Any team hoping to win a Test series away from home requires the ultimate combination of skill and fortune. Below are five things England need to go their way to claim victory in The Ashes.
Day / night test
There is something of a received wisdom that the day / night test in Adelaide represents England’s best chance of a victory in this series. The idea is that the evening session, where the spotlight comes into play, creates another opportunity for the ball to swing, which suits England’s nail attack. And with the fifth Test match likely to change places from Perth, there looks to be a big chance that either Sydney or Melbourne could host another match, which would be a day / night match. And if a pink-ball test is good for England, it means two are even better.
Ollie Robinson continues his metronomic paths
When the squad for this series was announced, head coach Chris Silverwood said England’s bowling attack would rely on “highest accuracy” in their attempts to regularly take 20 Australian wickets. And Ollie Robinson represents a central part of that plan. Named ‘Josh Hazlewood’ by England’s attack, Robinson’s metronomic action and relentless accuracy have given him an incredibly strong start to his Test career (off the track problems). In his first five games, Robinson has taken 28 wickets with an average of 19.6, and crucially, admitted only 2.63 runs a over in the process. If England are hoping to squeeze 10 Australian wickets out over a long day in the field, such delicate ways will be crucial to any success they have.
Joe Root continues to be the best in the world
At the risk of falling into the trap of simply saying England need to bat, bowl and play well to win this Ashes series, they really need their skipper to shoot at all cylinders and continue the form that has seen him rise to become No. 1 ranked test dough. His numbers in 2021 are already phenomenal after scoring 1,455 runs with an average of 66.13 with six centuries left. However, as Root says himself, he knows this series will define his legacy as captain. And while he may have already moved heaven and earth for his country this year, he will have to do it once again if England are to have a chance of victory.
Choose the right attack first
There have been plenty of rumors that the course at Gabba is likely to be a green sailor after the off-season, and incredibly wet, weather that Australia has received. This has promoted the idea that England can once again choose to pick an XI without a front-line spinner and go for an attack with all the seams. It is a decision where hindsight will be a beautiful thing. Get it right and it will be a tactical championship that can see England leap forward in the series. If it goes wrong and it will be the first point of criticism if England find themselves behind the eight-ball as soon as the series has started.
Day one, session one
Test cricket’s old cliché is that even if you can not win a match in one session, you can lose one. And given the lack of preparation that both England and Australia’s camps have had, both sides will be desperate to make sure they are not the ones losing the match for lunch on day one. In Stuart Broad’s words, the first test is likely to be “a bit of a lottery.”
“I do not think anyone knows how the pitch will play or how the Batteries will settle when they have not faced a red ball for several months.” It will be a mental battle. Mistakes will be made by both sides, and it will be a case of who can take advantage of the most important moments. “
Test victories are incredibly difficult to achieve. But if there is ever to be a cheap win available in one way or another, then this is it.
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