Australia’s fast bowler Josh Hazlewood will return this week to try to help Australia win the Ashes series against England at Old Trafford with a match to spare. On Tuesday, captain Pat Cummins stated that the top five batsmen will remain but that they are considering not playing rookie spinner Todd Murphy.
This might result in the recall of first-choice allrounder Cameron Green, who is fit after missing the third test at Headingley due to a hamstring injury. Mitch Marsh came in for Green and produced a stunning century, giving the selectors a problem. The toss on Wednesday will choose Australia’s team. Despite losing by three wickets at Headingley, Australia leads the series 2-1.
After getting no wickets in Leeds, Scott Boland will be replaced by Hazlewood. Boland had only two wickets in the series after winning the first game at Edgbaston. Hazlewood has eight wickets after playing in the second Lord’s victory. However, he was rested from Headingley in order to manage his workload.
David Warner will continue to open if he maintains his position in the top five. Warner is averaging 23.5 runs per game in six innings, but he has helped Usman Khawaja open partnerships of 61, 73, and 63.
“Warner has been going really well,” added Cummins. “I felt he was pretty impressive at Lord’s. Like many of us, he probably didn’t contribute as much as he would have liked with the bat last week.
“He’s been out there putting in a lot of work over the last couple of days, but I think this tour he’s shown a lot of good signs but hasn’t quite kicked on to make that big score.” Some of the innings he’s pitched under extremely difficult conditions have made it simple for (Steve) Smith to come in and score runs or the like.”
Australia has not played a test without a frontline slow bowler since January 2012, but with Nathan Lyon injured and Murphy considered more expendable, the side was pondering a big alteration in the balance. Playing Green and Marsh will improve their batting but limit their fielding options. Travis Head’s spin will have to supplement an all-seam attack.
Murphy only bowled 9.3 overs for a single wicket at Headingley.
“It’s all really conditional,” Cummins explained. “I would have liked to bowl him a few more overs, but there weren’t a lot of overs in the game, and the ball seemed to swing and seam a little bit, so that’s something to think about this week.”
Manchester experienced heavy rain for the whole of Tuesday, which was expected to dissipate by early Wednesday. However, rain was expected to return on Saturday.
With a damp weekend in Manchester, England captain Ben Stokes stated he was open to gambling throughout the game because they needed to win again to force a series decider at the Oval.
“With the weather that’s predicted, it might bring out more of us again, knowing that we might have to push the game on even more than we normally do,” Stokes added.
England revealed its squad on Monday and made only one change, recalling James Anderson at home in place of Ollie Robinson.
Anderson has only taken three wickets at an average of 75 in the first two tests, but Stokes believes his importance extends beyond wickets.
“When you’re a quality performer like Jimmy has been for the last 10 years, he’s going to be disappointed that he’s not contributed to the team like he normally does,” Stokes said.
“But I did tell him, ‘Even if you’re not taking wickets like you want to, you can see the pressure you’re putting on the opposition at the other end.'”
“He holds an end up despite not having a primary obligation with the ball.” You don’t get as many wickets as him without having a bad game every now and then; there are no problems with Jimmy.”
Anderson hopes to make an impression in the Ashes.
Will James Anderson bowl from the James Anderson End at Old Trafford one last time this week? Regardless of emotion, the decision is likely to be determined by the England pacer’s performance in the fourth Ashes Test against Australia, which begins on Wednesday in Manchester. Anderson has never gone into a Test in England with a significant point to prove in a high-stakes match, at least not in the last decade of his illustrious career.
But as he approaches his 41st birthday on July 30, Anderson finds himself in exactly that predicament. It may seem weird for a bowler who is 12 wickets short of 700 after 181 Tests, but by collecting only three wickets in the first two Tests at an average of 75.33 before being rested for the third, he has exposed himself to some criticism. Of course, he has had his fair share of harsh criticism on away tours, but Anderson, a brilliant exponent of swing bowling, has rarely disappointed in his own backyard. Anderson is so cunning and brutal in his native England that he is sometimes mistakenly labeled a “home bully.”
Anderson’s current situation indicates that he did not make the error of presuming automatic selection in front of his home crowd at Old Trafford. Despite England captain Ben Stokes’ explanation for Anderson’s absence from the third Test in Headingley, the bowler might “charge in from the James Anderson End at Old Trafford next week.”
“I know I’m not guaranteed to play the next Test, and I will completely understand if they want to stick with the winning team,” Anderson wrote in a Telegraph column before his participation was announced on Tuesday in place of Ollie Robinson.
Anderson will be driven to play his role in a series loaded with intrigue and narrative twists now that England has decided to experiment with the winning mix. To be fair, the pitches he received in the first two games did not help him. Neither the Edgbaston nor Lord’s surfaces suited Anderson’s typical strength of throwing the ball up and extracting movement in either direction. As hell-bent on Bazball as England is, the pitches were instead customized to the demands of their attacking hitters.
Anderson expressed his disgust after the first Test, stating the pitch in Edgbaston was “kryptonite” for him. If he only took one wicket at Lord’s, his performance there was only marginally better, with a wicket in each innings.
“I don’t recall having two such quiet games in a row in at least the last ten years,” Anderson wrote in his column. “I feel like I’ve always made a contribution at some point.” But I don’t think I’m bowling particularly poorly; I’m just going through a dry spell, which you don’t want to happen in an Ashes series. I’m not going to criticize the pitch any further. They haven’t worked out for me thus far, but I’ve found ways to gain wickets on flat surfaces in the past. At the time, I was just not getting it.”
Old Trafford should help Anderson recapture that knack, according to history. Anderson has 37 scalps at an average of 22.02 in 10 Tests at the venue, including match statistics of 6/62 in a thrashing victory over South Africa last year. England’s thinking surrounding the type of pitches they desire has shifted significantly since the arrival of Stokes and coach Brendon McCullum, but Anderson should still be able to find a way.
Despite recent concerns about batting-friendly grounds in England, Anderson has taken 30 wickets in eight home Tests at an average of 23.43 since May 2022.
Anderson’s brief vacation may have also helped him gain perspective. “Looking back on the first two games, I was way too serious and intense,” Anderson admitted. “The series is now live, and it’s been an honor to be a part of it. I’d love to contribute again.” It’s something I’ve done for a long time: show up when the team needs me and put in a game-changing effort.”
If Anderson can do it this week, he might be back at Old Trafford for another Test next summer.
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