The third Test of the mega Ashes 2021-22 is all set to start from December 26 at Melbourne Cricket Ground, Melbourne. Australia are already 2-0 up in the five-match Test series and will look to seal the series at MCG. Joe Root and England are under a lot of pressure after back-to-back defeats. Those losses were characterised by batting collapses compounded by poor bowling and fielding with the visitors looking to stop the rot by shaking up the team.
Both teams have already announced their playing XIs as Australia have made a couple of changes. Jhye Richardson and Michael Nesser missed out after making their debut in Adelaide. Meanwhile Scott Boland will get his Test debut after a much-awaited time.
While England have also announced their XI and ring in several changes. After strings of low scores, Rory Burns was dropped for Zack Crawley, while Jonny Bairstow returned to the XI in place of Ollie Pope. After poor bowling efforts in Adelaide, England brought back Jack Leach and Mark Wood for Stuart Broad and Chris Woakes.
On the Australian side, they’ll be the favourites to win at the MCG and retain the Ashes, with only a historically docile MCG wicket seemingly in their way. The Ashes Test four years ago saw the now-retired Alastair Cook smash an unbeaten 244 across Day 2 and 3. Either side of Cook’s fifth and final Test double-ton, David Warner and Steve Smith also made hundreds, with the match ending in a tame draw.
Smith with the bat looked in good touch even with the burden of captaincy, making 93 in the first innings in Adelaide, complementing the work of David Warner (95) and Marnus Labuschagne (103), who also made a half-century in the second innings. The performance moved Labuschagne to the ICC Test No.1 ranking for batting.Australia have a strong lead of 2-0 over England in the ongoing Ashes series. Another Ashes series loss looms large for England if they don’t perform to their potential in the upcoming Test to be played at the Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG) from December 26.
Australia have been brutal in the series so far. After completing a thumping nine-wicket win in the first Test at the Gabba, they continued performing in the same way in the next game at the Adelaide Oval.
With Pat Cummins ruled out hours before the Test, the captaincy was handed over to Steve Smith, who won the toss and elected to bat first. On the back of a century from Marnus Labuschagne and fifties from David Warner (95), Steve Smith (93) and Alex Carey (51), the hosts declared their innings on 473. The bowlers then stepped up to knock over the Poms on 236.
Labuschagne notched up a fifty in the second innings and was well-supported by Travis Head (51) as they scored 230 and declared, setting a target of 468 for the Englishmen. Root’s men tried hard to salvage a draw but the hosts were too good with the pink ball. Australia knocked over the Poms on 192, winning the game by 275 runs.
It was a very good all-round performance from the Aussies and they will be hoping to seal the series in the third Test itself. England, on the other hand, need to be at their absolute best to keep the series alive.
AUSTRALIA VS ENGLAND MATCH DETAILS:
Match: Australia vs England, 3rd Test, Ashes 2021-22
Date and Time: December 26th 2021, Sunday, 05:00 AM IST
Venue: Melbourne Cricket Ground, Melbourne
AUSTRALIA VS ENGLAND PITCH REPORT
The pitch at Melbourne Cricket Ground is a balanced track. The curator has left grass on the wicket, meaning it will assist the seamers from both sides.
AUSTRALIA VS ENGLAND WEATHER FORECAST
The temperature in Melbourne on the opening day of the Test is expected to hover between 13 and 19 degrees Celsius. A full game is on the cards as no rain is predicted over the next five days.
AUSTRALIA VS ENGLAND PROBABLE XIS
Marnus Labuschagne has been brilliant for the hosts, scoring runs for fun. He has been well-supported by other batters so far. The bowlers have delivered, picking up 20 wickets in each of the Tests. Pat Cummins is expected to lead his side for the Boxing Day Test.
- David Warner
- Marcus Harris
- Marnus Labuschagne
- Steve Smith
- Travis Head
- Cameron Green
- Alex Carey (wk)
- Pat Cummins (c)
- Mitchell Starc
- Jhye Richardson
- Josh Hazlewood
- Nathan Lyon
Nothing has gone right for Root’s men in the series so far. The bowlers have struggled and need to deliver to stand any chance in the series. Joe Root and Dawid Malan have looked good in phases but need some consistent contributions from other batters to keep the series alive.
AUSTRALIA VS ENGLAND MATCH PREDICTION
- Rory Burns
- Haseeb Hameed
- Dawid Malan
- Joe Root (c)
- Ben Stokes
- Ollie Pope
- Jos Buttler (wk)
- Stuart Broad
- Mark Wood
- Jack Leach
- James Anderson
Australia have been brilliant in the Ashes so far and look on course to retain the urn. The Englishmen can’t afford to make any mistakes and need absolute team effort if they want to keep the series alive.
Australia have a good balance to their side and are expected to retain the urn in the third Test itself.
Prediction: Australia to win this encounter.