The Ashes is alive and now heading to MCG…thanks to the schedule. In the last two series Australia had all its matches played before Christmas, but with two Tests in the New Year this iconic contest was always going to have plenty riding on it regardless of the results in the first two games.
And what has happened is that England have been shattered under pressure. Sydney, the venue for the fourth Test, has not had an Ashes Test without the urn retained since 1994-95 and it would be an incredibly brave or stupid person to think it will come the first week of January.
Almost all things have gone in the favor of Australia barring the lack of runs for Marcus Harris. And it’s still possible to say that even though their captain, Pat Cummins, was ruled out on the morning of a Test as a Covid close contact. The manner in which they won the second Test with half their first-choice attack missing and a stand-in skipper (of course an experienced one) was an encouraging sign for the way this team is developing.
England, however, have barely threatened to them to take away the game so far. When there was a glimpse of the batting wobbling in Brisbane Travis Head slammed the door shut with a quickfire century. When England briefly fought back on the second day in Adelaide, Alex Carey’s maiden Test fifty helped repel them. When Joe Root and Dawid Malan posed a counterattack on the third day, Mitchell Starc, Nathan Lyon and Cameron Green didn’t let it happen.
What England need this time is something similar to the spirit of 1998-99 when they arrived 2-0 down (Australia had retained the Ashes) and having been humiliated by Australia A but through the performances of Alec Stewart, Darren Gough and Dean Headley among others they fought back for a remarkable 12-run victory. Anything less than a win and the Ashes are gone with criticism to follow.
“The first thing you’ve got to wrap your head around playing at the MCG is you’ll have to bowl a lot of overs more often than not and he does that really well,” Cummins said. “The Shield game they won against New South Wales, think he bowled 50 overs. His pace stays up, he’s always at you, bowls really well to left handers.
Asks a lot of questions around that fourth stump, knee roll, a bit of nibble each way. He’s just really well suited here. We earmarked him as a chance for SCG and here, we feel he’s really well suited. His record speaks for itself here in domestic cricket.”
Avishkar Govardhane is a Sports Editor and enthusiast, working here at Clout News covering the latest Cricket News.