Ashes Fifth Test Preview: England make changes to avoid series loss

Ashes Fifth Test Preview: England make changes to avoid series loss

With Australia retaining the Ashes after victory at Old Trafford, the tourists are now eyeing up a first series triumph on English soil since 2001

ronan-alexander
Ronan Alexander

After falling to a humbling defeat on Sunday, the England selectors have made two changes as they aim to level the series in the final game, although that won't be enough to stop the Aussies retaining the Ashes.

No joy in Roy tactic

Jason Roy has been dropped from the squad after the tactic of using him at number four didn't pay off despite him making his highest score of the series, 31.

The dangerous hitter has only scored 101 runs at 13.75 in the series, and has been replaced by Sam Curran, with Ben Stokes moving up the order and playing as a specialist batsman.

Stokes has been a rare shining light in England's batting woes with his match-winning ton at Headingley being a key turning point in the series. After bowling economically in Leeds, Stokes only managed to bowl 10.5 overs in Manchester and went wicketless, conceding 66 runs in the process before a shoulder injury brought his bowling to a halt.

This means he will now bat at number four, with Curran slotting in at eight and providing a fourth seam bowling option.

Craig Overton failed to give England a lift and his two wickets in the match weren't enough for him to keep his place in the team for tomorrow's game at The Oval and he is replaced by fan favourite Chris Woakes.

Woakes was arguably unlucky to lose his place considering he has the third most wickets for England in the series despite missing a game. He has taken nine wickets at an average of 29, with only Stuart Broad and Jofra Archer boasting more. The Warwickshire all-rounder also has England's fourth best batting average at 28, with only Stokes, Rory Burns and Joe Root higher.

Aussie's rotate the quicks

Something Australia have nailed this series is rotating their fast bowlers, with whoever it is charging in, they constantly look dangerous.

The tourists have made one change for The Oval as Travis Head drops out for all-rounder Mitchell Marsh, who will take some of the workload off the three main quicks.

Australia have four to choose from as Peter Siddle is included in their 12-man squad alongside Josh Hazelwood, Pat Cummins and Mitchell Starc.

Head has scored 191 runs across eight innings and is Australia's fourth top run scorer in the series. but makes way for Marsh who will feature for the first time.

Marsh did impress in the tour match against Derbyshire in between the third and fourth tests when he scored 74 batting at number three and had bowling figures of 2 for 5 from six overs in the second innings.

The form guide

Steve Smith will be aiming to continue his remarkable form with the bat having scored 671 runs across five innings, with Marnus Labushagne also impressing after taking the place of Usman Khawaja.

David Warner keeps his place despite only scoring 79 runs in eight innings this series. Nathan Lyon will be looking to silence his critics after struggling to find his line and length on a turning Old Trafford pitch.

For the hosts, Rory Burns made 81 in the first innings last time round and looks to have cemented his position at the top of the order. Joining him is Joe Denly who made his first half century of the series in the fourth test and will be aiming to build on that. Meanwhile, Jonny Bairstow and Jos Buttler need to start scoring runs before their places in the team come under further criticism.

Skippers have their say

Joe Root told Sky Sports: "We've not lost anything yet. We're fully focused on doing everything we can to finish the series 2-2."

Tim Paine said: "We are very hungry - we have spoken a lot about it. We came here to win the Ashes not just retain them."

Team News

England: Rory Burns, Joe Denly, Joe Root, Ben Stokes, Jonny Bairstow, Jos Buttler, Sam Curran, Chris Woakes, Jofra Archer, Jack Leach, Stuart Broad.

Australia: David Warner, Marcus Harris, Marnus Labushagne, Steve Smith, Matthew Wade, Mitchell Marsh, Tim Paine, Pat Cummins, Mitchell Starc/Peter Siddle, Josh Hazelwood, Nathan Lyon.

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