Thoughts ahead of the The Oval

August 18, 2009 at 3:55 pm Leave a comment

It doesn’t feel like it has been five minutes since the first Ashes test of the summer and yet here we are talking about the final one. It should be a cracking match as well with the series tied at 1-1.


England need to win to regain the Ashes, Australia need a win to secure the series, but only a draw to retain the Ashes. With all of this in mind, it seems fair to say that it will be a very tense occasion for everyone involved come Thursday morning.


Who are the favourites though? Well, there is no getting away from the fact that the momentum is firmly with the Australians. They battled back superbly at Edgbaston and then hammered England at Headingley. In truth, England have only had one fantastic performance in this series – at Lords.


There is much more about the Australian batting line-up at the moment as well. Simon Katich and Shane Watson have been a success early on, Ricky Ponting has been his usual stubborn self, Michael Clarke has probably been the batsman of the series and Marcus North has been a revelation. It is only really Michael Hussey that has disappointed for them.


As for England, well they struggled big time at Headingley. Andrew Strauss and Alistair Cook looked fragile and the middle-order of Ravi Bopara, Ian Bell and Paul Collingwood was about as secure as Burnley’s status in the Premier League. It was only Matt Prior that emerged with any sort of credit from the batsman.


To try and rectify this, the England selectors have taken somewhat of a gamble by picking the uncapped Jonathan Trott to replace Bopara. This means that Bell will be rewarded for his poor form with a move up to No.3 and his Warwickshire team-mate Trott will slot in at No.4. Does it make the batting line-up that much stronger? Possibly, but the Aussies won’t be worried.


The biggest factor could be the returning Flintoff. Yes, his knee is crocked. No, he can’t do it all by himself. However, his sheer presence is a boost to every single England player and every single England fan.


Will this be enough to defeat a high in confidence Australia side though? Make sure you take a good look at The Oval Test odds ahead of any Fifth Test betting



Entry filed under: England.

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