England and Australia get back to it just four days after an epic drawn test at Lord’s when they clash in the third Ashes Test at Headingley with the Aussies still holding a 1-0 series lead.
A concussed Steven Smith will miss out at Headingley where a red-hot Jofra Archer will attempt to bowl England to victory in a match that could have a defining impact on the series.
Australia did well to retain their lead in the series on a dramatic final day of the second test, and they will be confident of continuing their run despite Smith’s forced absence after being on the receiving end of Archer’s bumper.
Tim Paine’s side need to win one of the remaining three tests or avoid defeat in two of them to keep the urn. England need to win at least two to regain the Ashes and the pressure remains on
Smith’s absence threw the gauntlet at the Aussie batsmen, who were rattled by Archer’s pace in the second innings at Lord’s. Travis Head and concussion replacement Marnus Labuschagne showed grit to eventually even out the contest.
The lack of runs from the top-order including David Warner and Cameron Bancroft is a worry, but on the positive side of things, a well-rotated pace attack gives them an edge as Mitchell Starc and James Pattinson come well rested for this match.
For England, although captain Joe Root’s failures are a worry, all-rounder Ben Stokes looks to have regained his mojo, while there have been flashes of occasional brilliance from Joe Denly and continued tenacity from Joe Burns.
The success of the series, however, is the aggressive introduction of Jofra Archer, who lived up to the hype in his debut match. Although James Anderson continues to be out of contention, the England attack looks balanced and strong.
- England have won six of their last nine home Tests (W6, D2, L1).
- England haven’t drawn consecutive Tests since against New Zealand in March 2013.
- The last time England drew consecutive home Tests was against Sri Lanka in June 2011.
- England haven’t won consecutive Leeds Tests since May 2007.
- Australia have lost ten of their last 17 away Tests (W4, D3, L10).
- Australia have lost seven of their last 13 Tests in England (W3, D3, L7).
- Australia have won four of their last five Ashes Tests at Leeds (W4, L1).
Both sides look incredibly imbalanced with their batting, making this a shootout between the bowling attacks once again.
England will hope that Archer will continue to have an impact, while Australia will be buoyed by the strength of their pacers.
The absence of Smith throws this contest wide open and England start with a minor advantage because of Archer’s form and could make the best use of it.
Prediction: England to win ($1.66 TopBetta)