The third Ashes test match between Australia and England will be played
on Thursday at Birmingham and the eyes will be on the selections of both
the teams. However, being down 0-1, Australia will need to fight hard to
get the momentum back, while England will look to overcome the gaping hole made
by the absence of the injured Kevin Pietersen.
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Australia looked like they were on the verge of making it 1-0 at Cardiff, instead
they go into the third test match down, because of a horrendous first couple
of days at Lord's. Their batting failed at crucial junctures, where as the bowling
lacked bite in the absence of Brett Lee and Mitchell Johnson's lack of
form wouldn't have helped either. In fact, if the tour game against Northamptonshire
is anything to go by, Australia may look to add Shane Watson and Stuart
Clark to their side, in all probabilities at the expense of opener, Phil
Hughes and Johnson.
Watson, on his part, provides the Aussies with an extra option of bowling,
especially after they have already shown the tendency to struggle to take 20
wickets. His inclusion and a few overs through the day will help the Aussie
bowlers in getting the desired rest before embarking upon a spell or two.
Hughes lack of feet against the short delivery could see him being replaced
by Watson, especially given that Steve Harmison, who had so wonderfully
exposed the left-handed batsman, will play his first game in the series.
For England, the batting will be a worry. Simply because, Ravi Bopara
hasn't looked like owning the number three slot, and Pietersen's replacement,
Ian Bell hasn't looked too confident in the preceding first class games.
This could mean that there is a shuffle in the batting order, which is on cards,
but that could end up getting Paul Collingwood higher up the order, a
move that he may not be too comfortable with.
The other change that England will definitely want to make to their
side will be to get in Harmison. He has already announced that the Ashes will
be his last series, and he looks to be blowing hot in the first class circuit;
having even tested the Aussie team in the England Lions game. His inclusion
will give Andrew Flintoff the much needed support as a front-line bowler,
though the English will hope that his form does not fall apart much like the
previous edition of the Ashes in Aussie-land!