England leveled the series 1-1 after a remarkable Ben Stokes century guided the hosts to a one-wicket victory over Australia at Headingley.
Steve Smith will return for the Aussies who will look to claim victory in order to retain the urn.
The big news coming from the England cam is that opener Jason Roy and number four Joe Denly will swap their positions. Whether it will change the fortunes of Roy is to be seen. Another concern will be Joe Root’s struggles at three, although he scored a vital 77 in the recent innings.
Bowling will revolve around Jofra Archer (13 wickets) and Stuart Broad (14), who are leading the attack with aplomb. Jack Leach’s defensive spells could be the key to their fortunes.
Australia’s batting troubles at the top continued as Marcus Harris flopped. That leaves the visitors with very little left in the bank. The anticipated return of Steve Smith is a big boost, as Australia ponder adding all-rounder Mitchell Marsh to their playing XI.
The biggest advantage for the Aussies is the strength of their pace bowling unit. With Mitchell Starc waiting in the wings, the scope of player rotation increases their effectiveness. Having said that, it could boil down to how well their batsmen stand up that will determine Australia’s chances.
England will be the buoyant side after the thrilling win from the third Test. They still have a lot to ponder – especially in the batting department – but the performances of Stokes and Archer give them a decisive edge. Australia are struggling for balance within their squad, and could recall Mitchell Marsh at the expense of Mathew Wade. Even then, this game could end up being a shoot-out between the two flailing batting units.
- England have won seven of their last ten home Tests (W7, D2, L1).
- England haven’t lost at Old Trafford since against Pakistan in 2001 (W9, D2) including the last three in a row.
- England haven’t defeated Australia at Old Trafford since 1981 (D3, L3).
- Australia have lost 11 of their last 18 away Tests (W4, D3, L11).
- Australia have lost eight of their last 14 Tests in England (W3, D3, L8).
Root stormed to form in the second innings at Headingley with a timely half-century. Old Trafford is the venue where he scored his career best (254) and averages 104.80.
Nathan Lyon would have been distraught with the way he missed a simple run-out at Headingley. The off-spinner will be desperate to shrug that off and get among the wickets.
Prediction: Australia to win ($2.60 TopBetta)