England find themselves staring down the barrel of a first home Ashes series defeat since 2001 as they gear up for the third Test Match against Australia at Headingley.
Fortunately, the Leeds ground is cauldron where the hosts’ reigning generation of red-ball exponents have played very well in recent years. The perfect backdrop for a do-or-die assignment.
England vs Australia Headingley Test Match Tips
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Headingley where the hope is for hosts on the brink
There has been plenty of consternation over what many fans and pundits may regard as over England’s overly-cavalier approach to five-day game batting so far this series.
However, that shouldn’t mask the fact they’ve managed to find themselves in positions to win on the fifth day of both matches contested so far.
England have won their last four Test Matches at Headingley, seeing off Pakistan, Australia, India and New Zealand on the Yorkshire pitch since 2018.
With a simmering sense of injustice lingering following the hotly-debated second innings stumping of Johnny Bairstow at Lord’s and the Leeds crowd in-harness, the hosts shouldn’t lack for fire as they look to square the series.
England are available at odds-against with the draw no bet concession and, given there’s a reasonable amount of rain expected on days three and five, that could be worth keeping onside.
Cometh the moment cometh the captain
The way Ben Stokes’ moved through the gears in the second innings at Lord’s reminded us of just how much of a force of nature he can be when the mood takes him.
His superb 155 almost saved the day and the flame-haired all-rounder returns to the ground where he scored a match-winning second-innings 135 against the Aussies back in 2019 here.
This time around he has not just a match, but a series to save. Given his ability to thrive on the pressure of such situations he seems by far the most likely home batter to leaven his Bazzballing instincts with the pragmatism needed to anchor an innings here.
Ashes-virgin twirler has previous for explosive tour starts
Nathan Lyon’s first-innings injury at Lord’s has ended the experienced spinner’s series but he remains the third highest wicket taker across either side despite missing out on a second bite at the England batters.
That Lyon was able to take so many wickets (four in either innings at Edgbaston) undoubtedly has plenty to do with England’s well publicised aggression with the blade.
The host’s upper order is likely to go after replacement Todd Murphy even more aggressively, in what will be just the spectacle-sporting Victorian’s fifth Test for the boys in the baggy greens.
However, this is a spinner who was first selected for Australia after playing just seven first class matches for Victoria and took an incredible seven wickets in his first Test innings against India in Nagpur in February. He can pick up where Lyon left off.