Two months since they won their maiden World Cup in the 50 overs, England cricket is under an immense pressure to save the Ashes at home. The Three Lions are trailing the five-match series 1-2 after the 185-run loss at Old Trafford. Though they can not win the series anymore but Joe Root’s side can at least draw level in the final game starting at the Oval on Thursday. Australia, on the other hand, have successfully retained the urn after their 4-0 win at home in 2017-18.
The home team has come under intense scrutiny following their batting debacles and made two changes to their playing XI for the crucial Oval Test. They have included Sam Curran and Chris Woakes in the places of Jason Roy and Craig Overton, respectively, in a bid to boost its chances against a strong Australian bowling line-up.
Ben Stokes, the team’s vice-captain who gave a miraculous win in the third Test at Headingley but failed in Manchester, will play only as a specialist batsman in the final match because of a shoulder injury.
Jason Roy failed to impress in his first Ashes
Roy, one of the pillars of England’s explosive limited-overs batting line-up, had a rich World Cup and hit a fifty in his debut Test versus Ireland at Lord’s following the mega event. He was picked for the Ashes thereafter but has failed to recreate the magic, scoring only 110 runs in four Tests.
Overton, on the other hand, was picked for the fourth Test after Woakes failed to produce anything extraordinary in the first three. But the medium-pacer failed to pick more than two wickets and came more useful with his bat in the second innings by scoring 21 off 105 balls though that could not save the match at the end.
Curran, who hasn’t played any of the Tests so far despite his promises as a young all-rounder, has been roped in to boost both the batting and bowling.
England XI for fifth Ashes Test
Joe Root (captain), Ben Stokes (vice-captain), Jonny Bairstow (wicketkeeper), Stuart Broad, Jofra Archer, Rory Burns, Jack Leach, Jos Buttler, Sam Curran, Joe Denly, Chris Woakes.
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