Following a 10-day gap during which Australia played a cricket practice game and England effected changes to their side, the Ashes is set to see the two traditional rivals again lock horns for the third Test at Edgbaston, starting here on Wednesday.
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Australia captain Michael Clarke, left, chats with teammate Chris Rogers during the nets session at Edgbaston, Birmingham, Monday, July 27, 2015. The third Ashes test between Australia and England begins on Wednesday. (Nick Potts/PA via AP)[/caption]
The series is presently level at 1-1 with the visitors dominating the second Test at Lord's, bouncing back from a dismal outing at Cardiff. At Cardiff, it were the hosts who pulled off a thrilling 169-run victory. Australia then rallied strongly, thrashing the hosts by 405 runs.
Though it will be tough for England to get rid of the memories of the last match, they would, however, want to put their best foot forward on Wednesday. They have already taken steps to ensure that with Ian Bell to bat at No.3 and leg-spinner Adil Rashid drafted into the side.
England's top order will be a major concern with only captain Alastair Cook being resilient with the bat. They have been losing early wickets and at times their steady middle-lower-order batsmen have had to deliver the goods, saving the hosts from the blushes.
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Englands Joe Root, centre, with captain Alastair Cook, left, and Ian Bell walk, during nets practice in preparation for the third Ashes Test cricket match, at Edgbaston, Birmingham, England, Tuesday, July 28, 2015. (AP Photo/Rui Vieira)[/caption]
The hosts have thus brought in Jonny Bairstow to open the batting in place of Gary Ballance who so far has been dismal with the willow.
Australia too have looked far from being a settled unit with the bat. Skipper Michael Clarke's poor run with the bat is the biggest concern. On top of that, the middle order has not fired as expected.
But for the visitors, their bowling has more than made up for their batting let-downs.
The addition of Chris Rogers, who has recovered from a head injury, will also boost Australia's confidence.
Alastair Cook (captain), Mark Wood, Ben Stokes, Joe Root, Adil Rashid, Adam Lyth, Steven Finn, Jos Buttler, Stuart Broad, Ian Bell, Jonathan Bairstow, James Anderson, Moeen Ali, Jordan Price.
Michael Clarke (captain), Josh Hazlewood, Peter Siddle, Shaun Marsh, Peter Nevill, Adam Voges, Brad Haddin, Pat Cummins, Mitchell Starc, Mitchell Marsh, David Warner, Chris Rogers, Steven Smith, Shane Watson, Nathan Lyon, Fawad Ahmed, Mitchell Johnson.