- Australia have already won the series and lead 3-0
- Travis Head has tested positive for Covid
- Mitchell Marsh, Nic Maddinson or Josh Inglis could replace him
Time: 10:30 AM
Venue: Sydney Cricket Ground
Weather: 80% chance of rain with light winds become easterly 15-25 km/h during the day 22-29 C
Now that the Ashes series has been won by Australia let’s look at some basic stats. Australia has a team batting average of 36.28 per wicket and England has an average of 17.08 per wicket which means that the hosts have played twice as well as the visitors. Having witnessed the first three Tests, this strikes me as being true and it’s hard to see how this will change. Perhaps Covid-19 will have a say because Travis Head is out, although there are many talented batters in line to replace him.
England have launched into a round of recriminations and soul searching but it won’t do them any good. Joe Root is still producing with the bat but there is little else that is going well at the moment. Perhaps telling some of the more attacking players that they have licence to hit big shots could make this a different game for them. I just don’t know how they’ll take 20 wickets here given the shoddy fielding performances so far this summer.
The SCG produces a great atmosphere on the first day of play but the playing conditions are now pretty similar to the rest of the Australian grounds. India produced some batting heroics here last year so the wicket should be good to score on throughout the Test Match. Sydney can be humid at this time of year which is good for the swing bowlers and the pitch can break up and produce a spin-friendly wicket as well.
Australia to win by 5 wickets or 150 runs.
Perhaps we might be in for a more experimental lineup in Sydney now that the job has been done and the only concern is who is going to replace Travis Head? I’d say Mitchell Marsh will probably be selected to replace him but Nic Maddinson and Josh Inglis would just be as viable. The fast bowlers have enjoyed the overly cautious approach of the English batters and Scott Boland was a Boxing Day Test revelation. Nathan Lyon is averaging 21 per wicket but he is only in 5th place in the bowling averages for Australia. Another 5-0 whitewash looks likely.
Marnus Labuschagne has become one of the most valuable batters in the world and he is the leading run scorer in the series with 532 runs. He will be looking to improve on his one run tally in Melbourne and he looks likely to score big runs here on a friendly wicket.
David Warner was facing calls to end his career a few months ago and he is firmly back at the top of the batting average with an average of 60. He’s very hungry to score a hundred because he has developed the habit of getting out in the 90s but his class should get him over the line.
Mitchell Starc might be a surprise inclusion on this list but his average of 58 during this series has provided stability with the tailenders. He is a headache for the English bowlers who are tiring and his strike rate of 73 runs per 100 balls just piles on the pain.
Scott Boland has become an instant folk hero after claiming six wickets at the MCG on the final day and the Sydney wicket should prove friendly to his style of bowling. He now has the lowest bowling average for the series with an average of just 7 runs per wicket and shouldn’t be a one-Test wonder.
Cameron Green is now in 2nd place in the bowling averages and he has now solidified his place in the Australian team this summer. He has good endurance and consistency and while he hasn’t been the centre of attention in this series, he has earned the respect of all who follow the game.
Pat Cummins is now known as Captain Pat and his bowling has been highly consistent when he has been able to play. The endless pressure that he brings to the batters forces errors which result in uncertain pokes and easy chances behind the wicket. A class act and a real leader.
Only three players can be said to be performing up to the required standard and they are Joe Root, Jimmy Anderson and Ollie Robinson. Has the time for experimentation arrived? There are plenty who deserve to be dropped but I can’t see their replacements doing any better. Joe Root’s captaincy will probably not survive this series but his batting has been commendable. Ollie Robinson and Jimmy Anderson were good in Melbourne but the lack of touring games means the English team is facing a monumental battle for credibility. All they can do now is just play for the sake of their own pride. Perhaps one of the England batters can score a century this summer?
Joe Root has done all he can with the bat but his average of 42 hasn’t been enough to turn around the fortunes of his team. He looks comfortable with the bat in Australian conditions but this might be his refuge from the barrage of criticism that he is now under for his captaincy.
Dawid Malan has also acquitted himself well after a good start but the consistent fast bowling that he is facing from the Australians is starting to wear him down. None of the top order batters has hit a six yet in the series for England.
Chris Woakes provides good late order support with his batting which somewhat makes up for his disastrous bowling form. He has been cautious at the wicket this summer and a more expansive approach could lift England’s morale and dent the Australian’s confidence.
Jim Anderson has silenced the critics yet again which he loves doing and has shown that consistent line and length bowling will take wickets against any batting lineup. He will enjoy his last game at the SCG because the wicket does produce good movement and bounce these days.
Ollie Robinson has made himself hard to drop from the team and his style of bowling is very Australian with reliance on the high bounce that comes from his height. He’s smart enough to avoid bowling too many bouncers because his pace isn’t the greatest and can be dealt with quite easily by the Australian batters.
Mark Wood has shown good pace and he has made the Australian batters look comfortable at times. I think he’s due for a big day out and he looks a likely candidate to collect 5 wickets in an innings very soon because he has been bowling without luck.
Australia v England: Best Market Odds
Australia are $2.07 and England are $9.50 with the draw result being $1.94 on TopSport
Australia v England: Best Bet
Dave Warner to score a century on TopSport
Australia v England: Best Multi
Dave Warner to score a century.
Mitchell Starc to take the most wickets for Australia.
Ollie Robinson to take the most wickets for England.
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