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England vs Australia - Ashes 3rd Test Preview

England vs Australia - Ashes 3rd Test Preview - England 0-1 down
©Reuters
 

The stage is set for the third instalment of the 2019 Ashes at Headingley on Thursday. The Australian’s currently lead the series 1-0, but after an encouraging performance last week, England will be convinced that they can bounce back with a win in Leeds.

In terms of team news, England have named an unchanged side. However, according to bets.com.au, Aussie batsman Steve Smith looks set to miss out with a concussion after being hit on the helmet by a Jofra Archer bouncer at Lord’s. This will be a huge blow to the visitors as Smith has been nothing short of sensational with the bat so far.

England Buoyed by Archer’s Bowling

It’s safe to say that the Australians dominated the first test match at Edgbaston two weeks ago. However, Jofra Archer was drafted in for the game at Lord’s last week. The Bridgetown-born fast bowler picked up exactly where he left off after the World Cup and picked up his first five test wickets.

I think we all agree that Archer’s style of bowling is unplayable at times. The first few delivers could be 90mph bouncers, and then he’ll bring Lbw into play by bowling a slower cutter that sticks in the pitch. If the Australian’s want to emerge with a victory this time around, they’ll have to find a way to deal with England’s new superstar.

Who Will Fill Steve Smith’s Big Shoes?

With their best batsman potentially out injured, the visitors will need someone to step up to the mark. The question is, who will that be? There’s no doubt about the quality of the Australian batting lineup. However, the usually reliable David Warner has been extremely disappointing so far and has scored a mere 18 runs across his first four innings. To put that into perspective, Chris Woakes, England’s fast bowler and number nine, has scored more than five times that amount during the series so far.

We think that Usman Khawaja could potentially step up to the mark. The Aussie number three is due a solid innings, and he certainly has the ability to put a high score on the board. It’s also worth noting that Pat Cummins and Peter Siddle were extremely effective with the ball last time out.

It’s certainly not all doom and gloom for the visitors; they’ll be quietly confident that they can get the job done and extend their lead to 2-0.

Final Verdict

This game is finely poised and could go either way. There’s an abundance of quality on both sides, and fans will be excited for play to begin on Thursday morning. It’s going to be a thriller for the neutral, but then again, most matches between these two teams usually are.

If Smith is deemed fit to play, we wouldn’t rule out another high scoring performance from the Australian’s. However, if he’s left out of the squad, we think that England’s bowlers could cause a lot of damage.

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