England are set to take on Australia in the fifth and the final Test match of the ongoing Ashes 2021-22 series, starting 14th January 2021 at Bellerive Oval in Hobart. After Australia won three consecutive Tests, England showed great resistance to draw the fourth Test, which means Australia’s hopes of registering a series whitewash has come to an end.
England would take confidence from the fight they showed in the last Test match and would be hoping to end the series with a win in the final Test match. Here’s a look at how the two teams shape up ahead of the final Test.
AUS vs ENG: Match Preview, Ashes 2021-22, 5th Test
England veteran cricketers, James Anderson and Stuart Broad faced six balls each in the final two overs of the last Test match to help England draw the game. Earlier, Stuart Broad, who made his comeback in that game, picked a five-wicket haul and looked like the only bright spot in England’s bowling unit.
He is set to play the final Test match as well, however, James Anderson is likely to be rested. Ollie Robinson, who missed out on the fourth Test, is expected to make his comeback. Besides, Mark Wood and Jack Leach should continue featuring in the playing XI as well.
Skipper Joe Root has now gotten out thrice in three innings to Scott Boland. He has endured poor numbers in the last two Tests and so has David Malan. With Ben Stokes and Jonny Bairstow among the runs, England can score a big total in the final Test match if Root and Malan can find their form back. Jos Buttler won’t be available for the last Test match due to injury and this might help Sam Billings to make his Test debut.
Zak Crawley played a fine knock of 77 runs off 100 balls in the last innings of the final Test match. It was a knock of great confidence. England would be hoping that he replicates a similar performance in Hobart, especially when his partner, Haseeb Hameed has endured a horrendous run in the tournament. The latter scored 6 and 9 in the last Test match and England might replace him with Rory Burns.
Australia would be disappointed for not having picked the final wicket before the end of the final day’s play in the fourth Test. Scott Boland was, once again, brilliant with the bat, however, the likes of Pat Cummins, Starc, Lyon failed to live up to the expectations.
Australia have lost the opportunity to register a series whitewash but would be looking to finish the series with another win in their kitty. Usman Khawaja’s consecutive tons in the last Test has forced Australia to make him open alongside David Warner for the final Test, which means that Marcus Harris is likely to be excluded from the playing XI for the next Test match.
Travis Head, who has a double-century to his name in the series, makes his way into the side after recovering from Covid-19. Steve Smith, who hasn’t had a great series with the bat as per his standards, played a valiant 67-run knock in the last Test. He would be keen to finish the series on a high.
The onus will also be on the likes of David Warner and Marnus Labuschagne to score the bulk of the runs. In his debut Ashes series, Alex Carey hasn’t impressed a lot with the bat. It will be interesting to see how he fares in the last Test match.