By BV Swagath
This year’s Ashes comes to an end with the fifth and final Test beginning today at The Oval in London. The result of the 5-Test Series is already deciding with hosts England sealing it with a 3-0 margin. Australia has shown signs of bouncing back but its weak batting line-up has let them down badly.
Australia was looking really good to win the Third Test at Manchester but for heavy rain saving England. In the fourth Test, Australia put England under pressure for quite some time before yet another batting failure. There was hardly the Aussies could extract from the 2-day tour match against England Lions going into the final Test today.
England are chasing history as never did they win an Ashes Series 4-0 at home. Alastair Cook is having a great time as England’s Captain by winning a rare away Test Series in India and now a win away from creating history in Ashes at London. Cook is yet to deliver the big scores he is capable but still England have gone onto win in three Ashes Tests more so because of the inexperienced Australian batting line-up.
The pitch at The Oval may be on the slower side which should encourage Graeme Swann and Nathan Lyon. The team that bats first is expected to have a great advantage on a surface that could be batsman-friendly. The Oval pitch may not help lateral movement but the weather conditions for the Test match being cloudy could assist swing bowlers like James Anderson and Ryan Harris.
England with the series sealed in their favour could rest a player or two. Chris Tremlett is likely to take the place left by an injured Tim Bresnan. Australia may make a couple of changes – one in the batting line-up and other in the bowling attack not that it would make a huge difference to their fortunes in this series.
England Squad: Alastair Cook (C), Matt Prior (WK), Joe Root, Jonathan Trott, Kevin Pietersen, Ian Bell, Jonathan Bairstow, Stuart Broad, Graeme Swann, Chris Tremlett, Simon Kerrigan, Steven Finn, James Anderson, Chris Woakes
Australia Squad: Michael Clarke (C), Brad Haddin (WK), Ashton Agar, Jackson Bird, Ed Cowan, James Faulkner, Ryan Harris, Phillip Hughes, Usman Khawaja, Nathan Lyon, James Pattinson, Chris Rogers, Peter Siddle, Mitchell Starc, Steven Smith, Matthew Wade, David Warner, Shane Watson