Melbourne. England’s Test captain Joe Root is hopeful that his team will win the Boxing Day Test. That’s why he has made four changes in the playing XI, which will set the stage for his team. England had lost the opening Test at the Gabba by nine wickets and then by 275 runs at the Adelaide Oval. There will also be a fear of losing the series to Root’s team at the Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG) from 26 December.
Despite the efforts of Root and number three batsman David Malan, England have not scored many runs on the score board, giving their bowlers a chance to make a comeback.
Pat Cummins is now ready to lead Australia after missing the last match. England will once again face a formidable bowling attack that will feature the captain himself, Mitchell Starc, Test debutant Scott Boland, Cameron Greene and spinner Nathan Lyon.
England will be hoping to regain their batting form like in the 2017 Boxing Day Test, winning at the MCG at all costs if they want to prevent the hosts from winning the series.
The England bowlers have been good in bowling so far. However, with many opportunities being missed, his strategy has failed. But still players like Stuart Broad, James Anderson and Ollie Robinson have given good starts.
The Aussies will be desperate to win the MCG and take the Ashes to their name. After being ruled out of the Adelaide Test, Cummins will return as captain. At the same time, Smith will once again be seen in the role of the vice-captain.
Despite the burden of captaincy, Smith did well in the first innings at Adelaide, scoring 93 runs, while openers David Warner (95) and Marnus Labuschagne (103) played brilliantly. After this performance, Labuschagne became the No. 1 batsman in the ICC Batting Test Rankings.
Australia registered a massive 275-run victory over England in the Adelaide Test.
Labuschagne is the fifth fastest player to score 2,000 Test runs. The right-handed batsman provides strength to the No. 3 Kangaroos as runs through shots all around while avoiding danger on the new ball.
England have no effective plan to get the 27-year-old out. The MCG pitch is likely to help the batsmen.
England’s hopes rest on Root and No. 3 Malan, who have been doing well for their team in a disappointing series so far. Malan has made two century partnerships with his captain in the first two matches. During this, he has scored 82 and 80 runs.
The two teams are as follows:
Australia Squad: David Warner, Marcus Harris, Marnus Labuschagne, Steve Smith, Travis Head, Cameron Green, Alex Carey (wk), Pat Cummins (c), Mitchell Starc, Nathan Lyon, Scott Boland.
England Squad: Haseeb Hameed, Jacques Crowley, David Malan, Joe Root (captain), Ben Stokes, Jonny Bairstow, Jos Buttler (wk), Mark Wood, Olly Robinson, Jack Leach, James Anderson. (IANS)
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