Old Trafford Cricket Stadium | Cricket Today

The Ashes cricket series rolls on to Manchester this week with Australia just needing to emerge from the 4th test undefeated to retain the Ashes. England will be buoyed by victory at Headingley with both teams recharged by the ten day rest between matches. 

The Teams Make Some Changes

For the first time in the series, the Australia cricket team have followed England’s lead by naming their side before the match. In the absence of Nathan Lyon and Pat Cummins reluctance to use rookie spinner Todd Murphy, especially in England’s fourth innings run chase (he bowled just two overs) Australia have opted to go into the match without a frontline spinner. An interesting approach at a ground that in the past has offered turn and bounce. Some may see Australia’s approach as safety first with them not needing to win the match. The batting line up is undoubtedly lengthened but the balance of the team looks a little unconventional fielding two batting all rounders. Cameron Green returns to the team as century maker from Headingley Mitchell Marsh retains his place meaning wicket keeper Alex Carey will bat as low as number 8, with Pat Cummins a very useful lower order player at 10. So what the team lacks in balance the depth of batting looks ominous. Josh Hazelwood also comes back into the team for Scott Boland.

The England cricket team on the other hand make just one change. James Anderson comes back into the bowling attack on his home ground, which even has an end named after him. The home side’s leading wicket taker of all time will be determined to make an impression after a quiet start to the series albeit on a couple of unresponsive surfaces where he cut a frustrated figure. Ollie Robinson misses out after suffering back spasms during the third test victory. Moeen Ali will remain at number three to allow Joe Root and Harry Brook to bat in their preferred positions.

Previous Outings At Old Trafford

Australia have happy memories of Lancashire’s home ground; they retained the Ashes there in 2019, winning after Ben Stokes heist at Headingley to lead 2-1 with one to play. A repeat would be welcomed down under and would secure an Ashes victory in England for the first time since 2001. Overall they have a decent record at Old Trafford having won 8 times. England’s intent is likely to be as aggressive as ever with two days of the five looking likely to be badly interrupted by rain if the weather forecasters are correct. 

If England can pull off victory they will have genuine belief that they can do what no team has since 1937; turn around a 2-0 deficit to win an Ashes series. The Aussies know they are just a few days of solid cricket away from returning home with the urn once more.

The Team Line-Ups

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

Australia; Warner, Khawaja, Labuschagne, Smith, Head, Marsh, Green, Carey (WK), Starc, Cummins (C), Hazelwood 

Head to head at Old Trafford; England wins 7, Australia wins 8, Draws 15.