord’s was filled with controversy and thrilling moments, including an exceptional performance by Ben Stokes reminiscent of his heroic Headingley innings against Australia four years ago. Despite falling short of victory, England’s fighting spirit was evident, and they will aim to carry that momentum into the upcoming match.
England’s chances of staging a comeback rely on addressing some key areas of improvement. The team has been criticized for its aggressive approach, known as the “Bazball” strategy, and there have been questions surrounding the selection choices made by the management.
The third test can be expected to produce some much-needed personnel decisions. Ollie Pope’s injury means that Moeen Ali and Mark Wood can be expected to return. A decision between Josh Tongue and James Anderson might also be made, with the former producing the most wickets alongside Stuart Broad in this series.
The Australians have relied on their pace attack to produce regular wickets so far. With the Headingley pitch expected to turn especially at later stages, the absence of Nathan Lyon might prove impactful. Still, coming to the Ashes off the back of the WTC Final victory, the Australians will be confident of wrapping up the series comfortably.
The two great cricketing nations have come up against each other a whopping 358 times in Test Cricket thus far. Australia, owing to their victories in the first two tests, has now won 152 times against the English. The England Cricket Team on the other hand has won just 110 matches, with the rest of the 96 matches ending in draws.
Ben Stokes’ team is lagging behind in the head-to-head by a comprehensive margin. They will be looking to kickstart their Ashes 2023 comeback by registering their first win at Headingley.
Joe Root (England): The England team has struggled with their batting. Star batsman Joe Root scored a grand total of 28 runs in the second test which allowed Australia to take control in both the innings. Root has been in prime form recently and was terrific in the first game.
He scored a commanding unbeaten 118 in the first innings and also contributed with a 50 in the second. With the Headingley pitch expected to make things tough for batsmen, England fans will be looking at their talismanic batter to deliver once again.
Usman Khawaja (Australia): Usman Khawaja has led the Australian batting from the front in the series so far. He is the top scorer in the tournament so far, having amassed 300 runs in two matches. Khawaja has been crucial for the bright starts Australia has enjoyed in the series thus far.
He followed up his century in the first test with a 187-ball 77 in the second innings last time around. Alongside David Warner, Khawaja will once again be expected to help his team build the right foundation in the third test.
Australia: David Warner, Usman Khawaja, Marnus Labuschagne, Steven Smith, Travis Head, Cameron Green, Alex Carey (wk), Pat Cummins ©, Todd Murphy Josh Hazlewood, Mitchell Starc
England: Ben Duckett, Zak Crawley, Ollie Pope, Joe Root, Harry Brook, Ben Stokes ©, Jonny Bairstow (wk), Stuart Broad, Ollie Robinson, Mark Wood, Josh Tongue
The Australians have been clearly the more dominant side in the Ashes 2023 series so far. They have expertly controlled sessions and have seen their top performers deliver with both the bat and the ball. Australia comes into the third game with all signs pointing at another victory.
At the same time, the ever-impressive England cricket team has been put under immense pressure right from the start. They need their best players to rally and are expected to make multiple changes to the playing XI for the third test.
We expect a much more closely-contested game due to the series being at stake. England is playing at home and can be expected to mount some form of fightback with respect to the series.