England, Joe Root
Joe Root. Image Credits: Twitter

Last Update on: December 25th, 2021 at 12:30 pm

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England have made four changes to their playing XI for the Boxing Day Test in a bid to make a strong comeback in the Test series. Jonny Bairstow, Jack Leach, Zak Crawley and Mark Wood all make their way into the playing XI.

The players missing out are Ollie Pope, Stuart Broad, Rory Burns and Chris Woakes. The third Test in Melbourne will be beginning from December 26 and England will be hoping to make a strong statement by starting well in the Test.

Ollie Pope
Ollie Pope. (Image: Twitter)

Ollie Pope had been found wanting outside the off-stump and struggled to score consistently. Jonny Bairstow has made his way into the line-up to provide some solidity at No.6. England dearly missed a spinner in the last Test and have brought back Jack Leach at the expense of Stuart Broad.

One of the biggest problems in England’s performance was their inability to get off to a good start. Both Rory Burns and Haseeb Hameed looked a bit tentative against the swinging ball and failed to provide good starts consistently. Zak Crawley making it to the playing XI will change the opening combination and provide England with fresh hope.

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England need Mark Wood’s extra pace

England's Mark Wood
Mark Wood (Image Credit: Twitter)

The surprising exclusion will be that of Chris Woakes from the playing XI. Woakes was then the third-highest run-scorer for England in the series after Dawid Malan and Joe Root. However, England needed the extra pace of Mark Wood on the drop-in wicket in Melbourne in order to extract some kind of bounce and movement. Woakes thus is unlucky to miss out but England’s bowling attack will have that extra zip with Wood in it.

Being outplayed in all three departments by Australia, England have made these four changes with a view to have an instant impact. Australia still are sweating on Josh Hazlewood’s fitness and it looks like Jhye Richardson will hold his place having taken a fifer in the last game. This means that Michael Neser will make way for Pat Cummins who is likely to captain the side again.