Our Prediction: Draw to win, 5.50 Bet on Draw to win for Real Money
The Ashes 2017-18 is about to be in danger of being decided by the third test as we g to Perth with Australia leading 2-0. Predictions of a whitewash would be ringing loudly in England’s ears and one cannot but think they need to something radical to stay in the series. Australia is following up with what it promised before the series and those tactics have proved to be extremely effective. Can this Australian team, riddled with its own weaknesses, continue to dominate England or will we finally see some sort of a fightback?
The hosts go into the third test match with everything in their favor. They have won the first two test matches quite convincingly even though there were periods of play when the contest promised to be very tight. Their fast bowlers have held up very well, most of their batsmen have performed admirably, and the Australian media continues to be their biggest unofficial ally in this series.
That being said, Australia also has a few things to ponder over.
Its opening batsmen have not done too well apart from the second innings at the Gabba against a disheartened England bowling attack. Cameron Bancroft has struggled against Jimmy Anderson while David Warner has not got going like we are used to seeing him in home conditions.
Peter Handscomb has come in for a lot of ridicule over his batting and it almost seems certain that he will be replaced by Mitchell Marsh in this test match. The younger Marsh brother has had a resurgence in his batting form and will offer a handy bowling option to Steve Smith as well.
Still, that means another new player in the lineup along with Tim Paine and Usman Khawaja that have yet to really score big runs in the tournament.
That brings us to of course Steve Smith and Shaun Marsh, both of whom are currently averaging over 90.00 and are the only centurions of the series so far. They will be the key to Australia’s batting fortunes in this match particularly since the England bowlers do not seem to have a plan to get them out.
Steve Smith got caught up in the verbals to lose his concentration last time around but we suspect the same will not be the case in this test. The WACA is a much flatter deck then it once was and we expect the teams to rack up massive scores.
Mitchell Starc, Pat Cummins, and Josh Hazelwood have been exceptional at different roles in this series. Hazelwood bowled a brilliant spell to break open the second test match. Starc continues to terrify the tail, while Pat Cummins has been the one to break partnerships with pure magic deliveries.
These three will be tested on a flat WACA pitch where they may have to bowl more overs than in previous test matches. This also means that the best bowler of the series so far, Nathan Lyon, will have a lot more work to do than in previous tests.
We recommend backing Warner, Khawaja, and Smith to make centuries in this test match and Pat Cummins to be the leading wicket-taker for the Aussies.
Another needless controversy with players pouring drinks all over each other has caused the English team to be fielding unnecessary questions about their team culture instead of focusing on playing cricket.
Of course, one can argue that the way England has played its cricket in this series does not warrant much talking about at all. An excellent batting platform in the first innings of the first test was wasted, a brilliant bowling performance in the second innings of the second test was not enough to bring them back after a horror first innings, and an Australian team that is not much better than this English team is being allowed to dominate them with ease.
Can England change anything in this test match or are they doomed to fail once again?
The Coach has hinted that they will stick with the same eleven once again. We hope, however, that some common sense decisions are taken with that same personnel like moving Dawid Malan to three instead of James Vince and moving Bairstow above the struggling Moeen Ali.
Yes, these players have done well not too long ago but just changing up things could make Australia think differently and force them to make a few mistakes.
For England to compete in this test match and this series their batsmen need to start scoring big runs. No batsman from their side has scored a hundred even though there have been five fifties so far. Taking their time and waiting for the bad ball seemed to work for England in the first inning but they have curiously abandoned that ploy to become more aggressive and try to play their shots.
The English batsmen also need to find a way to combat Nathan Lyon.
Their inability to milk him for singles or even just block him out has made this Australian attack so potent. Steve Smith always has Lyon to turn to and block one end up while attacking with the pacers on the other side.
Nathan Lyon has not had the success in Perth that he has enjoyed in other venues in Australia and this could be an opportunity to put him under pressure.
While we do think that the England batting can compete in Perth (Mark Stoneman and Jonny Bairstow being our picks for top scorers) we worry about their bowling. James Anderson and Stuart Broad exploited the conditions in Adelaide but they will be faced with an absolute road in this match.
They will need to figure out some different plans to get the Aussie batsmen out. Chris Woakes looked to have regained some pace in the last match and he is our pick to take the most wickets for England. Craig Overton has some disconcerting bounce but his lack of pace makes him vulnerable as well.
Moeen Ali, the lone spinner in the team, has been completely ineffective and we do not expect him to do much better here either.
The weather forecast for the first three days is excellent with sunny skies but there is currently a 70% chance of rain on the fourth day and 20% chance on the fifth day. A draw could be on the cards if the two teams bat for long durations in their first innings.
The pitch is expected to be flat and remain that way throughout. The once famous bounce and pace at the WACA have reduced greatly.
England last won a test in Perth in 1978. Their last 7 matches here have all resulted in massive defeats. Their overall record after 13 matches at the WACA stands at three draws, one win, and nine losses.
Australia might enjoy an excellent record against England at this venue, however, that is not to say they cannot be beaten here. Australia has lost 2 out of its last four test matches here and drawn one against New Zealand.
We are backing England to get away with a draw in this match as well.
Back the draw.
Winner: Draw, 5.50 @ Bet on Draw now