The Ashes 2017/18 at the halfway stage – England or Australia in the driving seat?

A hundred for Jonny Bairstow in the First Innings for England - 3rd Ashes Test
©Reuters
 

We are halfway through the Ashes series 2017/18 and, although Australia are 2- 0 up in the series, England are fighting back in the Third Test at Perth.

For England, it has been a disappointing start to the series with issues both on and off the field and question marks for the management Team not only over player selection and performances but also on managing the players off the field.

Former England batsmanIan Bell commented in a recent article before the 3rd Test – “Trevor Bayliss has said he’ll make changes, to remove the drinkers and disrupters – but he also needs to get rid of the duds.

At Perth, which was my home ground last season, you need an exceptional batting performance to have a chance, not just steady and on par – which is something we’ve struggled to achieve as it is.

The Ashes are at stake in this Test, so there has to be changes.

We have too many left-handers, which isn’t working against Nathan Lyon, so I’d move Dawid Malan to three, even though it’s not his natural position.

He’s played quite cautiously so far, but if you can get the top three working, and through the new ball, we’ll have a chance.

That would mean dropping James Vince, and getting Ben Foakes to keep wicket.

I’d also move Jonny Bairstow up the order to five, to give him the opportunity to bat with the batters, rather than stuck with the weak tail.

He’s our third best batsman at the moment, so let’s give him an opportunity to score.”

Well, as it turned out, Johnny Bairstow and Dawid Malan scored centuries in the first innings, putting England in a strong position. However, Alastair Cook is still not firing and England again lost the last 6 wickets for a handful of runs!

From Australia’s point of view, they will be pretty happy about where they stand mid-way through the Series and with most bookies the latest online cricket betting odds have Australia firm favourites to regain the Ashes - check out the list of online cricket betting sites and see for yourself.

Also, have a look at what Darren Gough makes of the England performance so far in the Ashes on Cricket World TV and follow all the news and Live Scores on our Ashes section.

If England can nip one back here, at Perth, the series will be wide open!