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Ashes 2021-22: Australia and England in fix over team combination ahead of pink-ball Test

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Ashes 2021-22: If the first Test in Brisbane hasn’t, the second Ashes 2021-22 Test can very well decide the fate of the series. No England team since 1954-55 have went on to make a come back and win the Ashes series after losing the first Test in Australia. Moreover, England now have played 11 consecutive Test without a win down under. Follow Ashes 2021-22 live on InsideSport.IN. 

Ashes 2021-22: Australia and England in fix over team combination ahead of pink-ball Test

Australia won the first Test in Brisbane convincingly by 9 wickets but changes in their eleven is inevitable because of Josh Hazlewood’s ouster due to a side strain. The verdict on David Warner, who was hit twice in his ribs during the first Test, is yet to come. He did not bat or field in the second half of the match.

Also Read: Ashes 2021-22: Ben Stokes ends talk around his fitness with head-crushing bouncer to Joe Root in Adelaide nets, Watch Video

The southpaw wore a chest guard as he took throw-downs for about 30 minutes in the Adelaide Oval nets on Tuesday evening, but did not face bowlers and made audible cries of pain while attempting some cross-bat shots.

There is a toss up between Jhye Richardson and Michael Nesser to take Hazlewood’s place. While Nesser is yet to make his Test debut, Richardson – Hazlewood’s replacement – has been impressive in his two outings including the Day-Night debut Test against Sri Lanka at Brisbane in 2019. That said, Nesser is the closest like-to-like replacement for Hazlewood and considering that he was the 12th man in the first Test, the 31-year-old’s wait for the Baggy Green might just get over.

In case David Warner does not recover on time for the crucial encounter, Usman Khawaja could be seen playing his first Test after August 2019.

Australia’s remaining squad is more or less expected to be same going into the first Test.

Talking about England, the questions in front of them are huge and need to be addressed immediately.

Dawid Malan sealed his spot at No. 3, Haseeb Hameed is sure to get a longer rope. The 24-year-old was impressive against India, and in the first Test he registered scores of 25 and 27. Rory Burns failed in both the innings (0 and 13) but he is currently the most experienced England have in that position. Zak Crawley is there but the 23-year-old hasn’t caused the 30-run (both innings combined) mark in his last 9 Test matches. Someone like Jonny Bairstow can always make a difference in any match under any given situation but there is no place for him – not at least after the first Test itself.

Ollie Pope scored 81 and 2 in the fourth Test against India. Very recently, the 23-year-old scored 274 runs while captaining Surrey against Glamorgan in County Championship.

The other thing with England is that they can’t afford many changes just after the first Test. The reason for it is simple – the lack of game time. The players who have featured in the first Test are best warmed up players in the squad.

But eyes will be on James Anderson and Stuart Broad again. Will both of them play? Will one among the two veterans play? If one, who gets a go?

That’s something which entire cricket universe is waiting for. If Joe Root persists one more game with Jack Leach, who leaked 102 runs for one wicket in 13 overs, one between Chris Woakes, Ollie Robinson and Mark Wood will have to make way. The decision will be a tough one for Joe Root and Chris Silverwood as they all did decent job in the opener.

If Root plays with Leach and opts for both Anderson and Broad, two players will have to make way for their seniors. The England captain has hinted that, Jack Leach could be seen again in the eleven. That automatically means that off-spinner Dom Bess will have to wait for his turn.

“Spin has generally played a good factor in recent times on this ground, especially as the game progresses, so it’s something we’ll have to look at. See where we are physically as a bowling group and how we can be balanced out,” ESPNcricinfo quotes Root as saying.

“I’m sure he [Leach] will want to respond and get back into the series. I don’t think it’s as straightforward as looking at that as a concern, actually you look at it, they [Australia] took an opportunity, played it pretty well, and if they try to do that on a wicket that’s a bit more responsive then it brings him into the game even more,” he added.

Ashes 2021-22: Australia and England in fix over team combination ahead of pink-ball Test

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