hobart test
Hobart Test: Fifth Ashes Test Australia vs England

Friday, 14th December (day / night)
Bellerive Oval, Hobart

Hobart will host its first ever Ashes Test Match and it will be played under flights with the pink ball. This should bring the swing bowlers into the game and plenty of wickets should come from the fielders behind the wicket. Hobart has similar weather conditions to southern England and this should help the English bowlers get through their spells. Scoring runs during the day time shouldn’t be too difficult, but the challenges come when the lights are turned on.

Australia had plenty of opportunities to win in Sydney but a more pressing concern is whether Khawaja should be dropped for Head. That would be a very brave decision by the selectors because Khawaja played to his full potential in Sydney… but it’s a good problem to have. Cummins is captaining well so long as he doesn’t let things get personal when he’s bowling. And Boland has been the find of the summer. I don’t think the Australians will let their ordinary day in the field on the final day in Sydney get to them.

England seemed to be somewhat rejuvenated and they put in a more respectable performance in Sydney. A number of batters showed good resolve after being hit and it was good to see Jack Leach in the wickets after a torrid summer. This will be Anderson and Broad’s last game in Australia and they’ll enjoy using the pink ball in Hobart. They’re very difficult to keep out once they strike the right length and both bowlers have plenty to say when things are going their way.

Australia to win by 3 wickets or 100 runs.

Hobart Test: Australia

Batting

Usman Khawaja had the game of his life in Sydney with a century in each innings and this makes him very hard to drop. A classy left hander who waits for the ball to come to the bat, he looks like nothing can stop him when he is in form and if he isn’t dropped then that can only spell more trouble for the tired English bowlers.

Steve Smith might not be regarded as Australia’s premier batter anymore but there are plenty of runs left in him. Regardless of his funky technique, he has matured into a highly mature batter who almost always contributes runs and is known for making good decisions with the bat. He’s one who knows when to hold them and when to fold them.

Bowling

Pat Cummins had only one period in Sydney when the pressure showed and that was when he was trying to bowl at the batters in the second innings for a few overs. Apart from that he had a superb game and he has now become a well respected captain. A bowler of his class should take wickets with the pink ball in Hobart.

Scott Boland looked like the match winner in Sydney until a couple of dropped catches swung fortunes away from Australia. With a bit more support from the slips fielders he should be able to pick up plenty of wickets and he’ll love the opportunity to bowl with the pink ball under lights.

Nathan Lyon for once couldn’t quite take out the opposition tailenders, but his class was shown with 4 wickets for the match. Perhaps conditions in Hobart might not be that suitable for him but he can still do Australia a massive favour by keeping the run rate down and giving the other bowlers a break.

Hobart Test: England

Batting

Jonathan Bairstow scored England’s first century of the series and he was the difference between defeat and a very tense draw. Wicketkeepers are the most important members of any cricket team and his fighting spirit will ensure every other player shows the proper resolve which has been missing this summer.

Ben Stokes had a welcome return to form in Sydney but the pain and frustration of his dismissal in the second innings was on full display. He just hasn’t put it together this summer but the signs are there that he can score heavily in Hobart due to the tenacity and timing with the bat he showed at the SCG.

Zak Crawley showed his worth at the top of the order with 77 off 100 balls in the second innings in Sydney. He is capable of scoring a century in Hobart because he has the talent and the English-style conditions should suit him as well. His highest score in Tests is 267, so obviously he can bat.

Bowling

Stuart Broad’s last game on Australian soil will ensure that he has plenty of motivation and his five wickets in the first innings in Sydney was a classic effort from him. His reliance on swing, accuracy and his spicy personality meant that he was causing the Australian batters problems throughout the game. Expect a repeat performance here.

Jack Leach had bowled only one maiden in the entire series before Sydney but he turned that around with 4 for 84 in the second innings. If he can lure the Aussie batters into playing false shots then he’ll collect wickets.

Mark Wood has the pace to trouble any batting lineup when he’s presented with the right wicket and the Hobart wicket can be bouncy. He should also enjoy the chance to bowl in cool and moderate conditions and the pink ball at night should be able to swing for him as well.

Hobart Test: Betting Odds

Australia $1.50
England $5.40
Draw $4.60
TopSport

Hobart Test: Best Bets

Pat Cummins to take the most wickets for Australia (first innings): $3.50 with TopSport
Stuart Broad to take the most wickets for England (first innings): $3.75 with TopSport

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