As arguments about Jonny Bairstow’s Lords dismissal continue to rage in high places, it has raised a comment from both countries’ Prime Minister, it is probably good that we have some cricket to get in the way of things starting at Headingley on Thursday. The stakes couldn’t be higher for both teams, the game for England is simply a must win to stay in the series, for Australia a draw will see them retain the urn and a win would herald a first overseas Ashes victory in 22 years.

Changes From The 2nd Test

Events during the 2nd Test have ensured that Australia will face a hostile atmosphere at Leeds but England’s Joe Root has suggested the players need to “move on” from Sunday’s events and concentrate on the task at hand. Changes are enforced and expected from both teams. Nathan Lyon badly tore his groin at Lords and will miss the remainder of the series, 22 year off Victorian spinner Todd Murphy will be his replacement. Murphy made an encouraging start to his Test career in India earlier this year, albeit in spin friendly conditions. Australia will also consider rotation in the seam department given the tight schedule for this series. Reports suggest Cameron Green is suffering some stiffness meaning he could struggle with the quick turnaround from Lords, and that Scott Boland could come in from Josh Hazlewood.

England will also be forced into one change with vice captain Ollie Pope dislocating his right shoulder at Lords, ruling him out of the final three tests. England must decide whether to bring in the other batting option in the squad Dan Lawrence, or to rejig the balance of their team promoting someone within to number three in the order. It’s also likely that England will make changes in the bowling department as they will add more variety to their attack that looked at times a little toothless on a benign Lords surface. They hope Moeen Ali’s finger injury from Edgbaston has healed sufficiently so they can include a front line spin option. 

What To Expect For The 3rd Ashes Series Test

Headingley evokes some great Ashes memories for England from Ian Botham’s and Bob Willis’s 1981 heroics to Ben Stokes miracle heist in 2019 but Australia overall have a good record at the West Yorkshire ground including a huge innings victory in 2009. Both bowling attacks will be hopeful of a little bit more encouragement in the pitch after fairly slow, flat conditions in the first two Tests. It’s often said at Headingley ‘look up not down’ when assessing pitch conditions. However, the weather over the five days looks to be set fair.

An intriguing contest awaits England will give everything to keep the series in the balance, Australia have shown their willingness and determination to win at all costs after a long period without victory on English soil. It’s time to let the cricket do the talking.

Predicted Teams

England: Crawley, Duckett, Brook, Root, Stokes (C), Bairstow (WK), Ali, Woakes, Robinson, Wood, Broad

Australia: Warner, Khawaja, Labuschagne, Smith, Head, Marsh, Carey (WK), Starc, Cummins(C), Boland, Murphy

Headingley Head To Head

Played: 25 England won: 8 Australia won: 9 Drawn: 8