Australia take on England in the fifth and final Ashes Test at the Optus Stadium in Perth on January 14.Australia have taken an unassailable 3-0 lead in the series. With England having drawn their last Test, the Australian dream of a whitewash in the Ashes crumbled. Having already retained the urn, the Aussies will be looking for a 4-0 result.England, however, will look to salvage at least one victory from the tour and the draw at the Sydney Cricket Ground (SCG) will have instilled some confidence in the down-and-out English camp.
The Aussies have outdone their English counterparts in all the departments in all the Tests so far. Root’s men have looked hapless and haven’t looked at all inspiring.Having won the toss and elected to bat first in the fourth Test at the SCG, the hosts piled up a 416-run total before declaring. Usman Khawaja scored a brilliant century, finishing up with 137 from 260 balls.
Steve Smith also made a handy contribution of 141-ball 67. Stuart Broad was the star with the ball in hand for England with figures of 5/101.The Aussie bowlers then proceeded to knock over the English top-order cheaply. Jonny Bairstow was the star with the bat for the visitors, scoring a scintillating hundred as he scored a 158-ball 113.Ben Stokes also played a crucial knock of 91-ball 66, and Mark Wood contributed with some handy lower-order runs. Scott Boland was the top wicket-taker for the Aussies, claiming figures of 4/36.
In the third innings, the hosts piled on 265 runs. Usman Khawaja scored yet another hundred (138-ball 101) and Cameron Green played a great knock supporting the centurion (122-ball 74).Jack Leach was the highest wicket-taker for the visitors, claiming figures of 4/84.Chasing a mammoth 388-run total, Zak Crawley provided a dream start to England, scoring a 100-ball 77.
Ben Stokes (123-ball 60) and Jonny Bairstow (105-ball 41) kept the visitors in the chase, but as the wickets kept tumbling England had to shut up shop and settle for a draw in a riveting final few overs.Scott Boland once again starred with the ball, claiming figures of 3/30.
AUS VS ENG TEAM PREVIEWS
Australia have clearly endured their share of bad luck with a number of injuries and covid scares they have sustained over the course of this series. Much to their credit, though, they have dealt with those brilliantly and are, therefore, leading the series 3-0. They have undoubtedly been completely dominant in the series and might have had a four-game lead had England not put up a dogged effort in the last match.
Technically and theoretically, there wasn’t much that Australia did wrong in the previous Test, in which they had to settle with a draw. They were aggressive in their approach with batting and bowling both contributing beautifully. Pat Cummins was decisive with his captaincy as he not only marshaled his troops well but also declared at a perfect time in both the innings.
With the ball as well, Cummins has been Australia’s best bowler in the series, even though he has only 14 wickets to show for as his reward. With the surface expected to help the bowlers at Hobart, he will be a major threat once again. Also, at least one of Mitchell Starc and Scott Boland are expected to join Josh Hazlewood on the sidelines, thereby putting more onus on Pat Cummins to do well. In fact, that makes the bet on him to be the best bowler of the match ever more lucrative.
With the bat as well, Australia have done a reasonably good job even with an inconsistent opening pair. While David Warner and Marcus Harris have done a reasonable job at the top, they have underperformed as a pair. With Marnus Labuschagne, Steven Smith, and Usman Khawaja doing well, the inconsistency at the top hasn’t really been a telling factor, as far as the Australians are concerned.
Despite the bowlers looking weary and the likes of Smith and Warner not being at their dominant best, Australia seem to be a well-equipped side. Almost all of their players have had at least one good outing and that has increased the morale of the team. Cameron Green has really helped the side with the batting depth and his presence adds to the confidence of the team. Besides, with Nathan Lyon and Pat Cummins available down the order, who both are no mugs with the bat, Australia have a batting lineup that goes deep.
All in all, Australia have almost everything in order going into the final test of the Ashes 2021. Also, their record in the pink-ball Tests is spotless thus far, having won all of the eight matches they have played. They would need to be watchful of not being complacent and if they do that and manage to perform how they have had in the series, they would be good to score their fourth win of the series.
Even though England have been completely outplayed in the series, including the fourth match, their fans would be pretty content with the kind of performance England managed to put at Sydney. Unlike the case in the first three matches, England were full of commitment and fight at Sydney as they drew the match to keep the series at 3-0.
