Before we look forward, we must look back.
An unchanged England were absolutely pummelled by Australia in the second Ashes test at Lords. Australia made two changes from the first test- Haddin and Watson out for Mitchell Marsh (no relation…) and Peter Nevill. Nothing seemed to go their way, however. First, they lost the toss on a batsman’s paradise, then soon after Moeen Ali got Warner out for 38. Steve Smith and Chris Rodgers then quickly set about putting England to the sword. Rodgers was eventually bowled by Broad for 173, with Smith being trapped LBW by the part-time offspin of Joe Root. Nevill, on debut, made the only other major amount of runs, scoring an impressive 45 (59). Australia finally declared halfway through day 2 on 566-8, with Stuart Broad being the pick of the English bowlers with 27-5-83-4. (27 overs, 5 maidens, 83 runs conceded and taking 4 wickets).
The English reply didn’t get off to a good start. Adam Lyth was out second ball, caught behind (giving Peter Nevill a world record for fastest caught behind on debut), and this only got worse, with England falling to 30/4. Alastair Cook and Ben Stokes saw out the end of day 2, with England a long way off avoiding the follow on. When Cook (96) and Stokes (87) were dismissed, England looked in serious trouble, and indeed failed to avoid the follow-on. This did not matter, however, as Australia decided to bat again. In less than 50 overs, they put on 248/2, with Chris Rodgers retired from the match hurt after having a dizzy spell while at the crease. After the tragic death of Phil Hughes last year, this was the right call. When England went to bat again they imploded. Once again the first four wickets went down for less than 50, (this time 48) and this collapse continued. England 101 all out, and Australia winning by a massive 405 runs.
The England squad for the third test was announced yesterday, with one change made. Gary Ballance is replaced by Yorkshire team-mate Jonny Bairstow. Bairstow is scoring for fun right now and new England coach Trevor Bayliss has said that Ian Bell will bat at 3, Joe Root at 4 and Bairstow at 5. This is a positive change for England as this change was needed, although I feel that Bell should have and would have been dropped were this test not at his home ground. James Anderson had a bad game at Lords, but won’t be dropped as he is too good. Broad is playing fantastically well with the ball right now, and Wood has also been good, so I wouldn’t change them, Stokes is still in good form right now apart from a sloppy run out in the second innings at Lords. So I expect that the England team for the third test match will be…
Lyth, Cook (c), Bell, Root, Bairstow, Stokes, Buttler (wk), Moeen, Broad, Wood, Anderson.
However, there are calls for a second spinner to be put in for this match. If this was the case then I suspect that Mark Wood would be the unfortunate one to drop out of the team for Adil Rashid.
The third test begins on the 29th of July.