After 2 relatively one sided Ashes tests and a win each, the teams now head to Edgbaston. With many a pundit having kittens about pitches, much of the pre match focus has been on the track. This obviously has meant England’s awful performance at Lords has not been hammered as much as is the norm. The pitch at Edgbaston is normally good for batting and has a bit in it for the bowlers so should provide us with a good test match. The relative paces of the 2 attacks means that the Aussies will have a slight edge if the pitch is fast. Should it be a seam friendly surface however England have the better tools in my opinion.
Australia are likely to go in with the same eleven although Chris Rogers is still a doubt after his dizzy spell at Lords. They dismantled England twice easily and will hope for the same here. A massive plus was the wickets of Mitch Marsh and the tidy keeping of Peter Nevill. When you make changes to a side it is imperative they add value and both did.
Steve Smith put together a great innings and the dangerous top 3 have all looked in great form. In contrast, England have had no great starts and have struggled. This has led to Ballance making way for county colleague Bairstow. It looks like Bell and Root will move up one in the order for Bairstow or Stokes to bat 5. Personally I would choose Bairstow.
The seam department which was largely inept at Lords will get another go here. If the ball swings and seams Anderson and Broad can take the wickets to push England on. The find of the summer Mark Wood also likes the ball moving around of the seam and maybe this is the test he announces himself.
Edgbaston itself has been a fortress for England over the years and in the last 13 years have only lost once there. That was to a powerful South Africa in 2008. The omens therefore look good. England have displayed good bouncebackability over the last few years and as I said in previous articles I think they will win the series.
The forecast in Birmingham looks ok and given the nature of the games so far I don’t see a draw. My tip is as follows
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