The fifth and final Test of what has been a memorable Ashes series gets underway this Thursday night (AUS time) at the Oval in London.
With the Urn safe and sound remaining in Australian hands there’s no doubt the Aussies will show no mercy against a bruised and battered England or will the Poms try to finish this one on a high note?
We give our preview and tips for the fifth Test.
England is currently s**ting themselves about the prospect of playing Australia and in particular Steve Smith at the Oval.
When the Aussies last played there, Australia won by an innings and 46 runs with Smith delivering a very nice 143 runs his way.
A lot has changed since then, in fact, a lot has changed since Ben Stokes single handily won the third Test for England in Headingley.
England’s efforts at the bat at Old Trafford let them down big time.
Even if they make some serious changes to their batting line up, it’s hard to see them have enough in the tank to finish the series on a winning note.
Sure, Australia has some issues at the Bat (**Cough** Dave Warner **Cough**) but Steve Smith can save the day because he’s a freak of nature.
The most important thing to remember is that We – Australia, have got the Ashes – again.
For the Aussies, the job is only half done. Even if we’ve got the urn it’s still vital that the Australians win the series just to put a cherry on top.
Australia are the favourites in this market and they should be able to justify it – the $2 price head to head makes for excellent value.
If Steve Smith has been the star for Australia this summer then Marnus Labuschagne has been outstanding in his supporting role.
Our new number 3 batsman has proven to be a fine all-rounder especially when he was able to claim what would easily be the most significant wicket of his career in dismissing Jack Leach.
Marnus can bat wherever, bowl when required and field.
The kid can play and the future looks bright.
While it’s easy to think Steve Smith, at $5 it’s worth having a flutter on Marnus to get the runs on the board in the first innings.
Depending on his shoulder much interest remains whether Ben Stokes will pass a fitness test in order to play this Thursday.
Should Stokes not be able to bowl, he can focus on his work at the Bat and for all his faults he has been one of England’s stand out players so far this series.
I didn’t think I’d be writing a pro-Ben Stokes passage this series but the fact he walked in admission of being dismissed despite being given out live shows the man has some element of decent sportsmanship in him.
Especially when it was a time when England was fighting to keep themselves in the game.
There’s no doubt that Stokes has cemented himself as the best in the English Cricket Team this series and he’ll be feeling the pressure to deliver something in the fifth and final Test.
Happy to take him at $4.50 to be the top England run-scorer at The Oval.
It was an absolutely vintage Starc performance at Old Trafford and quite frankly, while it would hurt, I could watch him bowl Joe Root in the goolies on a loop.
In fact, I think it would work better if that passage had the voiceover man from Funniest Home Videos with added Hanna-Barbera cartoon sound effects to really capture the moment.
All slapstick aside, three Wickets from Starc in the first innings of the 4th Test was a solid performance and I’m quite happy to take the tree fiddy for him to really do some damage on the Poms in this Test match.
Why wouldn’t you back Steve Smith for man of the match?
This has been the summer of Steve.
Some could argue he’s single-handedly won The Ashes for Australia.
The poms can’t stand it and that’s what makes it even sweeter.
Five Bucks for Man of the Match? I’ll get on that.