The primary reason for England’s solid rearguard in the previous match was the combination of fighting knocks from Jonny Bairstow, Zak Crawley, and Ben Stokes. It was refreshing to see players apart from Joe Root contribute with the bat and England would want that to continue. Having said that, there are injury concerns surrounding Bairstow and Stokes and their absence, in case they are not fully fit, could prove to be a massive blow for the visitors. Jos Buttler has already flown home and is likely to be replaced by Sam Billings.
Failing to keep Aussie batting twice on two occasions in the last match, England dearly missed Ollie Robinson in their bowling attack. The news is that he has completely recovered from the shoulder niggle and is expected to make a return to the playing eleven. Despite having played just three matches, he is England’s leading wicket-taker in the series and will hold the key in the upcoming match as well. Mark Wood truly surprised one and all with his durability and given that James Anderson looked slightly rusty at the back-end of the Sydney Test, Ollie Robinson is expected to come in place of Anderson in this upcoming match. Also, given his recent record, a bet on him to be the best bowler of the match for England seems to be a pretty good option.
Even though there were plenty of positives for England in the previous match, there are a number of things they’ll need to work upon going into the next match. First and foremost, Haseeb Hameed has been nothing more than a walking wicket at the top and we might well see him sitting out in the next match. Apart from that, England will need to be a bit more attacking than they have been so as to assert themselves on the Aussies right from the word go. Also, if Ben Stokes plays this match solely as a batsman, England will be a bowler short and that could prove to be a major factor, given that England didn’t really have a great time with the ball in the previous match too.
On paper, England have a decent unit but adapting well to the conditions and executing perfectly will be key in this upcoming contest. They have a bowling attack that thrives on movement in the air and this pink-ball match will present them with the best opportunity. They’d need to use the conditions to their advantage right from the outset and if their senior statesmen get going, they would certainly prove to be a much more difficult side to get past than they have been in the series so far.
AUSTRALIA VS ENGLAND, 5TH TEST MATCH DETAILS:
Match: Australia vs England, fifth Test
Date: January 14-18, 2022
Time: 8:00 AM IST
Venue: Optus Stadium, Perth
AUSTRALIA VS ENGLAND, 5TH TEST PITCH REPORT
The quicker bowlers will dictate terms with the new ball, while the wicket is expected to slow down and become easier for batting as the game progresses.
The batters need to be patient at the onset and can play their shots with much more freedom once they are settled.
Optus Stadium has hosted 13 Test matches so far out of which only two ended in a draw. We can expect a result in this game.
AUSTRALIA VS ENGLAND, 5TH TEST WEATHER REPORT
Partly overcast conditions are expected to be a feature of opening day. Temperatures are expected to range between 18 and 27 degrees Celsius on the opening day.
No rain is expected throughout the five days.
AUSTRALIA VS ENGLAND, 5TH TEST PROBABLE XI
David Warner has been a class apart at the top of the order. Steve Smith and Marnus Labuschagne have gone about their business as usual in the middle order.
The twin hundreds from Usman Khwaja at the SCG were an absolute spectacle. Pat Cummins and Mitchell Starc continue to give nightmares to opposition batters.
- David Warner
- Usman Khwaja
- Steve Smith
- Marnus Labuschagne
- Travis Head
- Alex Carey (wk)
- Cameron Green
- Pat Cummins (c)
- Scott Boland
- Mitchell Starc
- Nathan Lyon.
The English openers have been in all sorts of trouble this summer. Zak Crawley seems to have found his groove and looked comfortable in his last outing. Joe Root, as usual, has been the pillar of the English batting.
Jonny Bairstow was the stand-out performer with the bat in the previous Test. Veterans Stuart Broad and James Anderson have been impressive with the ball.
AUSTRALIA VS ENGLAND, 5TH TEST MATCH PREDICTION
- Haseeb Hameed
- Zak Crawley
- Joe Root (c)
- Dawid Malan
- Jonny Bairstow
- Sam Billings
- Ollie Pope (wk)
- Ollie Robinson
- Stuart Broad
- James Anderson
- Jack Leach.
England have seemed to be in deep trouble throughout the tour. Based on current form, the hosts are favorites to finish on top in this encounter.
The Three Lions, however, managed to salvage a draw at the SCG and will have drawn some confidence from that.